Agenda item - Hackney Carriage Unmet Demand Survey - Consultation on Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Provision

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Agenda item

Hackney Carriage Unmet Demand Survey - Consultation on Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Provision


15.1    The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director, Housing, Neighbourhoods and Communities providing an update in respect of the consultation on wheelchair accessible vehicle provision.


15.2    The purpose of the report was to make Members aware that a Hackney Carriage “unmet Demand Survey” would be during 2022 to determine any unmet demand for Hackney Carriages. The survey would look at current policies and provision of hackney carriage vehicles in the context of other similar authorities in England and in particular Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Provision and the % of wheelchair Accessible Vehicles in the fleet.


15.3    It was noted that the following Conservative Group Amendment had been received proposed by Councillor Simson and seconded by Councillor Bagaeen (amendment to recommendation 2.2 shown in bold italics.


          “2.1 Members approve the commission of an unmet demand survey to be undertake during 2022;


          2.2 For the purposes of 2.1 above members agree to suspend issuing of any further Hackney Carriage plates until an unmet demand survey is completed and the results with recommendations are brought to a future Committee for consideration.


15.4    Councillors Simson and Bagaeen were invited to speak to their to their amendment and both stated that in view of the pandemic and the financial strain which it had placed on many within the trade it was not appropriate to make any changes to the existing situation or to let out any more plates currently until the Unmet Demand Survey had been able to take place.


15.5    The Head of Regulatory Services stated that this could been considered to constitute a change in policy and as such could be subject to challenge. Councillors Moonan and Shanks stated that if that was the case and the proposed amendment was unlawful it should not have been permitted. Councillor Moonan sought further clarification regarding what the potential risks/financial implications could be but the legal adviser to the Committee stated that it was not possible to confirm what that might be and that any changes made to the existing arrangements would have taken place in the absence of consultation with the trade.


15.6    Councillor O’Quinn stated that she broadly supported the views expressed by Councillors Bagaeen and Simson, she was in agreement that there was no need to issue further plates presently, albeit that they would be in replacement for existing plates which had been surrendered. Councillor O’Quinn considered that it would be preferable  to await the outcome of the of the review.


15.7    Councillor Shanks considered that it was also important to ascertain the impact if any arising in consequence of increased use of electric powered vehicles.


15.8    Councillor Henry considered that it was very important to carry out consultation with the trade and to receive their feedback and that of other stakeholders and service users before any changes were made. In answer to further questions, the Head of Regulatory Services stated that this issue had been raised the previous year at which time the Hackney Carriage Trade had been in favour of suspending current policy pro-tem and private hire trade had not. The issues did not appear to be clear-cut.


15.9    A vote was taken in respect of the proposed above amendment the 11 Members present voted with 2 for, 7 against and 2 abstentions. The amendment was therefore lost.


15.10  A vote was therefore taken on the substantive report recommendations which were agreed on a vote of 7 for, 2 against and 2 abstentions.


15.11  RESOLVED – (1) That Members approve the commission of an unmet demand survey to be undertaken during 2022; and


          (2) For the purposes of 2.1 above, Members confirm their support for the current restricted numbers policy for hackney carriage vehicles with managed growth of five additional plates issues annually to wheelchair accessible vehicles or vehicles which are fully electric or plug in hybrid (PHEV). This policy will be reviewed following the outcome of the unmet demand survey.


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