The Licensing Team Leader introduced the report and explained that the Committee had to consider the objections received to the proposed booking fee on the Hackney Carriage Table of Fees as agreed by the Committee at its meeting held on 13 January 2015.
The new table of fares had been published and distributed to members of the trade. Three objections had been received within the 14 day consultation period. Other correspondence had been received after the consultation period had ended, but were read for the Committees information.
There were three objections to the fee on the basis that it was not sufficient. Two of these objections, from Mr New at Wilsons, and Mr Winter were lists of drivers names who were in agreement that £3 was not enough. The third from a Mr Speller of Alton thanked the Committee for their consideration, but advised that £3 was insufficient.
There was a further objection from Mr Goodwin of Holybourne objecting to the idea of the booking fee entirely.
Mr Blackman from Alton 8’s was present to address the Committee.
The Licensing Team Leader reminded the Committee that they had the following options:
· To retain the booking fee previously agreed;
· Whether a different fee may apply and what it should be.
· Agree as to when the new Table of Fares should have effect. This could not be more that two months after the first date specified (23 February 2015). Thus any variation had to commence before 23 April 2015.
Mr Blackman, of Alton 8’s, representing the East Hampshire Taxi Association addressed the Committee. He believed that the £3 fee was not enough. He had undertaken an exercise the previous day to drive around Four Marks, working out the fees normally charged by meter in that area.
Fare differences included:
· Alton to Ropley would normally be £16
· The Swan in Alton to Tesco’s in Four Marks- £12.20
· Tesco to the Travel Lodge £4.
He did not believe that a driver would be willing to go to Four Marks for £7. (A £3 booking fee and then a £4 fare). There had to be trust a fair days earning for a fair days work.
He proposed that there should be a maximum fare payable and a booking fee of £10. The law stated that you could not charge more than the meter fare. All his drivers fully supported his objections.
Mr Blackman was asked how many bookings his firm would take from customers in Four Marks, to which he advised he would receive 4 or 5 calls a week.
The Sub-Committee discussed the application.
It was confirmed that there was no charge for any pick up from a rank, and that the proposed booking fee was discretionary and a driver did not have to charge this fee should they not wish to for a local collection. There was a discussion about the difference between a taxi and a private hire vehicle. A private hire fleet were all pre-booked and would set their own fees, which would include the cost of driving to pick the customer up.
The Licensing Team Leader gave a brief list of those registered as hackney taxi drivers and those who were licensed drivers. There were
· 55 hackney carriage proprietors;
· 386 licensed drivers; and
· 100 Licensed hackney carriages.
There was a concern from the Committee about the level of representation received during the consultation, in that out of over 50 Hackney Carriage proprietors, only 5 had individually responded to the consultation, and that out of those responses, one was against the idea entirely.
The Committee were also concerned about the lack of evidence, including a lack of complaints from the travelling public that they could not get a taxi in order to agree to the trade’s request of a fee higher than £3.
The Committee did agree to review this fee in 12 months time.
There was a short discussion about when the new fees should start and it was confirmed that no recalibration of the meters was required.
It was therefore recommended that the commencement date of the new table of fares should be 1 March 2015.
The committee voted on the proposal to retain the booking fee previously agreed.
Following the vote the recommendation was declared CARRIED, 5 Councillors voting FOR the recommendation, 1 Councillor voting AGAINST the recommendation and no councillors ABSTAINING from voting.
Therefore it was RESOLVED that the booking fee be added to the Hackney Carriage Fare Table of Fees ‘£3 for pre-booked journeys’.
The committee voted on the proposal that the start date of the new Table of Fares be 1 March 2015.
Following the vote the recommendation was declared CARRIED, 6 Councillors voting FOR the recommendation, no Councillor voting AGAINST the recommendation and no councillor ABSTAINING from voting.
Therefore it was RESOLVED that the new Table of Fares would have effect from 1 March 2015.