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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2003 12:54 am 
Read the article here:

http://www.taxi-driver.co.uk/ddafp.htm

Read an opinion here:

http://www.taxi-driver.co.uk/ddaopinion.htm

Discuss the issues below!


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2003 9:15 am 
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Well at least we have got something 8 years after the act. :shock:

I think the area thing is a nonsense, down here my manor is on the list, but some of the most rural areas in the country are also there. :?

Wealden and Lewes are rural areas with the occasional town split by a gorgeous countryside. I feel in these the HC trade will be decimated, but the PH trade will expand beyond belief.

In fact it's a bit like the present, in those areas the HCs are just PHs with a license to pick up from the street or the rank.

Interesting times though. :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2003 2:03 pm 
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I'm not an expert on the geography of England, but some of these areas seem amazingly rural.

I know that mandatory WAV taxis in my area would spell the death knell for the trade in its current form - as a medium sized saloon taxi town we don't have a PH tier, and there's enough conflict and bitterness as it is, without the added burden of a two tier system, with all the division and hatred that that often entails.

And as I said recently in another thread, in several years in our medium sized town, I've never seen a wheelchair user get into a saloon car taxi, which says something since it seems that the majority either prefer to or must get out of the wheelchair when travelling.

I don't know much about Whitehall procedures either, but I thought that we would get a consultation document that discussed the issues, which would then be finalised, and a list of the LAs drawn up - my impression is that the cart has come before the horse here, and the whole thing looks more like a fait accompli rather than the forerunner of a consultation.

And all we've had up till now is an 'informal discussion document' issued about half a dozen years ago - what about the exemption criteria mentioned in that, for example?

If the OFT report is due out within the next few days, then the timing of the DDA announcement seems more than co-incidental. Could the DDA statement could have been rushed out so that it could be included in the OFT report, or on the contrary, could it have been rushed out to ensure that it's not included in the OFT report.

After all, we might have hoped that the OFT would have at least mentioned the idea of a one-tier system, for example, but the DDA proposals would just perpetuate two tier systems where they exist, and create them where effective one tier sectors operate at present.

We shall see!

Dusty :?


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 Post subject: DDA First Phase
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2003 2:53 pm 
I agree with the views posted to date and think that it's good to start getting some guide lines that we can discuss with our Councils, however i'm glad to say that my town is not in the first phase so it's the OTHER AUTHORITIES bit that interest me and I wait with anticipation as to what that will bring, but at least it looks like we should not be forced into 100% wheelchair accessible vehicles which would suite most of the trade I think.

Mind you what percentage what type of vehicle and when are still the main concerns.

Mel Day
(HITCHIN HERTS)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2003 4:18 pm 
I have had a look at the statement,

there is 6 years to the regs starting, though although its consultation this is not going to be easy, so 15 years to full implementation,

just what we can achieve I dont know, we are in very intersting times,

views so far have been interesting, in fact more interesting than the announcement

my authority is on the list, the major town zone aggreement has been reached, now we will see from there. for the 6 rural zones

Wharfie


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2003 4:37 pm 
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Yes Wharfy, there's not really much in the announcement at all.

It's a long way down the line, but then again it seemed a long way in the future when the 'informal' consultation was issued half a dozen years ago.

I assume that zoning will be irrelevant for DDA purposes?

Dusty


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 Post subject: Re: DDA First Phase
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2003 4:49 pm 
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MELVYN wrote:
I agree with the views posted to date and think that it's good to start getting some guide lines that we can discuss with our Councils, however i'm glad to say that my town is not in the first phase so it's the OTHER AUTHORITIES bit that interest me and I wait with anticipation as to what that will bring, but at least it looks like we should not be forced into 100% wheelchair accessible vehicles which would suite most of the trade I think.

Mel Day
(HITCHIN HERTS)



Hello Mel, your area seems to be one of those that are very interesting as regards the various criteria.

Assuming you've been excluded on the basis of population, then your area (North Herts) must have just scraped below the 120,000. You've got a couple of sizeable towns in Hitchin and Letchworth (30-35,000?).

On the other hand, East Herts IS included, but seems just to scrape above the 120,000, and has some similarly sized town such as Bishop's Stortford and Hertford.

On the other hand it also has some smaller towns like Ware, Sawbridgeworth and Buntingford. I don't know if there are taxis/HC in these towns rather than private hire, but the last DfT figures for East Herts show 189 taxis and only 39 PH.

Dusty


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2003 4:56 pm 
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On reflection perhaps the list is just there for those councils on it.

If we go back to the act, councils are permitted to request exemption for certain reasons i.e. will lose all the existing HC fleet.

So could the large timescale allow councils to put a case to diptac, to see if they can be exempted.

This I believe will help the rural districts, but if you have a big town/city, I think your chances are nil.

No doubt some council may argue that a mixed saloon/WAV HC fleet is what customers want. Did those same councils ask for a mixed set of buildings requirements to meet the DDA? Did they say that this building doesn't need to be accessible, cos the one next door is?

Before yesterday, I would have bet a lot of money on, that the DDA would never reach the taxi trade. I just glad I didn't. :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2003 5:41 pm 
When I was talking to our Licensing officer last Monday he said it's up to the individual Council as to what they do, Mansfield are keeping it at a 50/50 split. Going on to the disability act what about these people who can't get into black cabs or, those who don't like black cabs??? It's going to be a minefield if you ask me. The PH fraternity will love it.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2003 6:04 pm 
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Nidge wrote:
When I was talking to our Licensing officer last Monday he said it's up to the individual Council as to what they do, Mansfield are keeping it at a 50/50 split. Going on to the disability act what about these people who can't get into black cabs or, those who don't like black cabs??? It's going to be a minefield if you ask me. The PH fraternity will love it.


The PH boys and girls will very much like the extra work. :D That is of course if such a tier exists then.

But as regards to what customers that can't get into a WAV do, well they will do what they do at present in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bristol, Newcastle, Bury, Bolton, Manchester, Liverpool, Wirral and the other 100 or so councils that have mandatory orders.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2003 8:57 pm 
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Sussex Man wrote:
If we go back to the act, councils are permitted to request exemption for certain reasons i.e. will lose all the existing HC fleet.

So could the large timescale allow councils to put a case to diptac, to see if they can be exempted.



But the Act never specified anything, it just gave the Govt the powers to make regulations on WAVS - this could be in any shape or form.

The initial proposals seemed to assume 100% WAVs everywhere, and the exemption process would have given LAs the chance of an opt-out.

The statement yesterday seems to have assumed some kind of process similar to exemption has taken place - but this is done before the regs are implemented, rather than passing regs that assume WAVs everywhere and then allow coucils to apply for an exemption.

But of course the statement is so scant in detail that it's difficult to ascertain exactly what's going on, but presumably the full consultation will be more informative.

Dusty


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2003 9:03 pm 
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Sussex Man wrote:
No doubt some council may argue that a mixed saloon/WAV HC fleet is what customers want. Did those same councils ask for a mixed set of buildings requirements to meet the DDA? Did they say that this building doesn't need to be accessible, cos the one next door is?



I think the point is that making saloon fleets all WAV would have fundamental consequences as compared to making reasonable adjustments to the average building - a more appropriate analogy might be knocking the building down and building it again :?

Indeed, this has been recognised by the Govt from the outset, but of course we all have differing views on this.

The question again is, what is best, half the number of HCs but all WAV, or the same number of HCs but half WAV.

Or something like that!

Dusty


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2003 10:46 pm 
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The sensible answer is of course a mixed fleet, so that all types of customer are catered for.

The way to measure whether the proportion of WAVs is sufficient, is to ring around and try and get one. If you get one within a few minutes, then fine, but the longer the wait (by comparison to a non-WAV), then the higher the deficit of WAVs. It really isnt rocket science.

We run 3 dedicated WAVs. Two, interestingly enough, are on Private Hire plates and only do contract/phone work thats simply because its cheaper to insure them). We have NEVER been unable to answer a WAV call within a reasonable length of time, in the entire 7 or 8 years we have operated them. The fourth (non dedicated) WAV is a Hackney which does any work. It has only had a Wheelchair flag once, ever, to the best of my knowledge. But has on occassions been radio-despatched to another vehicle that has been flagged. Unless local traffic is absolutely diabolical, we can get a WAV onto any call in our area within about 15 minutes at most, and that is about the same for any cab.

We are the ONLY operators of WAVs in our district (I think), other than the community schemes. Thus, there are 4 out of a total of 50 licensed vehicles. Furthermore, only ONE of these WAVs cost above £20,000 and that one was purely down to driver choice. Our dedicated WAVs carry wheelchairs (averaged) about 30% of the time they are on the road, and this is largely due to contract work. They are all Transit/Vito-sized vehicles and the oldest has done 35,000 miles. (Nb. Our Transit TDCi s average about 35mpg - beat that with a TXII).

It is a fallacy to say that you have to pay £30,000 for one.

No one has EVER forced us to operate them - we operate them from choice as we want the WAV work as much as we want customers, period. The wheelchair market's money looks just as good in our pay packets as any other money.

Based upon our experience, we could cover all the WAV work with one less vehicle, but its handy to have a spare WAV in case of breakdown or whatever.

Thus, I suggest that with 4 out of 50, thats 8% of all local cabs being WAVs, our market is fully served, without there being any unmet WAV demand - and thats even on a Saturday night.

However, if all our vehicles were forced to be WAVs, then we simply would have to stop carrying a whole range of our elderly and some (non-wheelchair bound) disabled people. They just hate having to get in the WAVs, as the seats are too high to just swing around into. It is painful for some of them, and the additional steps are just a nuisance when they have crutches, walking sticks and the like.

Our model may not work everywhere. I do not suggest that it would. But it works here. Our Council are very supportive of our efforts, vocally, and have indicated that from next renewal they will halve fees for WAVs, as they do for fuel efficient environmentally-friendly vehicles at the moment.

Our Council have NO quantitive limitations. Only very stringent quality controls. There are no plate premiums. The Council do not set fares. We are not required to have Meters.

The downside?

OK, because there are no set fares, prices are very competitive, and as such we don't exactly earn a fortune. But we live. And many of the drivers on both our fleet and the others, are the same faces that have been about for years - so it cant be all that bad...

_________________
There is Significant Unmet Demand for my Opinion.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2003 12:59 am 
Dusty Bin wrote:
Yes Wharfy, there's not really much in the announcement at all.

It's a long way down the line, but then again it seemed a long way in the future when the 'informal' consultation was issued half a dozen years ago.

I assume that zoning will be irrelevant for DDA purposes?

Dusty


Well at the moment they treat rural zones differently in our area and I think there is scope for discussion on backloading salloons, it all depends how my colleagues go in, if they go in totaly opposing were sunk, if we go in accepting the inevitability then I think they will bend slightly.

I am not bothered for myself, but I know it will be important in the future and of course other authorities can quote our example.

Wharfie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2003 1:02 am 
Dusty Bin wrote:
Sussex Man wrote:
If we go back to the act, councils are permitted to request exemption for certain reasons i.e. will lose all the existing HC fleet.

So could the large timescale allow councils to put a case to diptac, to see if they can be exempted.



But the Act never specified anything, it just gave the Govt the powers to make regulations on WAVS - this could be in any shape or form.

The initial proposals seemed to assume 100% WAVs everywhere, and the exemption process would have given LAs the chance of an opt-out.

The statement yesterday seems to have assumed some kind of process similar to exemption has taken place - but this is done before the regs are implemented, rather than passing regs that assume WAVs everywhere and then allow coucils to apply for an exemption.

But of course the statement is so scant in detail that it's difficult to ascertain exactly what's going on, but presumably the full consultation will be more informative.

Dusty


well its the secretary of state that does exemptions not daptac, but authorities first have to proove steps taken like swivel seats and opening up the market,

not many will go for that!

Wharfie


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