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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2019 7:28 am 
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Well this is interesting. Certainly a few other female-only firms in the UK, so don't see any reason why Glasgow/Scotland should be any different.

But they're represented by Mr Taxi Defence Barristers, so could well be appealed, but by the looks of it they're a bit short of cash :oops:

As far as I'm aware there's a fairly high-profile hardline feminist on the committee, but her name isn't mentioned, however I can't make up my mind whether that might have helped or hindered the application :-s

Female-only taxi service stopped by Glasgow City Council

https://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/176 ... y-council/

Image
Image: Evening Times

A WOMEN-ONLY taxi app designed to make female passengers feel safe has been thwarted by licensing chiefs for excluding men.

Glasgow City Council threw out Margo Welsh’s proposal to start Rosy and Pink Cars, offering female drivers to female passengers and their children.

She came up with the idea after seeing “the amount of sex attacks in this day and age”. But councillors dismissed her plan as “sexism” against men.

Now, the committee has been branded “inappropriate” by her lawyer.

“There’s definitely a need for this,” said Ms Welsh. “Loads of taxi companies are predominately male. It’s another option for women.”

She added: “I spoke to my family who said do you want to be driving men around at night? I wanted to be taking grannies to bingo and kids to school, rather than a stag do.”

But licensing convener Alex Wilson said: “If it was the other way round we would be looking at discrimination against females.”

“The whole not picking up male passengers is a concern to me. I don’t think we should discriminate at all.

Councillor Robert Connelly added: “It is essentially sexism towards males. It doesn’t sit right with me.”

Ms Welsh, who has vowed she won’t give up on her plan, was denied the opportunity to use her tenement flat in the north of the city as a booking office. She said: “I was a wee bit intimidated, I felt they were laughing, that my idea was ludicrous.”

“To say men are being discriminated against, I just don’t feel that.

“I’ve spoken to beauticians, women in supermarkets, even firemen. One said if his daughter is going to a nightclub he’d rather it was a female driver.”

Councillors criticised Ms Welsh for securing a private hire car licence herself, only not to use it or hand it back as required. Bailie John Kane said: “You’ve not even bothered reading your terms and conditions.” Ms Welsh admitted that was an “oversight”, when she couldn’t afford the insurance.

The committee questioned why male children could only use the service up to the age of 11. They also said driver conditions mean no passengers should be refused a journey, apart from in certain circumstances such as when they’re too drunk

“There had to be a cut off point,” Ms Welsh said. “I’ve got a son and when they get to high school age they can be boisterous. It was for the safety of drivers.”

Her lawyer Stephen McCaffrey said he disputed conditions would be breached by the app, adding councillors disliked the concept itself. “I have appeared before many committees over the last ten years throughout the UK. The hearing this morning was the most hostile and dismissive I have ever been before.”

“I accept that there may well be concerns about discrimination given it is female only app but felt the manner in which that was voiced and expressed was unprofessional and entirely inappropriate to say the least.”

A Council spokesman said the committee were not satisfied would avoid being discriminatory.

“It is a standard practice for licensing applications to be scrutinised and robustly questioned by committee members, particularly if there are concerns.”


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2019 12:27 pm 
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Whether you would class 50% of the world as a niche market, however from my experience of this trade is that niche markets don't work. Other than maybe the top end executive market.

I must have read dozens of articles over the years in relation to ladies only circuits, but how many of them are still operating?

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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2019 8:07 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
Whether you would class 50% of the world as a niche market, however from my experience of this trade is that niche markets don't work. Other than maybe the top end executive market.

I must have read dozens of articles over the years in relation to ladies only circuits, but how many of them are still operating?


Indeed, commercially they never seem to take off, or at least if they do stay around then it's a very niche *provider*, such as a two-car operation in a small town.

But that's a different issue from the legal aspect.

Another online report suggests that the application was refused because of the driver conditions, which are as follows in Fife, and from the report Glasgow obviously uses identical or very similar wording (I think the wording derives from model conditions issued by central government some years ago, and there are obvious examples of individual councils adding their own additions/modifications, but much of the wording is identical):

Fife Council taxi/PH driver licence conditions wrote:
7. Subject to condition 8 below the driver of the taxi/private hire car shall not refuse to drive a passenger to any place within the licensing area.

8. The driver of a taxi/private hire car need not convey any hirer or passenger who is drunk or otherwise not in a fit and proper state to be carried, or whose condition or clothing is offensive or likely to cause damage to the interior of the vehicle, or who refuses to cease smoking in the vehicle when requested to do so by the driver, or is accompanied by any animal which is likely to damage or soil the interior of the vehicle, or for any other reasonable excuse.


Which in the UK context seems a bit odd, because as far as I was aware private hire was generally afforded greater leeway with regard to this kind of thing (the 'rule of compellability' I've seen it called in relation to the public hire scenario), whereas in Fife and Glasgow at least the same rules of 'compellability' seem to apply to both taxis and PH.

Of course, the big caveat is the 'any other reasonable excuse' exception, thus it would be interesting to see how a court would interpret that with regard to women-only firms, but whether that will ever be tested in court we don't know at this stage.

And of course this kind of thing goes to the heart of the issue discussed in the recent Hull threads - how far can the 'other reasonable excuse' exemption be used to refuse a run to a dodgy housing estate. Or to refuse people eating pizzas or kebabs, or those refusing to pay money up front if the driver requests it?


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PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2019 4:29 am 
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What I can't understand is why the firm doesn't promote themselves as offering a lady driver service to other ladies.

That way they can operate legally providing they also offer their services to men or mixed couples.

And even if they didn't want to take men or mixed couples surely all they have to do is sub out that work to other firms.

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PostPosted: Sat May 11, 2019 8:43 pm 
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Wouldn't be surprised if there's a bit of politics going on here. As I said earlier, one of the committee members - Rhiannon Spear - is a hardline feminist who's quite, er, feisty, and is becoming increasingly unpopular with many men *and* women in her own party - the SNP.

Two of the three *male* councillors quoted in the piece are Labour and Tory, thus even more likely to oppose her, and to that degree maybe turn the women's rights argument around and say that women-only taxi services are sexist and discriminatory as regards men. And I suspect she has a strong opinion on this matter, which makes me wonder why she hasn't been quoted in the article.

But more recently she's also caused more division as regards her gung ho approach to 'trans' rights, which in the wider context also looks like one of the issues that's slowly tearing the SNP and pro-independence Yes moment apart.

Anyway, here's a piece from a few months ago which maybe provides a flavour of how a licensing committee decision might be influenced. It's nothing to do with council business or anything like that, but if you place this kind of stuff in the context of licensing then you might see how it might provoke a backlash among other committee members, particularly members of opposing parties.


SNP councillor has been told to ‘f*** off’ during an online row over sexism at a ‘BBC bias’ protest

https://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/163 ... s-protest/

An SNP councillor has been told to ‘f*** off’ during an online row over sexism at a ‘BBC bias’ protest.

Rhiannon Spear was also branded as pompous, purse-lipped and self-righteous by Peter Bell, who will be speaking at the rally, organised by pro-independence campaigners, on August 11.

Self-proclaimed feminist Ms Spear questioned why the three speakers at the protest are all white men.

She also raised concerns about the conduct of some protesters after she was abused at a similar rally four years ago.

She said: “Just a friendly reminder that many people who work at Pacific Quay (not all direct employees of the BBC) are pro-indy.

“In 2014, I was shouted at aggressively while I got my lunch and called a traitor by a man in a mask.”

She then asked Mr Bell: “Will you be trying to diversify at all?”

But Mr Bell said: “I suppose I could shave my legs and wear a skirt.”

Ms Spear then asked what good that would do before Mr Bell added: “Congratulations on the success of your humourectomy.

“My role in this event is as a guest speaker. I am aware that the organisers are looking for more speakers. Personally, I’m more concerned with what people have to say than with what they’ve got between their legs.”

Ms Spear responded to that by insisting female representation is important. She said: “What people have to say will be based on their world view and experiences.

“If you don’t think that’s the case you probably shouldn’t be a ‘guest speaker’ or a voice for any movement that’s not just white men.”

At that point Mr Bell said: “That is a very sexist comment. Perhaps you’d like to f*** off now.”

He was accused of conducting himself in a bizarre way following that comment.

But he told Ms Spear: “You are the one attacking me for absolutely no reason other than that I happen to be male.

“I’m the one muting you as I do with all pompous, purse-lipped, self-righteous tut-tutters.”

Greater Pollock councillor Ms Spear then added: “I’m sorry you feel that way. You sensitive soul.”

The event, set to take place between 1pm and 3pm on August 11, is being organised by campaigner Bill Glen.

An online notice of the event said it was a “peaceful protest against the BBC and the fake misrepresentation on Scotland” and that it was “time to put an end to the biased news in favour of Westminster”.

As well as Mr Bell, speakers Alan Knight and David McGuinness are also being lined up.


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2019 3:35 am 
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Interesting that once again it those that should have a listening approach to issues are the worst, and will not countenance any view that differs from there's.

The SNP and Scotland are more than welcomed to that lady.

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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2019 10:12 pm 
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Rosy and Pink Cars – Facts & Statement

https://www.taxidefencebarristers.co.uk ... statement/

By Stephen McCaffrey
Regulatory defence barrister specialising in taxi and private hire licensing law, appeals and defence.
https://www.taxidefencebarristers.co.uk ... barrister/

Glasgow City Council’s refusal of my client’s (Rosy and Pink Cars Ltd) application for a new booking office licence has been widely reported in the Scottish media.

The application has been refused on the basis that it would contravene a number of conditions applicable to driver’s licences issued by the council and over concerns to do with equality.

My client’s concept is a female only operation that will employ women to drive other women and children using a smart phone app to facilitate bookings.

The city council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee refused the application on the basis that my client’s operation would be non-complaint with a number of conditions relevant to driver’s licences:

Glasgow City Council PHD licence conditions wrote:
Conditions attached to a Private Hire Car Driver’s Licence

Condition 3: The driver of a private hire car shall be bound to fulfil, or cause to be fulfilled, at the time and location specified, a request to hire his private hire car, which he has accepted, unless there be sufficient cause for not fulfilling the request to hire.

Condition 9: Subject to condition 10 below the driver of a private hire car shall not refuse to drive a passenger to any place within the licensed area.

Condition10: The driver of a private hire car shall not be required to convey any hirer or passenger who is drunk or otherwise not in a fit and proper condition to be carried or whose condition or clothing is offensive or likely to cause damage to the interior of the private hire car, or who refuses to cease smoking in the private hire car when requested to do so by the driver, or is accompanied by any animal which is likely to damage or soil the interior of the private hire car, or for any other reasonable excuse.


The Councillors did raise concerns about the drivers breaching their conditions because Licensing Enforcement, quite properly and reasonably, expressed concerns about the operation of the app.

However, the concern that drivers’ conditions 3 and 10 would be breached is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the app and the process. It is disputed entirely that the drivers’ conditions would be breached. Even if this were the case, which it is not, female passengers up and down the country call operators and ask for a female driver and those requests are fulfilled – that is not regarded as discriminatory or a breach.

The overall impression I got however was that the focus was not on the conditions or the specifics of the app but on a dislike of the concept itself and I did not feel they were interested in attempting to understand it or open to considering submissions at all. On more than one occasion statements were made to us rather than questions being asked and no opportunity was given to address them. On one occasion in particular an attempt to answer was treated defensively and entirely unprofessionally.

I accept that there may well be concerns about discrimination given it is female only app but felt the manner in which that was voiced and expressed was unprofessional and entirely inappropriate to say the least. They were not interested in the business plan, the wider documentation available or indeed the explanations provided concerning the conditions. They did not like the concept and their body language and talking over us, whispering to each other and laughing raised genuine concerns for me.

We will be pursuing the case and I look forward to the merits of it being considered properly by a qualified and independent tribunal.


Taxi or private hire legal issue?

If you are facing a taxi or private hire legal issue or difficulty, speak to us today for a free no obligation case assessment:

https://www.taxidefencebarristers.co.uk/contact-us/


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 10:08 pm 
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Even if this were the case, which it is not, female passengers up and down the country call operators and ask for a female driver and those requests are fulfilled – that is not regarded as discriminatory or a breach.

There is a huge difference between a customer expressing/demanding a preference, and a firm refusing on the basis of gender.

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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2019 7:03 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
There is a huge difference between a customer expressing/demanding a preference, and a firm refusing on the basis of gender.


Er, let's not get into the debate about the difference between gender and sex :oops: 8-[

Anyway, as everyone does know it's basically illegal to refuse someone a service on the basis of someone's sex, unless there's a good reason. According to Citizen's Advice:

Quote:
What’s a good enough reason?

If a service provider wants to restrict their services to one sex only or provide separate services for men and women they need to show they have a good enough reason for doing this. This means they should only restrict services if this is absolutely necessary.

Here are examples of reasons traders or service providers often use:

• health and safety
• the welfare of individuals
• running an efficient service.

But something may not be a good enough reason if there are less discriminatory or better ways of doing the same thing. The trader or service provider would need to show that the reason for discriminating against you is fairly balanced against the disadvantage you've suffered because of the discrimination.


I'd always assumed cab services were exempt on the first two criteria, roughly speaking, because women passengers felt safer with women drivers, and vice versa. Although I'm not sure to what degree this has been put to the test, but had assumed that at least some questions had been raised because such services aren't that unusual. (As I recall it the Pink Ladies didn't have a problem in that regard - their problem was that they wanted to run an unlicensed service.)

As regards the condition requiring drivers to fulfil a booking, I'd always assumed that was just meant to ensure that any pre-booking (either HC or PH) *accepted* would be carried out, and the passenger wouldn't just be left whistling in the wind. But the important word is surely *accepted*, thus the condition is only relevant if the booking has been taken on, thus it would allow the firm to reject enquiries from men. Although normally that exception to the condition might be used if, for example, it would entail a lot of dead mileage, or the driver couldn't undertake the job because of the time the passenger wanted it, particularly if the firm was small scale/one-man band.

So this is Fife Council's condition:

Quote:
The driver of a taxi/private hire car shall be bound to fulfil, or cause to be fulfilled, at the time and location specified, an engagement to hire the taxi/private hire car which has been accepted, unless prevented by sufficient cause.


Thus assuming the Equality Act allowed a firm to offer a woman-only service, this licence condition would seem to accommodate that as well, at least for pre-booked work (obviously public hire is a different kettle of fish). Don't know if it's worth mentioning, but the wording of the Glasgow condition is slightly different, but whether that's significant or not I don't know, but no point in over-analysing it on here [-(

However, condition 7 in Fife seems to contradict what the above condition seems to allow in terms of the driver being able to reject any work that they can't or won't do. I can see what it's trying to do as regards public hire, but not in terms of pre-booked work, unless the 'any other reasonable excuse' exception in condition 8 applies, which begs the question, what's the point of condition 7 as regards pre-booked work?

Quote:
7. Subject to condition 8 below the driver of the taxi/private hire car shall not refuse to drive a passenger to any place within the licensing area.

8. The driver of a taxi/private hire car need not convey any hirer or passenger who is drunk or otherwise not in a fit and proper state to be carried, or whose condition or clothing is offensive or likely to cause damage to the interior of the vehicle, or who refuses to cease smoking in the vehicle when requested to do so by the driver, or is accompanied by any animal which is likely to damage or soil the interior of the vehicle, or for any other reasonable excuse.


Anyway, no point spending any more time on this here - as Mr McCaffrey says: "I look forward to the merits of it being considered properly by a qualified and independent tribunal."

Not like he's having a dig or anything :badgrin:


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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2019 10:17 pm 
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Not like he's having a dig or anything :badgrin:

He defo appears to have the right hump.

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