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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:47 am 
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Leading councillor won't use Derby yellow cabs because fleet is 'too dangerous'

https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/d ... by-3391608

He says it is a personal decision for himself and his family

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Image: Derby Telegraph

Leading Derby councillor Mick Barker has said he is not personally prepared to use the city's yellow cabs "because of the dangerous state of the fleet".

The Derby Area Taxi Association claims "there are only a few" yellow cabs, out of 1,300 in the city, that do not meet safety standards.

And it says private hire taxis registered outside of Derby are "a bigger risk to the public" because they cannot be checked by local council officials.

But figures for the past 12 months reveal that, of the 83 yellow cabs inspected in the city last year, 41 had licences suspended, eight were referred for garage inspection, 28 drivers were given advice and just six were satisfactory.

Mr Barker, cabinet member for governance and licensing, spoke out after the council's licensing committee failed to back a policy to modernise yellow cabs so they would have lower emissions by January 2021.

The council also wanted to limit taxis to a maximum age of 10 years for diesel and 12 for what are known as ZEC ULEV vehicles, which are "ultra-low emission".

Instead, members of the licensing committee voted to introduce cleaner vehicles by 2025 and to make the maximum age of taxis 15 years. Some are already at least 12 years old.

Mr Barker, who is a member of the council's licensing committee, said: "It is the dangerous state of the Hackney fleet, defective upon inspection, that leads me to speak out as an individual in my refusal to use a hackney carriage in Derby - until modernisation of the fleet is accepted by both the owners, drivers and the city's licensing committee.

"This is a personal decision for myself and family obviously, based on the knowledge I have relating to the public results of council and police inspections.

"Too few vehicles are checked each year. This is because is all the vehicles carry two-way radios and it is a well-known fact that when officers and police are undertaking an inspection exercise, seldom are they able to manage more than six inspections as the remainder ‘book off’ duty to avoid being stop-checked.

"One could assume the statistics could therefore be worse if the drivers chose to lose business and avoid an inspection knowing their vehicle could well have a defect."

In an inspection last month, six out of six taxis tested by police and council officers had defects resulting in immediate prohibitions and licence suspensions.

At the licensing committee on August 22, which opposed the suggested change of council policy to modernise the fleet, councillors for the Liberal Democrats, Brexit Party and Labour combined to vote down the proposals.

Richard Antcliff, council director of public protection and Streetpride, wrote to the licensing committee following the meeting.

He said that the consequences of the committee's decision were that what is left of the strategy will not achieve what it set out to do within an appropriate timescale and the resultant age and emissions policy will "ultimately disadvantage drivers in the long-term" and "put public health and safety at risk".

After the licensing committee meeting on August 22, the Conservatives said they were “hugely disappointed with the Labour, Lib Dem and Brexit councillors", who they say “disregarded and opposed our proposals to improve the quality of Derby’s taxi fleet and deliver cleaner vehicles - something that the public fully supported in the consultation that took place in advance”.

But Labour committee member Councillor Nadine Peatfield said the original proposals would have “seriously affected the livelihoods of hundreds of taxi drivers”.

Ian Wigley, chairman of the Derby Area Taxi Association, said Mr Barker and the taxi licensing committee “dictated” a narrow choice of vehicles available to yellow cab drivers, and also “dictated” the fact that they must be licensed in Derby.

He said: “Councillor Barker has a choice of taxis at his disposal.

“It is entirely up to him to decide if he wants to travel in a locally-licensed taxi which is tested by city council approved testing stations, or an out-of-town licensed taxi that is licensed many miles away and checked by testing stations which are not city council approved.”

Some private hire taxis – which are defined as those which must be booked in advance – are registered out of the city but some are registered within Derby City Council boundaries.

Mr Wigley said: “Our vehicles will go for specialised taxi tests bi-annually which is a new rule from August 22 for all vehicles over five years of age, at city council approved and checked testing stations.

“The public can feel safe knowing all licensed taxis in Derby are now vigorously checked to the highest standards twice a year, plus there are regular enforcement exercises conducted by Derby City Council and the police.”


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:15 pm 
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A general (not legal) definition of 'fit and proper' is based around the question as to would you be happy for your family to be driven by that person, in that vehicle?

It would seem that Councillor is deeming all Derby hackneys not 'fit and proper'.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:36 am 
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Was going to say the other day that it's unusual for political spats about this kind of thing, but now they're involving a council official in washing their dirty linen in public.

Two things, though - aren't these things supposed to be decided on a non-party basis? And aren't councillors supposed to refrain from publicly questioning officials like this? At least I think that's how it works in Scotland, and assume it's broadly similar south of the border?

Anyway, not really sure what the point of the letter is - it reads like they think they've cocked up, but are blaming the official for not telling them the whole score, while it looks more like they simply couldn't work out for themselves the consequences of rejecting the policy :-s


Labour criticises Derby City Council officer over taxi licensing letter

https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/d ... il-3414364

He is accused of challenging 'political decisions'

Labour councillors on Derby's licensing committee have criticised a council officer for writing a letter to all members "challenging the political decisions made by the majority of licensing committee members".

Richard Antcliff wrote to the licensing committee following a meeting in August in which Labour opposed Conservative plans to age-limit hackney carriages (yellow cabs) and extend the requirement to change to cleaner vehicles until 2025, instead of 2021 as requested.

Mr Antcliff, Derby City Council director of public protection and Streetpride, said that the consequences of the committee's decision were that what is left of the strategy will not achieve what it set out to do within an appropriate timescale and the resultant age and emissions policy will "ultimately disadvantage drivers in the long-term" and "put public health and safety at risk".

Since then, Tory councillor Mick Baker, cabinet member for governance and licensing, said he would not use a yellow cab because of fears for him and his family over safety issues.

Most of the yellow cabs are around 11 or 12 years old and the council cabinet wanted to see an age-limit of 10 years for diesel and 12 years for what are known as ZEC ULEV vehicles, which are Ultra Low Emission. Instead, Labour, backed by Brexit Party and Lib Dem councillors, voted for 15 years.

The latest letter is back to Mr Antcliff and is signed by Labour licensing committee councillors Nadine Peatfield, Fareed Hussain, Balbir Sandhu and Martin Repton and Labour group leader Councillor Lisa Eldret.

They wrote: "We have to ask why your arguments for the existing policy were not made at the meeting, before the amendments were taken to the vote. If any changes to the policy were going to have a knock-on effect, we should have been made aware of them at the time.

"The key reason that the amendments were put forward by Labour members of the committee were to support drivers' livelihoods and avoid them and their families falling into financial difficulties.

"Since that meeting we have received an overwhelming amount of emails thanking us for saving their futures and informing us they will be converting to cleaner vehicles as soon as possible in response to the committee’s understanding and reasonable decision."

The Labour councillors say that more should be done to tackle the emissions of all vehicles entering the city.

The letter continues: "When you consider the number of daily car trips in Derby is 660,000 compared to 10,000 taxi trips per day, we have to question why private car emissions are not being tackled at all, while huge financial pressure and career-changing decisions are being forced onto the taxi trade for a miniscule percentage of the total air pollution causes."

The Labour councillors have asked Mr Antcliff to consider putting a discussion about idling vehicles on a future licensing committee meeting agenda.

They said: "To mitigate the longer implementation time for replacing taxis and to move forward with the city's climate emergency policy, we support an idling ban on all taxis within Derby City Centre to lower emissions in public places, enforced by public protection officers.

"Labour licensing committee members would be happy to discuss in more detail the generic decision taken to extend all vehicle ages to 15 years.

"It is our opinion that hackney carriages should be given more longevity than private hire taxis.

"We also request that a review of the inspection system and MOT test stations is brought to the committee, if Mr Barker is criticising the health and safety record of the vehicles."

Last year, a café owner on The Spot blamed a loss of trade on idling taxis outside his restaurant.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:34 pm 
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Quote:
Two things, though - aren't these things supposed to be decided on a non-party basis?

Yep, and it drives me f***ing mad when licensing committees are split down party lines. Image

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:07 pm 
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Taxi driver calls on Derby councillor to resign after calling yellow cabs 'dangerous'

https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/d ... or-3418434

But the councillor stands by what he said

An angry taxi driver thinks that a leading city councillor should resign from his position on the authority's licensing committee after remarks he made about the safety of Derby's yellow cabs.

Mohammed Saghir claims that comments made by Councillor Mick Barker earlier this week - when he said he was not personally prepared to use the city's yellow cabs "because of the dangerous state of the fleet" - have cost him and other drivers business.

Mr Barker spoke out after Derby City Council's licensing committee failed to back a policy to modernise yellow cabs so they would have lower emissions by January 2021.

The council also wanted to limit taxis to a maximum age of 10 years for diesel and 12 for what are known as ZEC ULEV vehicles, which are "ultra-low emission".

Instead, members of the licensing committee voted to introduce cleaner vehicles by 2025 and to make the maximum age of taxis 15 years. Some are already at least 12 years old.

Labour councillors have since said that they took the decision to oppose the proposed policy "to support drivers' livelihoods and avoid them and their families falling into financial difficulties".

Mr Barker said last week: "It is the dangerous state of the hackney fleet, defective upon inspection, that leads me to speak out as an individual in my refusal to use a hackney carriage in Derby - until modernisation of the fleet is accepted by both the owners, drivers and the city's licensing committee."

But Mr Saghir accused Mr Barker of having "biased and extremely one-sided opinions" as a licensing committee member.

He said: "Mr Barker has quite clearly politically-motivated opinions. He has caused me and many of my colleagues to lose a lot of business.

"He should resign as a taxi licensing committee member as we cannot possibly get a fair hearing as a trade with a councillor that holds such malicious and calculated views."

Mr Saghir is also angry and claims that the council is making it difficult for taxi drivers to purchase vehicles that are reliable and not prohibitively expensive.

He said: "The affordable and reliable vehicles are not on a recommended list from the council and they won't licence others.

"I needed a new vehicle and felt pressured to buy a council recommended taxi as that is the only avenue open to me.

"So I spent £34,000 and bought one of the cabs on the list. It is the worst decision I have made, as my 20 year-old cab is more reliable than this brand-new cab that has been in the repair shop more often than it has been on the road.

"It has been repaired on three separate occasions and was only first registered on September 13. It has been a stressful couple of months."

Mr Barker said he stood by his comments about the safety of cabs because public data showed that more than half of the yellow hackney cabs that were examined over the past 12 months had caused concerns with both police and council officers.

He said: "In the vast majority of cases they are dated vehicles, some being up to 20 years old, as readily identified by the driver who has contacted Derbyshire Live.

"Coupling that safety aspect with the requirements of clean air in the city, it also shows 95% of this same fleet do not meet the standards they need to modernise as cleaner vehicles as required by the Government and European courts ‘at the earliest opportunity'.

"I have made a personal stance on usage of hackney carriages and have seen the results of the checks carried out in the past few weeks, where six out of six vehicles were found to have serious faults and were unfit for the road."

Mr Barker said the licensing committee's first duty was to formulate policies to protect the public and not to protect the livelihoods of taxi drivers and owners.

He said: "The people of Derby, which includes myself and family members, have been let down by a wrong decision made on the wrong criteria - it is they who should consider resigning from the committee.

"Our proposal included a business case to help drivers purchase or lease new vehicles over a period of years, gave them 18 months grace to make the change, consultation with the trade and public, the overall findings of which supported the whole strategy and would have indeed produced a fleet of vehicles of which Derby could be proud .

"Now we face a situation that is potentially worse than before in the ageing hackney fleet.

"It has been suggested I should resign from the licensing committee - I have no intention of agreeing to that - I remain resolute to retain my membership in the duty I hold of guardianship of public safety.

"I hold no bias towards the trade, I merely want to see them modernise and be not only the best for Derby but the example to follow for the rest of the country both in taxi services and climate control."

The council has issued a list of 16 vehicle types which will be approved for licensing as hackney carriages in the city.

Hackney carriages, which are due to become black cabs with a yellow decal detail when they are renewed, can wait on designated taxi ranks and be flagged down in the street by the public, unlike private-hire taxis. Yellow cabs can also use bus lanes.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:12 pm 
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Derby HCD wrote:
"I needed a new vehicle and felt pressured to buy a council recommended taxi as that is the only avenue open to me.

"So I spent £34,000 and bought one of the cabs on the list. It is the worst decision I have made, as my 20 year-old cab is more reliable than this brand-new cab that has been in the repair shop more often than it has been on the road.

"It has been repaired on three separate occasions and was only first registered on September 13. It has been a stressful couple of months."

That's not good :sad:

Wonder what he bought?

Derby licensing councillor wrote:
I remain resolute to retain my membership in the duty I hold of guardianship of public safety.

Hark at him :roll:


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:49 pm 
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I think Taxigate will rumble on and on

many a councillor has resigned for less maybe a protest drive around the council offices at the time of the next council meeting would be appropriate

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