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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:40 am 
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Thanet cab bosses: “Passengers ‘put at risk’ due to decline of council licensing services”

https://theisleofthanetnews.com/2019/11 ... -services/

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Cab office bosses Maria, Andy, Afran and Karl (Image: Isle of Thanet News)

Taxi passengers are being “put at risk” due to a major decline in services at Thanet council’s licensing department, according to a group of isle cab bosses.

Thanet Private Hire Association consists of Thanet Cars, Central Cars and United Cars, who work together to ensure best practice across their firms – an arrangement which is beneficial to both their businesses and their customers.

Between them they have more than 100 years’ experience in the industry and are responsible for 370 drivers on their books.

Andy Doody of Thanet Cars has worked in the industry for 40 years and says the breakdown in communication with Thanet council’s licensing department is causing major concerns, adding that the group have struggled in vain to get in touch or have their queries answered.

He said: “If you have an emergency such as police stopping a car with children in the back, you can’t get in touch with the department.

“They say you have to call after 2pm, but you often can’t get through and if you email, the auto-response says they will respond in ten days.”

Another serious issue raised by the TPHA is drivers working for other smaller firms while they drive under their company name.

Maria Seagar, director of Central Cars, explained: “A car with our branding on and badge name could be picking up customers from a smaller firm.

“If anything happens, there is no way of tracing the driver. “This is especially concerning if elderly people and children are travelling.

“Sometimes we get a phone call asking where the fare is and we have no idea about it because we haven’t taken the booking.”

Another issue concerning new drivers is the tests undertaken to gain their licensed badges.

The test of the driver’s knowledge of the area’s roads is only being offered on a monthly basis when previously it was every fortnight.

Andy said: “Drivers cannot wait a month to earn money so are being put off from applying for their badges.”

Maria said: “The summer period was particularly hard as the lack of drivers sometimes meant we could not pick up a fare for more than an hour.

“Thanet is getting busier and busier during the period and we could not get enough drivers and it was awful to not provide our usual service.”

Andy says new drivers have been forced to wait for up to four hours to download forms at the council’s Gateway building and says some drivers are being awarded their badges without basic English, with one driver turning up with a translator.

Regular inspections to assess a car’s cleanliness and safety have also been ditched in favour of spot-checks which the TPHA say are not fit for purpose and do nothing to stop drivers with substandard or damaged vehicles moving from one firm to another.

Despite a lengthy meeting with the authority’s head of Safer Neighbourhoods, Penny Button, in August nothing has progressed, which has left TPHA members exasperated.

Andy said: “It’s a shame that, after all that was said from licensing with regards to the sharing of ideas, the safety aspects that were raised, and the fact that everyone agreed it could be a real danger to the public, nothing has happened since. There is now talk of strikes.”

A spokesman for Thanet council said: “We have responded to requests from those in the taxi trade and are working on a new licensing policy for consultation that balances their needs with those of the public.

“Developing a policy to protect the public, encourage a respected trade, and ensure a more environmentally friendly fleet is a big undertaking, and a proposal is expected in January 2020.”


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:30 am 
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Thanet Private Hire Association consists of Thanet Cars, Central Cars and United Cars, who work together to ensure best practice across their firms – an arrangement which is beneficial to both their businesses and their customers.


Hmmmmm........................the only reason taxi companies work together is for their mutual benefit i.e. price control the normal situation is to be at each others throats

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:25 pm 
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Another serious issue raised by the TPHA is drivers working for other smaller firms while they drive under their company name.

No they want drivers kept within their own little cartel. Heaven forbid a driver working for another operator.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:26 pm 
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“If anything happens, there is no way of tracing the driver. “This is especially concerning if elderly people and children are travelling.

If only someone could invent a portable transmitter, maybe even name it after a fruit. :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:06 pm 
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Thanet Taxi companies oppose new draft policy vehicle restrictions

https://www.kentonline.co.uk/thanet/new ... es-222481/

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Maria Seager and Rupert Lambert from Central Cars, Andrew Doody from United Cars and Karl Evans from Thanet Cars (Image: KentOnline)

Three rival taxi firms are working together to object new proposed rules which they say could "destroy" their business.

Thanet Private Hire Association, made up of United Cars, Thanet Cars and Central Cars, are worried new rules proposed by Thanet District Council could force a quarter of their drivers out of a job.

A new draft of the council's Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy would place new restrictions on the age of vehicles which can operate as taxis in the area.

Rupert Lambert, from Central Cars, said the proposed changes have sent shockwaves through the drivers.

He said: "I have been in the taxi business for over 40 years and have never seen such genuine concern and worry between the drivers.

"Drivers would find it impossible to replace their cars with new ones as often as the council are asking, we could easily lose a quarter or more of our cars.

"It would have a massive effect on services, not only for our local regular customers but visitors to Thanet too."

Under the new proposed rules, some drivers would only have three years to replace their vehicles with new or like-new models.

Andrew Doody, from United Cars, said people rely on their services so much that the local economy would suffer.

He said: "The cabs in Thanet have always been almost public transport.

"Fares are low because we have kept them low, it's a deprived area and people rely on all of us to get around."

On the Hackney Taxi Fare Tables, Thanet's average fare of £5.40 was listed as 290th out of 361 councils across the country.

The fare is one of the cheapest in Kent, but the taxi firms say to keep business afloat they would have to significantly increase prices.

Cllr Alan Currie, of Cliftonville West Ward, said: "I do believe that the introduction of age limitations to hire vehicles is a necessary requirement in the business, however I am concerned that an area like Thanet is a low income area unlike Canterbury or Ashford for example.

"The draft policy does seem to expect drivers to upgrade to a new or nearly new car within a three year time frame and if this is the case then I would imagine many drivers, not just in Thanet, would find this very difficult financially."

The councillor added: "I would like to see at least a longer time frame allowed for drivers to implement these changes, especially with slightly older vehicles in very good condition and hopefully the policy can be looked at and amended to satisfy all concerns."

The companies collectively have around 400 licensed private hire drivers serving the area, and they claim to deliver an average of 35,000 jobs a week.

Thanet District Council said they are working alongside licence holders and their comments will be taken into consideration before the policy is finalised.

A spokesman from the council said: "We are currently consulting with license holders, both minicabs and taxis to understand their views on our proposed licensing policy.

"As a local authority we have a duty to try and improve the quality of life in Thanet for all our residents. The introduction of a maximum vehicle age policy is something we want to consider.

"This is to ensure that passengers are travelling in even safer, more comfortable vehicles and that we start to lay the foundations for helping the UK achieve lower carbon emissions.

"The proposal is that in the future we would not normally accept diesel cars that are more than five years old for licensing. There would be some flexibility around this and the maximum age for a diesel vehicle to be licenced would be seven years."


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:13 pm 
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Slight change in personnel, there.

Bit of an, er, motley crew, though, and even more motley with the introduction of the dog.

Presumably called Bouncer. (For younger viewers, Bouncer was a golden Labrador featured on Neighbours back in the 1980s :-o )

Quote:
Three rival taxi firms are working together to object new proposed rules which they say could "destroy" their business.

Yes, they do seem to 'work together' in Thanet :shock:

Quote:
Under the new proposed rules, some drivers would only have three years to replace their vehicles with new or like-new models.

Quote:
"The proposal is that in the future we would not normally accept diesel cars that are more than five years old for licensing. There would be some flexibility around this and the maximum age for a diesel vehicle to be licenced would be seven years."

Trade maybe making the new rule sound more onerous (first quote) than it actually is (second quote).

Who'd have expected that?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:08 pm 
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Quote:
"Drivers would find it impossible to replace their cars with new ones as often as the council are asking, we could easily lose a quarter or more of our cars.

Few months ago you was saying that customers were waiting up to 60 mins, as there weren't enough drivers due to the time it takes drivers to get licensed. Thus those currently licensed were filling their boots.

Now the world is going to end.

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