Venue: Large & Small Committee Room, King George V House, King George V Road, Amersham
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To approve the minutes of the Licensing Committee held on 15 May 2019.
The minutes of the Licensing Committees held on 4 April 2019 and 15 May 2019 were approved and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.Â
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
The Committee received a report which asked Members to consider making amendments to the current table of Hackney Carriage fares, following a request from the Trade.
The Chairman welcomed members of the Trade and their representatives and explained the procedure regarding public speaking at this Committee which was with the agreement of the Chairman.
In presenting his report, the Licensing Manager corrected a typographical error in paragraph 3.5 which should refer to paragraph 3.3 and not 2.3 and also referred Members to the supplementary Agenda pack and Appendix 5 being representations from the Trade Association. The Licensing Manager explained the background to the report, and clarified that the Committee was being asked to make a recommendation to the Head of Healthy Communities, who had delegated authority to make a final decision following a consultation period, should any changes be recommended.
Members were informed that the request from the Trade would result in an increase to the â€œflagâ€ rate of 50p, and a reduction in the distance and time before each incremental increase to the fare. Full details of the request and the two proposals submitted could be seen at Appendix 2 to the report.
Mr Umar Hayat and Councillor Qaser Chaudhry were then invited to address the Committee on behalf of the Trade. Mr Hayat gave a brief introduction, which summarised the reasons for the request to increase fares. Mr Hayat explained that there had not been a substantial increase in fares since 2008, with only a minor uplift being applied in 2012. In that time, the running costs for vehicles and the overall cost of living had increased substantially. It was therefore requested that the fares be increased to reflect this. Mr Hayat also stated that the Trade wished to request that a scheduled review of fares be included in the Councilâ€™s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire policy, so that fares could be reviewed every 2 years rather than on an ad hoc basis as at present.
Following the introductions, Members of the Committee were invited to ask questions of the Trade representatives.
In response to a question regarding the average journey distance, Mr Hayat informed Members that although journeys varied, and included journeys to Heathrow or more local trips, the average was around two miles. The proposals would mean an increase of around Â£1 on the cost of an average journey of two miles. The proposed reduction in yardage for the â€œflagâ€ rate would mean that there was a smaller increase in the fare for shorter journeys which were often taken by elderly customers who may have to pay 20p to 30p more on average.
A Member raised concerns that a large increase in fares could dissuade customers from using taxis, which would in turn affect the financial wellbeing of drivers and therefore how would the Trade be able to balance this. Mr Hayat stated that this issue had been acknowledged and discussed by the Trade, however the proposed increase had taken this into consideration and was necessary ... view the full minutes text for item 11.