Have your say on taxis

First published in Abingdon

RESIDENTS in South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse are being offered the chance to have a say on how taxi services are provided.

The two councils are consulting on a new joint policy on licensing rules for drivers and operators.

Proposals include encouraging more wheelchair accessible vehicles, a penalty point system for minor offences, spoken English tests for drivers and standardised taxi roof signs.

Ann Ducker, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Drivers and taxi companies provide a valuable service for many people. It is vital we continue to keep what we expect of drivers and taxi companies under review and up-to-date.

“The new proposals cover every aspect of what is required to continue to run a good quality, safe and professional taxi service.”

And Yvonne Constance, Vale of White Horse cabinet member for legal and democratic services, added: “When people see a taxi licensed by the council with a plate on the back they know the driver and vehicle are of an approved standard.

“I’d like to encourage residents and taxi drivers to give their views as this will help us meet local needs.”

Visit whitehorsedc.gov.uk/ haveyoursay or southoxon.gov.uk/haveyour say or call 01235 547614 or 01491 823093. Consultation ends on Friday, June 22.

Comments (3)

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9:06am Sat 7 Apr 12

Abberdon says...

Blimey, this is a can of worms isn't it?

How about taxi companies working 7 days a week, all year round, for a start?

And how about getting drivers to leave their seats to ring door bells, open car doors for the elderly, use cars that fit wheel chairs, walking frames and shopping in too?

How about getting them all to drive a real 'taxi'?
Blimey, this is a can of worms isn't it? How about taxi companies working 7 days a week, all year round, for a start? And how about getting drivers to leave their seats to ring door bells, open car doors for the elderly, use cars that fit wheel chairs, walking frames and shopping in too? How about getting them all to drive a real 'taxi'? Abberdon
  • Score: 0

12:21pm Sat 7 Apr 12

wizardofox2 says...

A can of worms indeed! ever tried to get a cab on a Tuesday evenining in Abingdon? never any on the rank and they wont come out if you ring them either. Why is Vargas on average 25% cheaper than the rest? even after midnight? Since doing away with the East St Helens rank, new ranks have popped up everywhere, in Broad St, Bath St and Queen St, however they're rarely used by taxis but because they're now classified as ranks they deny other motorists valuable parking slots. The newly created rank outside Barclays bank is a classic example, you can no longer use it as a quick stop for the cash point machine or to pick up a take away from the numerous businesses there and even with the extra length they now have, taxis still park all over the new pavement outside ASK.
The Vale have issued too many licences so much so that owners just cherry pick when they want to work, there is even one owner who lives in Weymouth and travels up to Abingdon to work friday/sat and sunday then goes back to sunny Weymouth on Monday! the entire system needs a complete overhaul.
A can of worms indeed! ever tried to get a cab on a Tuesday evenining in Abingdon? never any on the rank and they wont come out if you ring them either. Why is Vargas on average 25% cheaper than the rest? even after midnight? Since doing away with the East St Helens rank, new ranks have popped up everywhere, in Broad St, Bath St and Queen St, however they're rarely used by taxis but because they're now classified as ranks they deny other motorists valuable parking slots. The newly created rank outside Barclays bank is a classic example, you can no longer use it as a quick stop for the cash point machine or to pick up a take away from the numerous businesses there and even with the extra length they now have, taxis still park all over the new pavement outside ASK. The Vale have issued too many licences so much so that owners just cherry pick when they want to work, there is even one owner who lives in Weymouth and travels up to Abingdon to work friday/sat and sunday then goes back to sunny Weymouth on Monday! the entire system needs a complete overhaul. wizardofox2
  • Score: 0

2:45pm Sat 7 Apr 12

mickeybear says...

The Vale has some "previous" on the taxi front, and earned themselves the dubious distinction of getting slammed in a House of Lords committee report for having the virtually the highest fares and the lowest standards of any local authority. Interestingly, even the Hackney carriage owners' own professional body actually wrote in to denounce the example given by the Vale, and specifically highlighted the appalling record of aged taxis being allowed to remain on the road, despite their contribution to the air pollution problems that continue to blight the Town (which - as predicted - have got no better since the scheme was introduced, despite the lower emissions of most cars and other vehicles now on the roads), and complaining that the pricing structures operated by the Vale were distorting the market.

A big part of the problem was the excessive dominance of a particular fleet owner, who seemed able to convince councillors to go against common sense every time this matter came up for discussion.

My own suggestions would be as follows:
1. No owner allowed to hold more than 20% of licences issued;
2. Any vehicle over 5 years old to be required to pay a double fee;
3. No vehicle over 10 years old to be allowed to hold a licence;
4. Any vehicle found flouting the ban on sitting at the rank with an idling engine to have their licence removed after no more than two written warnings;
5. Full CRB checks on all drivers to be carried out. Any drivers found to have had convictions for offences of dishonesty or violence against the person to be deemed unfit to hold a licence;
6. Any driver who accumulates more than 9 penalty points to lose their licence;
7. Any driver found guilty of an offence carrying 6 or more penalty points to be required to inform the authority immediately, on pain of permanent exclusion from the register if found to have failed to do so within two weeks of the conviction (even if an appeal is lodged, when any ultimate decision on fitness should be stayed until the outcome of the appeal);
8. Any driver with a conviction for careless or dangerous driving to have their licence withdrawn immediately (if an appeal is lodged, the licence would be suspended until the outcome of the appeal);
9. A 50% reduction on the licence fee should be granted for vehicles with wheelchair access (this provision would not override the ban on vehicles over 10 years old);
10. The Licensing Committee should include three lay members, chosen by a publicly announced selection procedure. The votes of all three lay members against the grant of a licence should have suspensory effect, pending an appeal hearing.
The Vale has some "previous" on the taxi front, and earned themselves the dubious distinction of getting slammed in a House of Lords committee report for having the virtually the highest fares and the lowest standards of any local authority. Interestingly, even the Hackney carriage owners' own professional body actually wrote in to denounce the example given by the Vale, and specifically highlighted the appalling record of aged taxis being allowed to remain on the road, despite their contribution to the air pollution problems that continue to blight the Town (which - as predicted - have got no better since the scheme was introduced, despite the lower emissions of most cars and other vehicles now on the roads), and complaining that the pricing structures operated by the Vale were distorting the market. A big part of the problem was the excessive dominance of a particular fleet owner, who seemed able to convince councillors to go against common sense every time this matter came up for discussion. My own suggestions would be as follows: 1. No owner allowed to hold more than 20% of licences issued; 2. Any vehicle over 5 years old to be required to pay a double fee; 3. No vehicle over 10 years old to be allowed to hold a licence; 4. Any vehicle found flouting the ban on sitting at the rank with an idling engine to have their licence removed after no more than two written warnings; 5. Full CRB checks on all drivers to be carried out. Any drivers found to have had convictions for offences of dishonesty or violence against the person to be deemed unfit to hold a licence; 6. Any driver who accumulates more than 9 penalty points to lose their licence; 7. Any driver found guilty of an offence carrying 6 or more penalty points to be required to inform the authority immediately, on pain of permanent exclusion from the register if found to have failed to do so within two weeks of the conviction (even if an appeal is lodged, when any ultimate decision on fitness should be stayed until the outcome of the appeal); 8. Any driver with a conviction for careless or dangerous driving to have their licence withdrawn immediately (if an appeal is lodged, the licence would be suspended until the outcome of the appeal); 9. A 50% reduction on the licence fee should be granted for vehicles with wheelchair access (this provision would not override the ban on vehicles over 10 years old); 10. The Licensing Committee should include three lay members, chosen by a publicly announced selection procedure. The votes of all three lay members against the grant of a licence should have suspensory effect, pending an appeal hearing. mickeybear
  • Score: 0

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