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Agenda item

Review of the Hackney Carriage Vehicle Licence Limitation Policy - Intention to Undertake Unmet Demand Survey

Report of the Chief Licensing Officer



The Chief Licensing Officer submitted a report on proposals to review and approve the Council’s policy in relation to limiting the number of Hackney Carriage licences issued, and to approve the process to invite tenders for the completion of an unmet demand survey.




The report indicated that the last review of the policy had taken place in 2010, following a demand survey undertaken in 2009. The current limitation in terms of Hackney Carriage licences was 857, and at the present time, this limit had been reached.  The report set out the legal requirements in terms of the acceptance of applications for Hackney Carriage licences. 




HafeasRehman, Sheffield Taxi Trade Association (STTA), commented on the report, indicating that there was a need to maintain the current limit, and querying the financial implications in terms of the undertaking of a survey, particularly for Hackney Carriage drivers.




Mohammed Yasin, GMB, commented on the report, indicating that he would like to see more information on the effects of undertaking such a survey, on licenced vehicles, and welcomed the opportunity to comment on suggested criteria if it was determined that any further licences could be issued.




In response to the issues raised by the representatives of the trades, Steve Lonnia, Chief Licensing Officer, stated that the costs of undertaking a survey would be met from licence fees.  The company undertaking the survey would be selected through the Council’s tendering process and, although it was difficult to say at this stage, it was not likely that the cost of the survey would be as high as the one undertaken in 2009, as that was a very detailed survey, undertaken over a long period.  If the survey results indicated that there was a demand for further licences to be issued, there would have to be criteria in terms of the application process, which would be determined by the Committee, in consultation with the taxi trades.




In response to questions from Members of the Committee, it was stated that officers would draft a proposed specification which, subject to the approval of Members of the Committee, would be included in the tender documents sent to interested companies.  The overall cost of the survey would obviously depend on the nature and content of the agreed specification.  The previous survey had taken about nine months to complete and whilst it was envisaged that the new survey would not take as long as this, it had been proposed that it would take place from August to December in order to cover periods of varying demand.  Once the nature of the survey had been decided, the Licensing Service would work with colleagues in Procurement in connection with invitations to tender and selecting the successful tenderer.  It was agreed that it was more important to give consideration as to whether the survey was fit for purpose than how much it cost.  If Members requested, the survey could include looking at taxi ranks in the City, regarding both location and demand, and it was considered that this could be beneficial to the trades.  The last survey to be undertaken was so expensive for a number of reasons, including the timescale (9 months) and the fact that it involved considerable work in connection with future expansion in the City, detailed consultation with what were known as ‘non-user’ groups, such as hospitals and hotels, and detailed work in terms of demand in the City Centre and outlying areas, such as Chapeltown and Woodseats.  The survey would determine where the most need was by finding out where the taxi ranks were in the City, then by questioning the trades in terms of where the hotspots were in terms of demand, both in the City Centre and other areas.  The survey results would include details in terms of waiting times, and it would be up to the Committee to determine whether these were reasonable.




RESOLVED: That the Committee:-




(a)       notes the contents of the report now submitted, together with the responses to the questions raised; and




(b)       in the light of the information set out in the report now submitted, together with the responses to the questions raised;




(i)          authorises the Chief Licensing Officer to begin the tender process to identify a supplier to undertake the unmet demand survey on behalf of the Council;


(ii)        requests the Chief Licensing Officer to submit a report to a future meeting of this Committee, (A) setting out a suggested list of questions to be asked of prospective tenderers in terms of the tender specfication, together with details of the tender documents submitted in respect of the survey undertaken in 2009, and (B) setting out information in terms of the successful tenderer once they have been identified; and


(iii)       agrees that the Co-Chairs of the Committee be included in the tender award group.


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