Agenda item

Public Questions and Petitions

To receive any questions or petitions from members of the public



Ibrar Hussain attended the Committee and presented the following petition:


We the licensed drivers in Sheffield ask policy committee as part of the policy review of PH vehicle's to remove any operator door signage as mandatory conditions.

We further ask that the policy committee further take steps to make sure good practice of TFL is adopted as a good practice. 

Modern technology and use of Apps has now made unnecessary to have any such signs on any private vehicle’s it’s an unnecessary burden on driver now,

It’s the responsibility of the private hire operator to decide or enforce if they so wish to have their signage on PHV, it’s not the Council’s responsibility nor obligation to enforce PH operator signage on PH vehicle's.  Your decision could be very difficult to defend if challenged to enforce third party signage on driver's,

On 23rd November 2022, furthermore, look into other issues that affect PH vehicle's 

No Vehicle age limit, recent government consultation is heading towards this policy too, Emissions only policy if the vehicle passes the test, then it qualifies,

Only 1 test a year under ABC criteria rewarding good drivers looking after the vehicle, 

Tinted window's as factory fitted standard only and no CCTV mandatory but Voluntary only.


The Chair thanked Ibrar Hussain for the petition.



Arshad Mahmood attended the Committee and asked the following questions:


1.  Do I follow crime prevention police officer's advise to remove valuables and vehicle door signage from my vehicle overnight when I finish my shift
2. Do I follow the licensing condition to have permanent door signage that has a greater potential/ risk for my vehicle to be broken into and damaged?

I am sure that anyone in my position would agree and follow the crime prevention police officer's advice.



The Chair explained that the door signage would be discussed later on in the meeting.



Afzal attended the Committee and asked the following questions:


1.     What is the purpose/need for signage on PHV's? 


2.     Is this for public safety and if so, how exactly do the signs offer any safety to the public/customers? 


3.     Alternatively, are the signs for the benefit of council enforcement officers so that they can see which vehicles to target? 


4.     Finally, has the council actually carried out any public surveys which have determined that customers do require signs on PHV's? 




The Chair explained that substantial answers and evidence could be found in Appendix I of the agenda papers.


Chloe Wilks attended the Committee and asked the following questions:


Removing signage is taking the power out of the customers hands they will have less control of their own safety and security.

Scared, anxious, confused – some words that were used to describe how one of our members with a learning disability feels when they can’t find their taxi.


Taxis are an essential asset for vulnerable people to feel safe and it should be made as clear as possible to help everyone whatever their needs.


It is with all the above experiences and discussions in mind that I feel it essential to have clear signage for private hire vehicles and ask the committee to ensure that the policy is adopted and enforcement to display the specific logo of the operator with who the vehicle was booked is shown. Can the committee confirm this?




The Chair explained that the door signage would be discussed later on in the meeting and clarified that there is a proposal for door signage of specific operators to be made visible.



Nasar Raoof attended the Committee and asked questions surrounding:


1.     No permanent signage on vehicles,

2.     A4 sized signage.

3.     Magnetic signage.

4.     Clear, easy and simple to read signaage.

5.     Company logo being optional due to multiple platforms.

6.     Reducing crime.

7.     Stoning and damage to vehicles.




The Chair gave the following response:


The use of signage is for public safety. Information sought from Yorkshire Police states:


As a City Centre team we have not seen any such reporting or emerging threat regarding criminal damage towards PHV and as such I think the first question back to the GMB would be to provide incident numbers/investigation numbers etc etc.


There may also be the case of non-reporting of this crime type in which case clearly we will not have investigated due to being unaware.


I can only speak on behalf of the City Neighbourhood District, but this again is not something that has been raised at any meeting across the District I have attended as an issue or emerging threat.


Members of the public should rightly expect that licensees are appropriately trained and vetted in order to hold a licence. The safeguarding team do much work in helping to protect vulnerable customers and the Authority attend disability forums to provide updates and advice.



Paul Gosney attended the Committee and asked question surrounding:


Sheffield City Council & Operator signage has been recommended therefore I ask on behalf of the Private Hire trade in Sheffield that this remains with the primary focus being the safety of drivers & passengers.  



The Chair explained that the door signage would be discussed later on in the meeting and explained that Appendix I contained views of drivers.



Lee Ward attended the Committee and asked the following questions:


1.     The introduction of all newly licensed vehicles as od January 2027 must be Zero Emission Capable. This is in contradiction to the already agreed Clean Air Zone which has an exemption for Euro 6 Diesel engines for our trade. We request that this change to the policy and all associated sections including the exceptional vehicle criteria be deferred for consideration until the next policy review that will give data that can be considered from the 4 years that the CAZ will have been operative. 

2.     The current age of vehicles is 5 years for first license and is being proposed that it is lowered to 4 years which we have concerns as explained previously regarding the current financial climate. Our vehicles are tested by SCC’s own test centre to a very high standard even if the vehicle is brand new. We welcome the change to the policy regarding window tints. Can we confirm that glass fitted by manufacturers at the point of sale is now acceptable when a vehicle goes for its test as a new vehicle and as a renewal of its license please, because the wording is not very clear and seems to imply that factory fitted glass may only be used if the original glass has been damaged. Can we have confirmation that this will be voluntary and not mandatory?

3.     CCTV, we ask that clarification is sought that CCTV remains voluntary in Sheffield because this section is written to imply that it will be made mandatory.



The Chair explained that the Authority must take into account wider Council objectives, including the 10-point Plan for Climate Action – net zero by 2030. Working towards ZEC requirements for the private hire fleet will help to achieve this aim.


It was also explained that more details on this matter and viable options were explained in the report.

It was clarified that Members were going to consider an amendment in relation to lowering the age of the first license to 4 years.


It was stated that officers will hopefully be able to clarify on the matter of factory fitted glass when speaking on the report and that CCTV will remain voluntary within the current council policy but was stated that this could change in the future.   


Barry Calder attended the Committee and asked the following questions:


1.     I would like to ask for the policy to ensure that people can book Taxis and PHV by telephone. I am asking this as there are a lot of disabled and older people that are not able to use the internet.

2.     Can the policy contain a requirement that when disabled people make a phone booking they are treated with respect, and that the complaints procedure may be invoked if respect is not given? 

3.     Late night provision of Eurocabs. Can the policy ensure that a Eurocab is available to meet the last train of the evening at Midland Station?




The Chair explained that the Council cannot mandate operators to provide a telephone booking service; their business model is that of an app-based service.  However, the Authority is committed to improving provision for all and will work with disability groups and operators to try and help improve services.


A proposed condition of operators states that staff that take bookings and/or dispatch vehicles must be appropriately trained, including understanding different accessibility needs and requests.


Eurocabs are licensed as hackney carriage vehicles and therefore doesn’t fall under the remit of the private hire policy.



James Martin attended the Committee and asked the following questions:


1.     Can the committee ensure a clause is added to section 7 Acceptance of Bookings to ensure all operators take a stake in providing a booking service for every citizen of Sheffield? 

2.     Can the term ‘where possible’ stated in section (g) be made clearer and more robust or removed from the wording?




The Chair explained that Hackney Carriage vehicles, which make up the vast majority of wheelchair accessible vehicles in Sheffield, are operated by self-employed licensees and the Authority cannot mandate these licensees undertake work for private hire operators. It was stated that whilst this could not be legislated immediately that it could be looked at in the future alongside other issues surrounding the questions.



Ibrar Hussain attended the Committee and presented the following petition:


1.     What consideration was given to dft recent consultation and its comment vehicle age limits based on emissions policy only? 

2.     Do you agree by introducing emissions policy we will have more zero emission vehicles and in enhance more clean air, both taxi trade will benefit and the city? 

3.     Why you did not consider emissions only policy now with zero emissions vehicles given, No age limit with immediate effect? 

4.     Why have you not mentioned in your report anything Additional test centres & Vehicle testing criteria which myself and many other people responded too as part of the consultation and made reference to new way to introduce ABC criteria by reward drivers etc.




The Chair explained the DFT Best Practice Guidance is only guidance and does not intend to give a definitive statement of the law; any decisions made by a local authority remain a matter for that authority. Sheffield Licensing Authority has used vehicle age limits for a number of years, ensuring good quality vehicles are licensed and updated regularly.


Implementing an emissions policy may not result in an increase in the number of Zero Emission Vehicles; licensees may choose to purchase Euro 6 compliant diesel vehicles over hybrid and electric vehicles. 


The Licensing Service is hoping to undertake work on testing arrangements in 2023.