The Executive is recommended to:
i. to pass a resolution that the provisions of Part II of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 (other than section 45) shall be adopted within the administrative area of North Yorkshire Council, with effect on the 1 April 2023, with the caveat of the decision only taking effect if the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy has been adopted for the 1 April 2023;
ii. Adopt the proposed Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policyas shown in Appendix 1, with or without amendments;
iii. if adopted, to authorise the approval of minor and inconsequential amendments to the policy from time-to-time by a senior officer to reflect legislative changes or correct any inaccuracies;
iv. if adopted to give approval for an Inclusive Service Plan (as outlined at paragraph 3.7) to be implemented within 18 months of adoption.
Considered – A report of the Corporate Director for Business & Environmental Services seeking adoption of the proposed Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy, taking into consideration the responses to the consultation and the recommendations from the Licensing Members Working Group at its meeting of 24 January 2023. The report also sought approval:
a) To remove the existing licensing hackney carriage zones to create a new single zone for the North Yorkshire Council;
b) For a senior officer to make minor and inconsequential amendments to the policy (if adopted) to reflect legislative changes or correct any inaccuracies;
c) To develop and maintain an Inclusive Service Plan (ISP) within 18 months of policy adoption.
County Councillor Derek Bastiman introduced the report and thanked the LGR Licensing Members Working Group and supporting officers for their work on the drafting the Policy under consideration. He drew specific attention to paragraph 4.7 of the report detailing the Council’s commitment to improving accessibility, and the proposal to develop and maintain an Inclusive Service Plan (ISP) within 18 months of the proposed Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy being adopted, ideally forming part of the Council’s overarching Local Transport Plan. He went on the welcome the contributions from members of the public who had made submission as part of the County Council public participation scheme.
It was noted four public submissions had been received. The first three submissions were from representatives of the Disability Forum. All three were unable to attend in person, and therefore their statements were read out on their behalf, as follows:
i) Mr Nick Moxon – Chairman of North Yorkshire Disability Forum
“The North Yorkshire Disability Forum agree that a mixed fleet of taxis is required for the first 5-year Policy but then to be reviewed. Please understand, anyone can use a wheelchair accessible taxi, but permanent wheelchair users cannot use a normal taxi. Quite simply, with almost 100 licensing authorities nationally having 100% of their taxis as being accessible, they provide clear evidence that it works.
I emphatically disagree with the Director’s recent statement to me that “high steps and large floor areas of traditional wheelchair accessible vehicles can constrain” the access of ambulant disabled people. This is factually incorrect and misleading as most wheelchair accessible cars (but not London Black cabs) are normal cars that are converted to take wheelchairs, prior to being supplied by Motability to wheelchair users. However, the statement is correct for the large Mercedes Vito type WAVs but these are not what most licensing authorities licence as taxis. We have information from one city with over 1250 accessible taxis where 9 different makes of wheelchair taxis are in use, in other words a mixed fleet of taxis. Ford Tourneo’s, Citroen Berlingo’s, Fiat Doblo’s and VW Caddy’s are typically found operating on taxi ranks within Yorkshire and across the country. Many families buy these models for everyday use because everyone, except a wheelchair user, can get in and out of them easily.