Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, Reading

Contact: Julie Quarmby - Committee Services  Email:  julie.quarmby@reading.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 185 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Licensing Applications Committee meetings held on 9 December 2020 and 26 May 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Licensing Applications Committee meetings held on 9 December 2020 and 26 May 2021 were confirmed as correct records and signed by the Chair.

3.

Unmet Demand Survey pdf icon PDF 277 KB

To allow members to consider if an Unmet Demand Survey should be carried out during the current Covid 19pandemic and whether it is appropriate to amend the current limiting policy approach to hackney carriagenumbers.

 

Minutes:

The Director for Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services submitted a report asking the Committee to consider whether an Unmet Demand Survey should be carried out during the current Covid 19 pandemic and whether it would be appropriate to amend the current limiting policy approach to hackney carriagenumbers.  A copy of an e-mail sent to both Reading taxi trades and a response from RTA was attached to the report at Appendix 1.

The report explained that a moratorium on the issue of new hackney carriage vehicle licences had been implemented in March 2009 and had been maintained ever since, following analysis of unmet demand surveys completed in 2012, 2015 and 2018, each of which confirmed there was no significant underlying unmet demand for hackney carriages inReading.  Officers were in the process of arranging a new survey in accordance with the Taxi requirements of Section 16 of the Transport Act 1985 and the Department for Transport and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing: Best Practice Guidance 2010 (Sections 45 to 51) when the Covid19 pandemic caused the country to go into three national lockdowns which had made it impossible to continue with the implementation of asurvey.

The report set out guidance that had been produced by the Department for Transport which stated:

Section 16 of the Transport Act 1985 does not specify the frequency of the unmet demand assessment, but the Department’s Best Practice Guidance issued in 2010 suggested this is conducted every three years.  Though the decision as to when an unmet demand survey is conducted remains that for a licensing authority, we are aware that we are in a very unusual situation at present; while this continues it would seem highly unlikely that there would be significant unmet demand for taxis.  We would expect unmet demand surveys to be conducted once travel levels return to more normal levels or if concerns are raised by the trade orpublic.”

If a survey was to be conducted in the current circumstances, it was highly unlikely the results would be a true reflection of the trade in Reading or of levels of demand for hackney carriagevehicles.  Accordingly, the report proposed that the survey be delayed until such time as a more normal level of usage wasapparent.

No public consultation had taken place, although comments had been requested from both the Reading Taxi Association and the Reading Cab Drivers Association. There had been no response from the Reading Cab Drivers Association.  The response from the Reading Taxi Association agreed to delay the Unmet Demand Survey by 12 months and confirmed that, at the moment, there were only an estimated 93 HCVs working the ranks out of the216 licensed HCVs, and that carrying out a survey now would be unfair on rental drivers.  Chris Avery, Reading Cab Drivers Association and Asif Rashid, Reading Taxi Association attended the meeting, addressed the Committee, and both confirmed to the Committee that they agreed the survey should be delayed until 2022.

Resolved –

(1)  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.