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..ROUND THE COUNCILS ABERDEEN:


RANK CHANGES CONSULTATION APPROVED


A consultation will be held into plans to change the site of taxi ranks in Aberdeen city centre. Measures put in place to improve safety for pedestrians, through the Spaces for People initiative, currently restrict vehicle access to some ranks. The Evening Express reports that proposals have been drawn up to create five new sites for taxis to pick up passen- gers instead. This would lead to the current Hadden Street and Back Wynd ranks being temporarily removed. New ranks would be set up on Exchange Street, Rosemount Viaduct, Exchequer Row, Union Row and Justice Mill Lane. The new locations were proposed by the city’s taxi working group and were identified as being the most appropriate sites. Several streets have been closed to vehicles under Covid-19 measures, which means taxis cannot legally access ranks such as the one on the Back Wynd. A council officer taking part in discussions at a council licensing board meeting on 19 January said: “It’s being brought forward that due to the Spaces for People pro- gramme in the city centre there’s been a number of temporary changes made to taxi ranks on the streets listed, this has been due to physical distancing after the original lockdown, and is still persisting at the moment. “The purpose of the report is to commence the process on a proper footing for the remainder of the time that the tempo- rary traffic management works are in place.”


HERTFORDSHIRE: NEW ONLINE TRAINING SCHEME IN PLACE


To protect staff, customers and the local community, Herts County Council is actively encouraging all hackney and pri- vate hire drivers licensed in the county, especially those working on school transport, to complete a new online free training scheme called Travel with Confidence. The training covers : • Infection Risk Management • Personal Hygiene • Vehicle cleanliness On completion of the course: • You will be given an accreditation mark • A course certificate including stickers for your vehicle • You can apply for funding to install a protective screen - screen is optional and there is limited budget for this Click the link to watch a short video about the course: www.travelwithconfidence.org.uk


FEBRUARY 2021


• The course is a couple of hours long, but can be completed in your own time as you can save the work and dip in and out of it


• You can also do the training via an APP on any smartphone To register for the course - please contact your own local taxi licensing authority.


EASTBOURNE: CONSULTATION ON RANGE OF CHANGES


Cabbies in Eastbourne could be set for a major shakeup as the town’s council agreed to consult on a range of sweeping changes. On Monday 18 January, Eastbourne Borough Coun- cil’s licensing committee agreed to go out to consultation on a number of proposed changes to the way taxis and PHVs operate within the town. The consultation, which is to run for eight weeks, seeks views on adding or amending 32 policies within the taxi licensing guidance. According to the Eastbourne Herald, perhaps the biggest change proposed would be a requirement for all taxis/PHVs to have council-approved CCTV systems installed by Octo- ber 2022; a proposal which saw concerns raised by several committee members. Among those to raise concerns was Cllr Candy Vaughn, who recommended the council takes steps to reduce the cost of such systems for cabbies. She said: “I’m worried that £500 is going to be a lot of money to put CCTV into their cabs. Is there any way we could join with other councils and buy the cameras en masse and pass the savings down to the drivers?” But officers said this would not be the case, as it was intend- ed for the systems to be provided by private contractors rather than the council itself. The committee also heard that a small percentage of cab- bies already had such systems in Eastbourne. Officers also confirmed that a small number of licences had been rescinded, but that a larger number of licence holders are not currently working due to the shortage of trade. Despite cost concerns the committee as a whole agreed for the matter to go out for consultation at least, so that views could be sought. Another controversial proposal was for drivers to be required to permanently fix signs to the side of their vehi- cles. This was also included within the consultation despite opposition from some committee members. Other proposed changes include new mandatory training on safeguarding and disability awareness, as well as a mandatory English proficiency test. It is also proposed that all newly registered hackney car- riages be required to be wheelchair accessible. Initially officers had recommended that the consultation run for six weeks, but it was decided to extend it to eight weeks. No date has yet been set for the beginning of the consultation.


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