REVIEW - COMBINED HACKNEY CARRIAGE AND PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLE DRIVER LICENCE: REF NO. 14/12
The Assistant Director of Community Protection submitted an exempt report in connection with the review of Combined Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 14/12, where circumstances had arisen which required special consideration by the Committee.
The Chair introduced those present and outlined the procedure to be followed. The driver, who was in attendance at the meeting verified his name and address and confirmed that he had received a copy of the report.
A witness statement taken from the complainant was attached at Appendix 1 to the report and a witness statement submitted by the complainants mother was attached at Appendix 2. A copy of the drivers statement in relation to the incident was attached at Appendix 3.
The complainant, accompanied by her mother, was in attendance at the meeting and both confirmed the contents of their respective statements.
The Principal Licensing Officer presented the report in relation to a complaint submitted to the Licensing Section regarding the drivers alleged behaviour on 27 December 2011. The complainant, who was registered blind and required the assistance of a trained guide dog, and her mother, alleged that the driver was unwilling to carry them as passengers in his vehicle as he did not have a dog guard fitted to his vehicle.
The driver was interviewed by the Senior Licensing Officer on 10 April 2012 when he confirmed that there were no outstanding matters of which the Council was unaware and offered an explanation in relation to the incident on 27 December 2011. The driver confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts.
The driver was invited to provide his version of events in relation to the incident and answered questions from Members of the Committee and the Principal Licensing Officer.
Both witnesses were invited to provide their version of events in relation to the incident and answered questions from Members of the Committee and the Principal Licensing Officer.
All parties were afforded the opportunity to respond and sum up and to answer further questions from Members of the Committee.
It was confirmed that there were no further questions and all interested parties and officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Councils Legal Services and Members Office, withdrew whilst the Committee determined the application.
Subsequently all interested parties returned and the Chair announced the Committees decision.
ORDERED that Combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref 14/12, be suspended for a period of two weeks, for the following reasons:-
1. The Committee believed that the driver deliberately refused to allow the complainant to travel in his vehicle, knowing that she had an assistance dog.
2. In accordance with Section 168 of the Equality Act 2010, a taxi must allow an assistance dog to travel with a disabled person and to remain with that person.
3. The Committee considered that the driver must ensure he treated all passengers with respect and to assist vulnerable persons, and that he had not done so in this case.
The driver was reminded of his right of appeal to the Magistrates Court within 21 days from the date of the decision.