The Assistant Director of Improving Public Health submitted an exempt report in connection with the review of Combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence, Ref: 34/15, 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 accompanied by his wife, verified his name and address and confirmed that he had received a copy of the report.
The Principal Licensing Officer presented the report setting out the circumstances of the case in relation to a complaint received from a member of the public regarding the driver.
It was noted that the driver was first licensed with the Council in February 2008 and first appeared before Members in January 2009 in relation to a complaint regarding his behaviour. On that occasion Members allowed the driver to retain his licence but issued him with a warning.
The driver next appeared before Committee in November 2010 in relation to the offence detailed at 1) in the report. Members allowed him to retain his licence but warned him that any further such incidents would result in him returning to Committee for review of his licence.
The driver last appeared before Members in May 2013, following receipt of information from the Police Notifiable Occupations Scheme. He was permitted to retain his licence on that occasion.
The driver now appeared before Members following a complaint submitted by a member of the public alleging that the driver had overcharged her for a journey undertaken in a private hire vehicle being driven by the driver on 13 June 2015. A copy of the letter of complaint was attached at Appendix 1. The applicant was interviewed by a Licensing Enforcement Officer on 22 July 2015 and provided his version of events in relation to the incident. A copy was attached at Appendix 2. Licensing Officers had investigated the complaint with the drivers vehicle operator and Officers were very concerned that the driver had provided different versions of events to Licensing Officers and his vehicle operator.
When interviewed by the Senior Licensing Officer, the driver was informed that the vehicle operator had stated that the driver had not called in for an amended fare. The driver had responded that he had encountered previous problems with his operator in relation to information passed to him regarding fares.
The driver confirmed that the report was an accurate representation of the facts and was invited to address the Committee.
The driver addressed the Committee and provided his version of events in relation to the complaint and responded to questions from Members and the Principal Licensing Officer.
It was confirmed that there were no further questions and the driver, his wife, and officers of the Council, other than representatives of the Councils Legal Services and Members Office, withdrew whilst the Committee determined the review.
Subsequently all interested parties returned and the Chair announced the Committees decision.
ORDERED that consideration of the review of Combined Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Vehicle Driver Licence be deferred to the Licensing Committee scheduled for 2 November 2015 in order for Licensing Officers to make enquiries and seek clarification with the drivers operator in relation to the issues raised by the driver at the meeting, namely:-
How any additional charges for different waiting times or additional drop offs are relayed to drivers by the operator.
Obtain confirmation of the statement that the driver told the operator that he had charged £7.00 for the fare, which contradicted what he had told officers and the complainants statement that he had charged £12.00.