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Drone Aerial Survey of The Quays Roof - 10 October until 12 October

The Southampton Hackney and Private Hire Association would like to share the following message from Balfour Beatty Living Places working in partnership with Southampton City Council with our members regarding a drone aerial survey of The Quays roof between 10th October and 12th October:

As part of our role to maintain Southampton City Council highways and structures we are carrying out a drone survey and scan of the roof of The Quays Swimming and Diving complex on 10 October and on 11 & 12 October subject to requirement.

We wanted to make you aware in the event that you get reports of the drone flying in the area. The drone will only be looking down at the roof of The Quays. It will require to make several passes and closer inspections of specific aspects of the building’s roof structure. The people carrying out the inspections are trained and the pilot of the drone has the appropriate licence, permits and insurance to carry out the drone flight in this location.

 

Posted in News by Admin on 08/10/2018

Southampton Clean Air Zones - Our Proposal

Please see below Southampton Hackney and Private Hire Associations' response to the Clean Air Consultation Period 21st June - 13th September 2018:

There are 16 chapters to the Clean Air Report which is approximately 569 pages in number.

According to the study a charging scheme is needed in Southampton for the most polluting buses, coaches, taxis and heavy goods vehicles that do not meet the engine emission standards of Euro 6 diesel or Euro 4 petrol.  

The shipping industry is mentioned with regards to ship to shore plug-in facilities which Associated British Ports (ABP) have investigated and are monitoring costs.  ABP have already published their Port Air Quality Strategy Plans and have introduced electric vehicles, charging points and many other improvements, more than a year ahead of the government's schedule and we as an association would commend them for taking the initiative.

The taxi and private hire trade in Southampton and Eastleigh were awarded from DEFRA (Department of Farming and Rural Affairs) a miserly grant of £258,000 towards an incentive for proprietors to purchase a full electric/hybrid/petrol vehicle with limitations placed within the grant.  This grant proposal is ill thought out and Southampton City Council have not included the many alternative fuels that are in the market place today, and although dispensation is going to be given to hackney carriage and private hire vehicles that have the facility to convey disabled persons in wheelchairs, we as a trade association have made it perfectly clear to the SCC's clean air team that full electric or hybrid/petrol wheelchair vehicles, for example the Nissan NV200 or the LEVC purpose built London style taxi are far too expensive to purchase, with no dealer network in Southampton to cope with warranty or servicing matters.  The ideal disabled accessible taxi would be a Euro 6 diesel model with Ad Blue, but no grant is available so the fleet of ageing disabled vehicles is deteriorating rapidly.

However the government have provided a grant of £2,677,835 to four Southampton bus companies which is part of the Clean Bus Technology Fund (CBTF) to retro-fit buses with technology which will reduce harmful emissions.  145 buses will be fitted with a selective Catalytic reduction device, although the Southampton bus companies are all privately owned.

The latest figures released on Southampton bus movements give 60 buses an hour from the lower area of Shirley to the top end.  120 buses an hour from the top of Above Bar Street, crossing Civic Centre junction (New Road) to continue to lower part of the City.  

At a meeting last year we attended with Councillor Hammond and Mr Guppy we remarked about the congestion and pollution caused by buses in our City and mentioned importantly the congestion at the bus stop outside West Quay shopping centre in Portland Terrace.  This bus stop is jutting out from the pavement and on some days the traffic is queued back to West Street - all of this causes traffic pollution which is not caused by HGV, taxis or private hire vehicles. (In front of this bus stop is an area that could be used for buses to pull in for passengers to use)

Various other bus stops are badly situated which cause severe tailbacks of traffic but the council seem to be oblivious of this fact and having raised this subject many times at council meetings, they do not want to make changes.  Four people in a taxi or private hire vehicle is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than using a bus. We transport school children (school contract jobs) persons to and from hospitals, disabled and elderly people and the night-time economy relies on our professional trade when buses are not available to transport people to their desired destinations?

Let us look at the clean air zone framework that is included in the Clean Air Report - This framework sets out the principles for the operation of clean air zones in England, it provides the expected approach to be taken by local authorities when implementing and operating a clean air zone.  

Paragraph 56, page 13, states local authorities should consider the range of stakeholders.  Local firms including taxi and private hire firms, freight and delivery companies, schools, charities and community groups.

Paragraph 58, page 13, states clean air zones should consider impact of traffic from the strategic road network and have discussions with Highways England.

Paragraph 74, page 16, states to develop park and ride schemes, seeking to harmonise strong, low emissions standards in taxi licences with neighbouring authorities.




Paragraph 77, page 15, states suitable infrastructure as part of evaluating alternative fuels, for example, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or liquefied and compressed natural gas (CNG)

Paragraph 80, page 17, states to evaluate potential solutions that improve the natural environment.  For example, planting of additional trees and vegetation to help reduce pollution.

Paragraph 84, page 18, states the level of support for alternative fuels will depend on the individual business case and might take into account elements such as opportunities for alternative emission reduction mechanisms, current fleet and how it is used.  Some alternative energy sources are likely to have the greatest benefit in adapting older more polluting vehicles.

Paragraph 86, page 18, states the action local authorities could consider if wishing to support alternative energy sources.  This could include consideration of fuels used in local authority fleets facilitating refuelling infrastructure through the planning process and gathering evidence of environmental benefits.

Paragraph 110, page 23, states local authorities may also wish to consider further requirements encouraging the use of alternative fuels such as LPG.

Paragraph 157, page 30, states residents who live in a clean air zone should be given an additional time to change their vehicles (3 years maybe appropriate)

Paragraph 160, page 30, states the Transport Act 2000 requires any excess revenue that may arise from charges above the costs of operation to be re-invested to facilitate local transport policies.  Such charges may not be used as a form of taxation to raise revenue.


All the above paragraphs are relevant for this council to accept alternative fuels.





Equality and Safety Impact Assessment

(as written in the Clean Air Report)

Page 5 Home to School Transport states - will seek to identify opportunities to exempt or relax requirements to support a suitable supply of wheelchair accessible vehicles.  Incentive schemes to be introduced to support the transition to compliant vehicles.

Page 21 Draft Clean Air Zone Outline Business Case, states that although still in draft form taxis (private hire and hackney carriages) undertake a large amount of mileage in this City.  Many taxi owners and operators will be classified as small firms, with many drivers simply owning and operating their vehicles on an individual basis. So the charging level on page 27 of £12.50 a day for taxis and private hire vehicles is absolutely ludicrous, whereas private cars, mini buses, motorcycles, mopeds and LGV's have no charge at all.  Southampton City Council are not going to charge motorists to enter a Clear Air Zone (CAZ) because they do not want to have a financial impact on the retail industry.

Air Pollution

Asthma UK, the leading asthma charity was formed in1927.  Two thirds of people who die from asthma attacks could have survived if they had received better basic care.  This includes getting a written asthma plan which explains how to manage their asthma on a day-to-day basis on what to do if their condition gets worse.  They should also have their asthma condition reviewed every year to ensure that they are on the correct medication and check they are taking them properly.

The National Review of Asthma Deaths (NRAD) Report, 19 recommendations were made which would help to reduce avoidable risk of deaths from asthma.  Only 1 recommendation has been implemented, that every person with asthma has an annual review, and only 70% of people receive this. We find this unacceptable.

3.6 million people across the UK are not getting routine care for their asthma condition so to put the blame on traffic emissions has been greatly exaggerated.

Particulate Matter, Tyre, Brake Dust etc,.

In a report published 26th July 2018 from DEFRA, they are now investigating that more needs to be done to address the impact tyres and brakes have on air quality and the environment.  Tiny particles are released from our brakes and tyres which contribute to air pollution. These tiny pieces of particulate matter, for example dust and soot that comes from general wear and tear includes clutch and road surface areas.  Areas that have high traffic density cause brakes to be used more. Some Southampton roads are congested due to the bad location of bus stops, the incessant traffic lights, these factors contribute to brakes being used more often.

Whilst motorways are kept moving at a different speed, this constitutes lower braking frequency and less particulate matter.  

None of these factors seem not to be mentioned in the Clean Air Report, which is misleading.

To summarise our association's response, it is as follows :-

  • Highways England, the government owned company charged with operating, maintaining and improving England's motorways and major A roads should be more diligent of badly polluted vehicles that are using these highways.  Through the camera network on motorways, these vehicles could be identified before they enter a clean air zone, namely Southampton.

  • The time scale that SCC have given to the hackney carriage and private hire fleet to bring significant changes is not going to be long enough.  On category A and B vehicles, nine and twelve years according to our licensing conditions, a vehicle that has to be renewed under the nine year period, should be allowed to run the full lifespan, the same with a vehicle that is allowed twelve years.

  • From this report you can see our annoyance at the money that has been given to bus companies and the priority that seems to be given to them by SCC.  We understand that buses are essential to the transport needs of any City but we do feel marginalised.

  • Alternative fuels - Councillor Hammond at the clean air meeting 19th June 2018 said he would consider our proposal but nothing has materialised as yet.  Alternative fuels apart from electric and hybrid should include hydrogen vehicles, CNG, LNG and Shell UK GTL fuel.

  • Our 'Park and Ride' suggestion should be followed up to cut the amount of traffic entering our City.

  • Badly situated clean air zones (CAZ's) will put some businesses in a bad financial situation and may not even improve air quality.

  • Charging schemes will add a financial burden to the taxi and private hire trade, in fact, we believe that no vehicles should be charged and SCC need to implement different ideas as we have suggested in our report.

  • The data that SCC has released on emissions is questionable.

  • Pot holes, bad road surfaces, road humps (which Michael Gove, Environmental Minister, would suggest local councils should remove) come under the remit of Balfour Beatty.  They should take responsibility on an environmental level.

  • Redbridge and Millbrook roundabout need urgent infrastructure investment which would cut pollution.  We believe from a recent highways meeting that Balfour Beatty will be attending to these matters, including also the Thornhill Park Road/Hinkler Road  bottleneck.



We look forward to SCC's reply to our report and although we support 'Clean Air', at what cost?



Ian Hall

Chairman of Southampton hackney and Private Hire Association

 

Posted in News by Admin on 13/09/2018

No Fair Increase for Southampton Taxi Trade Since 2014

Earlier this week the government announced the biggest pay rise in over 10 years for over a million public sector workers including teachers, police and the armed forces. But did you know that the Southampton taxi trade has not had a fare increase since 2014? 

When putting in our proposal for a fare increase, we have to follow an antiquated system whereby firstly a proposed fare increase is presented to the Southampton licensing councillors and we are then cross examined by councillors as to why we want a fare increase  - which is slightly bizarre! This system goes back to the 1847 Town and Police Clauses Act where fare increases were decided by commissionaires. In fact, the whole fare structure may even go back to the days of Oliver Cromwell in June 1654 who first licensed the taxi trade in London!

Unfortunately, we seem to be one of the only professions who have to go in front of a panel to decide our fate. Despite this, Southampton City Council still expect us to spend vast sums of money to purchase electric/hybrid vehicles to comply with the clean air policy but will not consider alternative fuel vehicles with lower costs. The whole system is ridiculous.

Posted in News by Admin on 27/07/2018

Southampton Hackney and Private Hire Association - Supporting the Southampton Taxi Trade

The Southampton Hackney Association have been supporting Hackney Carriage taxi drivers since 2001 and our recent change to include Private Hire drivers means we can provide information and help to even more self-employed drivers working in the city of Southampton. 

We regularly consult with Southampton City Council regarding issues which affect the taxi trade and are affiliated to the Associated British Ports enabling us to keep up to date with the latest news relevant to the industry - whether you are a Hackney Carriage or Private Hire taxi driver.

The website serves as a particularly useful resource for current and potential members - here you can read the latest news about our association and wider issues affecting the trade. We are proud to have had over 550 users of the website this month alone!

Southampton Hackney and Private Hire Association welcome new members - if you are interested in joining please come and visit the 'Join Us' page of our website here.

Posted in News by Admin on 05/07/2018

Commercial Vehicles could face £100 Charge to enter Southampton

Southampton City Council are proposing a charge of up to £100 for commercial vehicles  when entering the city in a bid to reduce pollution. Southampton are currently under pressure to improve air quality as soon as possible in order to avoid a large EU fine. The city must reduce its nitrogen dioxide level from 42 micrograms per cubic air meter to below 40 by 2020.

 

However there is strong opposition to the plan from some councillors along with port and taxi bosses due to the potential negative effect this could have on their businesses and the overall economy. Large charges may take trade away from the city, having a huge impact on the docks and even affect local jobs.

 

Councillors who are unhappy with the plans are asking: is it really necessary? Especially as pollution levels are already falling without such drastic measures. They also argue that this idea is being rushed through without proper consideration so are calling for a consultation to delay the plans.

 

Follow this link to read the full article:

Southern Daily Echo - Fury over plan to charge lorries up to £100 a day

Posted in News by Admin on 27/06/2018

Change of name from the Southampton Hackney Association to the Southampton Hackney and Private Hire Association

The Southampton Hackney Association (SHA) was established in 2001 and for the last 17 years, we have promoted and tried to provide for the benefit of the Southampton hackney carriage trade matters of a common interest, which includes consultation and the formulation of policies with Southampton City Council licensing department.  Sometimes we have achieved success other times it has been an uphill struggle.  But thanks to the different SHA committee members throughout the 17 years, we are of the opinion that we have done our very best!?

Times have changed and so has the trade.  Two of us including myself, are now also members of the GMB Taxi and Private Hire Branch.  Another member of our committee is also a member of the Southampton Unite Union.

On the 31st May 2018, we held a committee meeting and important decisions were made.  Do we cease operating as a taxi association and close down, or do we re-brand ourselves as the Southampton Hackney and Private Hire Association?  We have chosen to continue and to support our members as required, however we will not speak on behalf of companies.

Two out of our six committee members have now become private hire owners and drivers for a local company that has been trading for over sixty years.  One of them being myself (Ian Hall)  We shall continue consultation meetings with the council and other trade representatives.  The next meeting planned is June 6th 2018, and at this meeting one of the topics we are raising is alternative fuels for the Southampton trade, this is a matter of common interest that effects both hackney and private hire.  Any important matters concerning the docks or predominantly to do with the hackney carriage trade, we will now leave to our committee members who are taxi proprietors/drivers.

The informative blogs we post on the website will be about the trade in general and our association, whereas before we used to post just the Southampton hackney carriage trade. 

Some of you might feel aggrieved by our decision and should you be determined to take over the running of the association, you will have to attend meetings with SCC in your own time, cover the day to day financial running and generally be on call when needed.

We trust you agree with the committee's decision relating to the future of this association and unless challenged, we will slightly change some of the clauses in the constitution of the association.

 

Ian Hall on behalf of the Committee and the new Association.

Posted in News by Admin on 05/06/2018

Use a Hackney Carriage Taxi to Explore the City

With so much to do and see in Southampton - it can be hard to fit it all in! Whether you're visiting for the day, a week or are a local wanting to enjoy some of the great attractions the city has to offer - it's definitely worth some research and planning.

Southampton has a huge range of restaurants, bars and shops throughout the city with 150 shops in Westquay shopping centre alone! Other indoor activities include the relatively new ten pin bowling and cinema at Westquay or the Mayflower Theatre which attracts a range of West End shows.

If it is something more cultural you are after why not try the SeaCity Museum, Solent Sky Museum or Tudor House and Garden to learn about Southampton's history? You can even walk the old Town Walls.

On a nice day, the city offers a range of parks where you can sit back and relax in the sunshine as well as the 365 acre Southampton Common. Or if you fancy exploring on the sea -  find out about one of the many boat trips available from Ocean Village or Town Quay.

If you have a jam-packed schedule planned, save precious time by travelling between locations by taxi. It's easy to spot white Southampton Hackney taxis around the city - you can hail from the roadside or find us at one of the many taxi ranks.

Posted in News by Admin on 11/05/2018

Important Message from Southampton City Council Licensing Office

Please be aware we have received the following message from the Southampton City Council Licensing Office:

County Lines is the term used by various agencies to describe criminal drug activity where young and vulnerable people are being exploited by being used to transport and sell illegal drugs. The poster below provides information to drivers on what to look out for and how to report their suspicions anonymously.

If you would like a copy of the poster in order to pass on to other drivers or to print out to display somewhere drivers are likely to see them, you can find it here:

County Lines Posters for Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Staff

Posted in News by Admin on 20/04/2018

Law Commissions' Report on the Taxi and Private Hire Trade

It would appear that the amount of time and money spent on the 2014 Law Commissions' Report on the taxi and private hire trade and their recommendations to the government have been a complete waste of time.

We will now wait to hear from the Task and Finish Group which was set up by the then Minister for State, Mr John Hayes, in September 2017, to find out what the government plan to do.

We have all unfortunately seen the effect that Uber has had in the UK when it comes to cross-border hiring. Although this has been in operation for a long time, Uber have monopolised this thorny subject, whereby you could be licensed by one authority yet work in another licensing area.

Our hopes are that national standards for driving licences will be introduced and more power will be given to local licensing authorities.

Posted in News by Admin on 20/04/2018

Hail a White Hackney Carriage This Bank Holiday!

With two bank holiday on their way, many of us will be taking the opportunity for a night out or two! With such a range of restaurants, bars and leisure activities in Southampton city centre the Easter bank holiday weekend is the perfect time to enjoy yourself with friends and families.

When it comes to the end of the evening, why not get a taxi back? Unlike a private hire vehicle which you have to book, you can hail a white hackney carriage taxi from the roadside or pick one up from one of the city's taxi ranks, meaning there's no need to plan a certain time to leave or stand around waiting for a cab. Simply enjoy your night out and then head to your nearest taxi rank for a safe and easy ride home!

Take a look here for a list of taxi ranks locations in Southampton.

Posted in News by Admin on 29/03/2018

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