1. Orkney Islands Council (the Council) is carrying out a public consultation to identify any unmet need in relation to wheelchair accessible vehicles licensed as taxis or private hire cars.
2. Taxis and private hire cars are licensed by the Council in terms of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 (the 1982 Act).
3. The Council’s licensing scheme applies to all taxis and private hire cars operating on the Mainland and linked South Isles of Burray and South Ronaldsay. Taxis and private hire cars operating in the North Isles of Orkney or in Hoy or Flotta do not require a licence from the Council.
4. There is a maximum number of 8 passengers permitted in a taxi or private hire car. Any vehicle capable of carrying more passengers is outwith the scope of the taxi and private hire car licensing scheme.
5. The main difference between a taxi and a private hire car is that taxis can be hailed by customers in the street and can also wait in taxi stances or ranks, but private hire cars can only carry out hires pre-arranged with their offices.
6. Anyone driving a taxi or private hire car must hold either a taxi or private hire car driver's licence.
7. In Orkney, there are currently:
8. The Council publishes information about licensing of taxis, private hire cars and their drivers on its website.
9. In terms of the Equality Act 2010, the Council, as the local licensing authority, has a legal obligation to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination against persons who have a protected characteristic. A protected characteristic includes a disability.
10. In addition, the Council has a power in appropriate circumstances to require operators of taxis and private hire cars to operate wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs). At present the Council does not require taxi or private hire car operators in Orkney to provide WAVs.
11. The Council recognises that other transport services for people with disabilities are operational in Orkney, for example, Dial-a-Bus.
12. The Council would like to hear from you with your views on whether any unmet demand exists in relation to the provision of WAVs by taxi or private hire car operators on the Orkney Mainland or linked South Isles of Burray and South Ronaldsay.
13. Responses must be received in writing by 24 May 2019 to the email or postal addresses shown at the end of this Notice. All responses must identify the name and address of the responder. Names and addresses of respondents will be published.
14. A report on the outcome of this consultation will be submitted to the Council’s Licensing Committee.
15. Thank you for taking the time to take part in this consultation and please do not hesitate to contact this office should you wish to discuss the matter further. You can use the email address shown in paragraph 16 below or phone 01856 873535 extensions 2232 or 2229.
16. The submission addresses referred to at paragraph 13 above are:
Head of Legal Services.
Corporate Services, Council Offices, Kirkwall, Orkney KW15 1NY.
11 April 2019.