A report from the Executive Director (Operations) is attached
Applicant 19/2019 attended the meeting and was accompanied by a representative, Mr Haider.
The Chair made introductions and Janet Witkowski, Head of Legal Services explained the procedure and ensured that the Applicant, his representative and members of the Licensing and Safety Panel had all read the report and his written submissions.
The Licensing Unit Manager presented a report submitted by the Executive Director (Operations) regarding the revocation of a Private Hire Vehicle Driver’s Licence. The report, which was accepted by the Applicant, explained that the Licence Holder had held a private hire driver’s licence since 03/06/2016. On 27/01/2020 the Deputy Licensing Officer received an email from Uber to inform us that they had deactivated their partnership with the Licence Holder, due to a pattern of concerning reports regarding poor / dangerous driving. Details of the complaints was provided which showed three complaints on 28/12/2019, of swerving and breaking unnecessarily whilst trying to look at the road and his satnav, 30/12/19 of reversing up a dual carriageway and 15/01/20 of dangerous driving.As a result of these three complaints, Uber advised that they deactivated their partnership with the client on 16/01/20.
The Deputy Licensing Officer then received a further complaint that on 01/02/20 Licence Holders vehicle was in front of the complainant and had made as if it was going to turn and then pulled back out into traffic nearly causing a collision. It did this on three occasions before finally pulling into a side road.
The Licence Holder denied all of the complaints against him and explained through his representative, that the car used is a Nissan Leaf which has an E-break, so that when the accelerator is depressed automatically applies the breaks and this is why the applicant believes the customers has wrote that he was breaking excessively.
In defence of the second complaint, the Licence Holder stated that the complainant was wrong in that the road was not a dual carriageway but instead it was a single carriage way and there was no reasonable option other than to turn back onto the original road he entered. He further stated that the passenger did not know where they were going and caused the Licence Holder to change direction and he would never reverse on such a road.
In relation to the final complaint, the Licence Holder stated he did use signals and mirrors and attempted to turn back onto the road following the correct and safe procedure. He also questioned ow long it had taken to report the matter. In addition the Licence Holder stated he had been driving for over 15 years and that the ratings received from the jobs undertaken through Uber showed that 169 people out of 180 have rated the applicant as a 5 star driver. He also disputed the reason for leaving Uber stating it was his decisions. However the Licensing Unit Manger did confirm that Uber had directly indicated they terminated the arrangement.
The Panel carefully considered the report, the oral and written representations by the Licence Holder and his representative and after taking into account Section 61 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, resolved, unanimously, to suspend the licence for four months and request that the driver attend Driving Standards Course within 12 months.
The Panel noted that;
· the Licence Holder’s version of all the incidents differed from each of the 4 complainants.
· each of the allegations and version of events as stated by Uber and in the final complainant’s witness statement was accepted.
· the Licence Holder did have contradicting allegations regarding the termination of his Uber contract but that the position stated by Uber was accepted.
· each of the incidents alone were of a serious nature and dangerous to passengers, other road users and the Licence Holder himself.
· the allegations clearly demonstrated poor driving on a number of occasions that lead the Panel to have serious concerns as to the Licence Holders driving competency.