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Question 4 - we asked:

The City is currently conducting a consultation on taxi licensing. This Campaign strongly supports the proposal that complaints should be taken into account in determining if a driver is a fit and proper person to hold a taxi license. We prefer Option 1 in the consultation as this allows evidence of both offences and complaints to be taken together. We also suggest that complaints and offences should be considered over three and five year periods, as well as over one year (which is the proposal in the consultation), as this makes it far easier to set trigger levels that are likely to catch the (few) rogue taxi drivers without jeopardising the others. What is your view?

We asked this question in all 17 wards, namely: Abbey, Arbury, Castle, Cherry Hinton, Coleridge, Cottenham, East Chesterton, Girton, Histon & Impington, King's Hedges, Market, Newnham, Petersfield, Queen Edith's, Romsey, Trumpington, West Chesterton.

43 of the 69 candidates (62%) who were asked this question responded as below.

Those candidate(s) which were elected are highlighted.

(Cambridge Socialists)

What you propose sound sensible but i would like to have more evidence and advice from taxi drivers before I committed fully.

Timothy James HAIRE
(Conservative Party)

I also prefer option 1. Although we need to ensure any new rules are not overly bureaucratic and are fair to all parties.

Richard Graham JEFFS
(Conservative Party)

I am in favour of a stepped approach to the enforcement of taxi licence conditions. The proposed changes will help the City catch up to South Cambridgeshire District Council, which already takes account of drivers’ records over three years, or more for serious incidents, and considers offences and complaints together.

Steven James MASTIN
(Conservative Party)

This seems a sensible suggestion. It is worth investigating further.

(Conservative Party)

I too prefer Option 1

(Conservative Party)

The proposal seems reasonable.

(Conservative Party)

Option 1 seems like a sensible approach to catching taxi drivers who
are a liablity to other road users..

Alastair John SIMPSON
(Conservative Party)

Regarding the taxi consultation, there does need to be a clarity to deal with the small minority of rogue taxi drivers. Option 1 appears to be the clearer, more certain approach, with a better-defined method of objective measurement, which is essential for promoting understanding, adherence and enforcement. This said, I am pleased to have always experienced a friendly and efficient local taxi service.

Edward James Anthony TURNHAM
(Conservative Party)

I agree with your view. My long experience of cycling tells me that the most aggressive drivers on Cambridge's streets tend to be taxi drivers, although there are doubtless many considerate and safe taxi drivers as well. We should certainly avoid creating extra stress for the good drivers, while bringing in measures that will deter bad practice by the rogue minority.

(Green Party)

Taxis -- no opinion at present.

Ceri Barbara GALLOWAY
(Green Party)

I fully support Option 1 with respect of the consultation by Cambridge City council Taxi on their taxi licensing regulations
1. Allocation of penalty points must be backed by a record of complaints and offences and must be considered over 3-5 years.
2. I'd like to see offenders required to do additional training in respect of approaching and passing cyclists and stopping at junctions with reinforcement training after first penalty were a complaint by a cyclist takes place.
3. Those drivers with repeat offences should be penalised and removed from the register.

Brett Mark HUGHES
(Green Party)

I strongly support CCC position.

Stephen Roger LAWRENCE
(Green Party)

The 3- or 5-year period seems like reasonable response, assuming positive behaviour may count against negative.

Peter Harry POPE
(Green Party)

I support your views entirely.

Douglas Raymond DE LACEY

I have already submitted comments to the Campaign about both this and the earlier consultation. My own preference is Option 1 with a few more teeth.


I agree with your statement.

(Labour & Co-operative)

The regulation of taxi firms is an essential part of ensuring public safety. I understand the need for a system by which complaints made against taxi drivers can be recorded and taken seriously. Both proposals seem to differentiate between the severity of various offences which is important. However I would object to some parts of the Option 1 proposal which seems to allow unsubstantiated claims against taxi drivers to hold sway. I see this as problematic since it seems to leave the system open to abuse and undermines the need for a system in which both the taxi firms and the public can have confidence.

(Labour & Co-operative)

In my judgment, I believe it is a good idea to link complaints and offences together. I am also sympathetic with the view that a longer timeframe would be fairer. Reviewing a taxi driver’s record over a three or five year period would stop somebody unfortunate to have had a few unjustified complaints from being disadvantaged. It would also ensure that the taxi drivers who are not fit and proper are more likely to be identified and for the most appropriate action to be taken.

George OWERS
(Labour & Co-operative)

I am uncomfortable with allowing unsubstantiated complaints against taxi drivers being used in the points system. I will only support a taxi licensing regime in which any complaints have to be substantiated to count against a taxi driver, and there is recourse to appeal. Otherwise, nuisance complainants or rival taxi firms could abuse the system. As such, I am uncomfortable with the aspect of Option 1 of the consultation which allows unsubstantiated complaints to be counted.

Margery ABBOTT
(Labour Party)
The candidate did not enter a response for this question.
Sarah CAIN
(Labour Party)

I agree with the proposal for a Consultation on this - it's important for residents' safety, particularly for women, elderly or vulnerable people and children that they can depend on safe and secure taxi transport, good and safe driving and transparent licensing systems and clear enforcement of offences. At this time I'm not sure which option looks best: I'd want to see the full responses to the Consultation, particularly those from residents, police and representatives of local taxi providers, before coming to a decision.

(Labour Party)

I think the length of time that should be taken into account ought be considered with the seriousness of the complaint and offences if found guilty.

(Labour Party)
The candidate did not enter a response for this question.
(Labour Party)

I don't have strong views on this

(Labour Party)

I agree with the Cycling Campaign's view on the Taxi licensing consultation.
Also a need to monitor the driving behaviour of bus drivers.

(Labour Party)

Agree with complaints and offences being dealt with together- also with the wider timeframes, not only for the reasons set out above, but also to seek to prevent an applicant who may have been unlucky with unjustified complaints from being disadvantaged - longer timeframe should sort this out.

(Labour Party)

My major concern is that all road users observe the Highway Code.

Ashley WALSH
(Labour Party)

I favour Option 1 - a penalty point system according to the complaint or offence - because accumulation of points will encourage a driver to seek to avoid gathering sanctions, rather than committing offences on occasion and avoiding serious sanction. Because of this, I agree that complaints and offences ought to be considered over longer periods - perhaps three and five years - as it would help to encourage this culture whereby drivers behave responsibly.

(Liberal Democrat)

I will endorse without hesitation Option 1. The 3 and 5 year consideration as well as the annual one will make it, indeed, easier to ensure the safety of the community.

(Liberal Democrat)

My declared position is that taxi licensing should be used more effectively to address instances of poor taxi driving relative to other road users. I would prefer to hear the outcome of the current consultation and the contribution of others in it before coming to a final view on the method. The ideas that you suggest here seem quite good ones to me.

(Liberal Democrat)

I don't think I understand the difference in the working of the schemes well enough to prefer one over the other. On the taxi drivers' side I am worried about the inclusion in both proposals of "unsubstantiated complaints" (doesn't that mean disproved, or at least not proved?) and "offences where legal proceedings are not instigated" (how is this recorded?). On the cyclists' and pedestrians' side I would like too see a well-publicised method for registering complaints and providing substantiation, eg mobile phone pictures.

Richard William GYMER
(Liberal Democrat)

This is a matter for the City Council. I find the vast majority of other road users - taxis included - respect me when I am cycling.

Rhodri Mark JAMES
(Liberal Democrat)

While I'm not fond of penalty point systems, Option 1 seems to have enough flexibility and discretion built in to work. I'd stick with one year, though; while three year levels catch unwary rogues more easily, they are easier to keep under if you are wary and they cut in more slowly.

(Liberal Democrat)

I agree that the priority is to catch the rogues without jeopardising the others and obviously I want the correct measures to be introduced to achieve this. The purpose of the city council's consultation exercise is to identify what these correct measures are. I don't have a strong opinion about what I think would be the right thing to do, but I await the results of the consultation with interest.

(Liberal Democrat)

This is not a matter for South Cambridge District Council.

Neil Michael MCGOVERN
(Liberal Democrat)

I fully support the penalty points scheme (option 1). As a previous licensing committee member, I would agree that a wider time for complaints be presented to the committee.

(Liberal Democrat)

The City Council must maximise public safety by promoting proper professional standards for
taxi drivers so that passengers in taxis and other road users are properly protected. They
should carefully consider the results of the consultation and be aware that drivers with sound
standards may have lapses and drivers with poor standards can be retrained and re-examined.

Zoe Imogen O'CONNELL
(Liberal Democrat)

I am supportive of better regulation of poor behaviour by taxi drivers and look forward to seeing the results of the consultation before adopting a final position.

(Liberal Democrat)

I think it is key that a City Council consultation listens to all stakeholders before making a decision. I know from my previous time on the Council that the Campaign does this effectively.

To me the penalty points scheme looks clearer and simpler than the alternative, however there are other aspects to consider such as ensuring we are fair to all those involved.

(Liberal Democrat)

While the consultation is taking place it is not appropriate to make a formal comment.

Catherine Helen Lindsay SMART
(Liberal Democrat)

I would prefer not to comment in public on something that is being consulted on formally. I will wait to see what the consultation shows us, then make such decisions that are mine to make.

Amanda Joan TAYLOR
(Liberal Democrat)

It is very important that taxi drivers respect the rules of the road and do their jobs in a responsible, legal and safe manner. The Council is currently consulting on the best approach, and I look forward to seeing everyone's views.

(United People's Party)

I agree in principle that 'substantiated' complaints should be included in the assessment. I am concerned that 'unsubstantiated' complaints are included as these are raising a presumption of guilt when proven innocent. I would consider moves to limit the numbers of licensed cabs in the area as I have seen too many taxi-drivers unable to make a living in spite of working very long hours.

Camcycle is a non-partisan body. All candidates are given an equal opportunity to submit their views. Information published by Camcycle (Cambridge Cycling Campaign), The Bike Depot, 140 Cowley Road, Cambridge, CB4 0DL.