New private hire firm gets green light despite taxi objections

Deuce Private Hire Limited will be based in Glasgow's Somerset Place.

New private hire firm gets green light despite taxi objections iStock

A new Glasgow private hire firm has been given the green light to start operating after city councillors approved a three-year booking licence.

Deuce Private Hire Limited will be based in Somerset Place and operate a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week service taking bookings for Glasgow private hire drivers.

The company has been set up by Shabna Ahmed, who will work as the sole director.

She was asked about her experience by members of the city’s licensing forum, and said: “I have previous experience in telecoms and IT. I have dealt with a lot of taxi companies in the past.

“I have had experts advise me on the best method and equipment to use, how to handle complaints, find a suitable office and find experienced staff to make sure this business is successful for Glasgow and ourselves.”

Her bid had faced objections from Glasgow Taxis, who argued that they had concerns about over-provision, and over whether the new company would be taking bookings for drivers licensed by other local authorities.

Ben McEntaggart, a spokesman for Glasgow Taxis, said: “There are certain mandatory conditions that apply to this type of licence and those conditions include the need to keep a record of each booking per hire taken at the premises.

“It is unclear how the applicant would comply with this requirement given its operating model.

“The applicant must satisfy the local authority that they have appropriate systems in place and to ensure a satisfactory level of customer service.

“This would include a complaints procedure and an office for the public to contact or make a complaint. Again, it is not clear how the applicant would meet this criteria.

“The third basis of objection is the over provision policy which the licensing authority has in place and the acknowledgement that there is an over provision of these cars in the area.

“We are concerned that licence holders from other local authorities could be part of this booking office and take private hire bookings in contravention of the Civic Government Scotland Act.

“Our final objection is with regard to how the applicant registers themselves which is currently as a taxi operator and clearly there is an important distinction between taxi operators and private hire cars and operators.”

Legal representative for the company, Archie MacIver, confirmed that the applicant would abide by the rules and regulations surrounding the operation of a booking office.

The building has been subdivided into individual office spaces which the applicant operates out of. There will be a day-to-day manager running the site.

Mr McIver said: “In terms of the individual objections themselves – this facility will operate under the data master system.

“It is an electronic system which records all the necessary information and logs journeys that are taken, customer details and cars taken. If the journey details are needed, all the information is there.

“The office will be manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The appropriate contact numbers and email addresses are available to anyone booking.

“The objectors refer to the possible misuse of drivers operating from outside the Glasgow area. To be clear the system will only accommodate drivers operating under a Glasgow licence.

“Finally, the company is very well aware they are dealing with private hire cars and not taxis, they will not be marketing themselves as taxis.”

By local democracy reporter Catherine Hunter

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