Adrian Weissenbruch (SEND and Passenger Assistant Transport Manager) will speak to an update on the current fulfilment of Passenger Transport Unit Contracts which is to follow.
The Chairman reported that he was aware that 200 more transport requests would be required from September 2022 and asked if there was something that could be done in house with Wiltshire Council drivers carrying out our contract work? Jason Salter reported that they were looking at a blend of different things to help with that including buying larger vehicles that could carry 8 passengers as that would release the capacity from smaller taxis. There were a large number of taxis that were currently only transporting only one person and they would look into this further to see if there was an opportunity to offer parents to transport their child which would release those taxis back into the market.
The Chairman asked if it was made clear to the parents/carers with guidance on what they would receive if they were to transport their children themselves. Jason Salter reported that they were clear on what they will pay in those situations and that hopefully it would not be forever and offered to share the guidance so that this could be passed on to the Committee members.
A Committee member expressed concern that if parents are able to transport their child to school that they should do so. Jason Salter reminded of the Council’s statutory duty to provide transport to school in certain circumstances.
The Chairman agreed that more work was to be done to get more drivers into the taxi trade and asked that the Passenger Transport team continue to work with the Taxi Licensing team to look at ways to make it easier for drivers to get started and look into the possibility of the school only licence. A Committee member suggested that this only be available to new drivers/licences so that this would not pull existing drivers over to convert to this type of licence.
The Chairman noted that these were challenging times for the two services and thanked Officers for the updates.
That the Committee note the update on the fulfilment of passenger transport contracts and the measures taken to make improvements in relation to this.