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News Report Page 7 of 46
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Council signposts passengers on how to avoid plying for hire pitfall

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport Cllr James Noakes shows off the new signs with Alpha Operations Manager Liam Sweeney.

WANT to know how to make your journey as safe as possible? Then just follow the signs.  Safety conscious Licensing Officers along with Liverpool City Council have introduced a new tool in the continuing challenge to make the public aware of the pitfalls of plying for hire.

It's a magnetic sign that is clearly visible on the side of Private Hire cars urging the public to always pre-book their journeys.

The term plying for hire refers to the practice of Private Hire drivers picking up passengers on the street without the journey being booked in advance. Plying for hire is illegal and anyone who gets into a Private Hire vehicle without it being pre-booked will not be insured for the journey.

Over the past year the City Council's licensing team has been involved in an ongoing operation to ensure Private Hire drivers are doing their bit not to pick up fares on the street.

Officers have been out posing as passengers to see if drivers will pick them up without an advance booking. And where they have found evidence of wrongdoing, the team has taken tough action.

The Liverpool purple magnetic stickers that are currently being sent to every Private Hire driver within the City.

In 1 recent example from June a Private Hire driver, from Liverpool, was ordered to pay nearly ₤1,000 in fines and costs, given 6 penalty points and subsequently disqualified from driving after being caught plying for hire. Whilst in the same month a Knowsley driver was ordered to pay ₤712 and given 8 penalty points after being found plying for hire in the City. The total number of drivers prosecuted for plying for hire in the past 12 months now stands at 27.

Now the team has turned its attention to the passengers with an awareness raising campaign that sends the simple message:- "No booking, No insurance, No journey."

The message will be displayed on colourful Liverpool purple magnetic stickers that are currently being sent to every Private Hire driver within the City.

The stickers, which feature prominently in the cars, also include details of how passengers can contact the Licensing Team to register a complaint or make a comment.

The move is being back by many of the City's Private Hire operators, including 1 of Liverpool's biggest firms, Alpha.

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport Cllr James Noakes shows off the new signs with Alpha Operations Manager Liam Sweeney.

Alpha operations manager Liam Sweeney, said:- "We're really pleased to support this Council initiative. All our drivers are aware that they cannot pick people up off the street unless the journey has been booked in advance, but the public has a part to play in this as well. It can sometimes be awkward for our drivers if they have to refuse someone who approaches them on the street so these signs will help to spell out to everyone what we can and cannot do."

Liverpool City Council's Cabinet Member for Transport, Cllr James Noakes, said:- "When you take a Private Hire journey that isn't pre-booked, you are not insured for the journey. If there is an accident and you are injured you may not be covered. Also, there will be no formal record of the journey, making it difficult for the Police or the Council to trace. We are fortunate in Liverpool that the vast majority of Private Hire drivers play by the rules. For those who do not, we have shown that we will take action. Members of the public who use Private Hire cars also have a responsibility to make sure they have booked the journey in advance. Our new signs get this message across in a simple and effective way. We are grateful that so many of the City's Private Hire drivers will be using them."

For more information about licensing issues in Liverpool, visit the Council's website and search for 'licensing.'

Memorial and garden to be unveiled to commemorate loss of Liverpool crew on the MV Derbyshire

AT a special service that is due to take place at 11am, on Saturday, 15 September 2018, a memorial will be unveiled to commemorate the 44 lives lost on the MV Derbyshire, when it sank in the South China Seas, on 9 September 1980. The Derbyshire was a Liverpool ship, crewed by Liverpool seafarers, and owned by Bibby Line. She was an oil/bulk/ore (OBO) carrier and remains the biggest British registered merchant ship ever to have been lost at sea.

There was initially no formal investigation into the sinking, but following the loss of other ships of similar design a formal investigation reported in 1989 found that the Derbyshire had been overwhelmed by the weather. After the wreck of the Derbyshire was found in 1994, a further UK/EU funded survey concluded that the crew had been at fault and had flooded the ship by leaving a cargo hatch unsecured. Finally a new investigation was announced in 1998 by the Rt Hon John Prescott, who was the UK's Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions. After a 54 day enquiry in 2000 it concluded that the crew were not to blame, but that there were a number of design faults, which the Derbyshire shared with similar ships. 22 recommendations were made to improve ship safety.

The campaign to discover the fate of the Derbyshire was led by the Derbyshire Family Association, who have also raised funds for the memorial sculpture. The sculpture was designed by Liverpool sculptor Tony Evans.

The project to create a memorial garden around the sculpture is the result of a partnership between Liverpool Parish Church and Liverpool City Council. The Garden will be opened by Lord Prescott of Hull and dedicated by the Rt Revd Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool. The sculpture will be unveiled by Paul Lambert MBE, of the Derbyshire Family Association.

Liverpool Parish Church has maintained a strong relationship with the families of the crew, including the presentation of our maritime memorial book. Until recently there was an annual service to commemorate the Derbyshire. As the Seafarers' Church, it seems most fitting that a permanent memorial for this significant tragedy be sited within the grounds.

Lord Prescott of Kingston upon Hull said:- "The loss of the MV Derbyshire and her crew caused great grief to the relatives and the community. The remarkable 20 year campaign by the Derbyshire Family Association for the 'real' truth is commemorated in this wonderful Memorial Garden and its sculpture."

The Revd Dr Crispin Pailing, Rector of Liverpool, said:- "The loss of the MV Derbyshire has had a profound effect on maritime shipping across the world, but for the last 38 years we have supported the families, where the effect of the sinking made a tragic impact on households across Liverpool. The sculpture is a fitting tribute to the men and women lost on that day."

Paul Lambert MBE of the Derbyshire Family Association said:- "The MV Derbyshire Memorial will have the names of the 42 Crew and the 2 Wives whose lives were lost on the 9 September 1980 engraved on the Memorial. This will give the families peace of mind in the knowledge that their loved ones will never be forgotten. It will also give the families a special place to visit. This was made possible by the dedication, commitment and the hard work of Dave Ramwell, Peter Mcgrath and Geof Green. A promise made to the families has now been kept. The campaign to ensure that all Merchant Ships must be built to the highest standards and must be able to withstand the type of weather they will encounter whilst at sea must never stop. The fight to protect seafarers' lives must continue no matter how hard it is."

More information on the sinking of the MV Derbyshire you can visit the Liverpool Museum website.

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