Council probe after woman claims taxi driver tried to defecate in Blackburn alleyway

BLACKBURN with Darwen Council has launched an investigation after a woman claimed a taxi driver attempted to defecate in an alleyway outside her home.

Erica McHugh, of Wellington Road, Mill Hill, said she was ‘disgusted’ after witnessing a male driver leave his car and remove his trousers before squatting down in view of her living room window.

The firm which Miss McHugh claimed the driver worked for said it had reviewed its records and found there was no case to answer.

Miss McHugh, 40, said she was watching television with her boyfriend Gary Round, 40, when they noticed a man loitering outside at around 1.40am on Monday.

She said: “We could hear the car’s engine running and see the lights. I got up to look because it was quite late and he was pacing up and down the street as if he was on the phone.

“Across from the house there is a ginnel and next thing he pulled his pants down and squatted down. I banged on the window at least 10 times to try to get his attention but he just ignored me.

“Eventually my boyfriend ran out of the house and shouted at him while I rang the taxi company.”

The couple said they could not take note of the car’s registration plate because it was too dark.

Miss McHugh added: “It’s not the sort of thing you expect to see outside your front door. It was disgusting. I’m just grateful he didn’t have time to follow through with it. I’ve complained to the council and they said they would be back in touch.

“I rang up the firm as it was happening and they just laughed at me. When I rang back again, he said the driver had been spoken to, but that isn’t good enough. They didn’t take me seriously”.

The complaints manager at the company in question said she had found no evidence that any of its drivers were in the area at the time Miss McHugh claims the incident happened.

She said: “Our drivers deny all knowledge of this. They are very experienced and I believe them. We run a very professional ship here and there is no evidence that one of our taxis was involved at all. There are dozens of drivers in Blackburn with Darwen.

“I have spoken to the phone operator who took the call and he thought it was a hoax call. He did laugh but there was no malice intended and he has apologised.”

A spokesman for the council’s licensing department said: “I can confirm we have received a complaint and we will investigate before we can comment any further.”

source: http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/

Minicab driver waved sex toy at undercover police woman

 

Jamil Iqbal

A minicab driver who produced a sex toy and waved it towards an undercover police officer posing as a passenger has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Jamil Iqbal (41), of Humphrey Street, Brierfield, was jailed for 16 months, suspended for two years, after admitting attempted sexual assault at Burnley Crown Court.

The father-of-six, who has since surrendered his taxi licence and is now working as a part-time takeaway delivery driver, was also made the subject of a two-year supervision order and a 10-year sexual offences prevention order.

Mr Mark Stuart (prosecuting) said police had deployed undercover officers in relation to information received and one of these, named only as Nicky, called Victor’s Taxis in Brierfield from the Oaks Hotel in the early hours of December 7th last year.

Iqbal arrived in a car bearing the logo of another firm. but told Nicky he was from Victor’s.

He began asking her deeply personal questions and the pair exchanged mobile telephone numbers.

Nine days later, Nicky called Iqbal again from a restaurant in Cliviger and asked for a “two drop” taxi for herself and a colleague, Sarah.

Iqbal turned up, this time in an unmarked taxi, and picked the officers up, dropping Nicky off in Brierfield and then setting off towards Barrowford with Sarah.

He again asked the officer the same personal questions, unsuccessfully tried to get her into the front seat with him and then produced a sex toy which he waved towards her.

After he dropped her off, officers in support stopped Iqbal and arrested him. In interview, he suggested that it was as much the women who had instigated talk about sex, but declined to comment further when told they were undercover officers.

Mr Aftab Anwar (defending) said Iqbal had pleaded guilty to the offence at the first opportunity and asked the court to give him credit for that.

“The pre-sentence report clearly demonstrates he is deeply remorseful and knows he has done wrong.

“He had been a taxi driver for 12 years and has worked in factories where there were women workers and nothing like this has happened before,” he said.

“He has already been punished by losing his job and I would ask that any prison sentence is suspended.”

Judge Beverley Lunt, in passing sentence, said: “Women in particular trust taxi drivers and are entitled to feel safe when they get in a taxi.

“These undercover officers may have saved some innocent victim from being subject to a serious sexual assault or an extremely unpleasant incident.

“There is no explanation offered as to why you acted in the way you did and while the offence is serious, I can suspend an immediate custodial sentence,”

Iqbal was also banned from holding any kind of public service vehicle licence in the future.

source: http://www.pendletoday.co.uk/

Southampton taxi bosses are calling for more to be done to keep drivers safe after two were attacked within 48 hours

TAXI drivers in Hampshire have been urged to be vigilant after two drivers were allegedly attacked within 48 hours of each other.

In the first incident a driver was reported to have been knocked unconscious in a late-night attack, while two days later a man was allegedly stabbed outside Southampton Central Railway Station.

Now, the head of the Southampton Hackney Association wants more focus on the safety of drivers in the city.

Chairman Ian Hall argued that not enough attention is paid to the difficulties taxi drivers face.

He has worked in the trade for 33 years and vividly remembers when a taxi driver in Southampton was murdered in 1986.

He said: “What concerns me, which I think concerns a lot of drivers, is that in the last 22 years there have been 65 drivers murdered in this country. It’s a particularly dangerous job at night.

“The majority of customers are absolutely fine and we do a good job at getting people home safely.

“It’s all sorts of different people we are picking up and anyone that’s getting into the car could be going through a marriage break-up or having a hard time at work, but that doesn’t give them the right to hit people.

“It can be a bit of a volatile job but this is a good city to live and work in.

“Drivers need to be a bit careful but they are anyway.”

In relation to the incident near the railway station, Nicholas Jeffrey, 27, of no fixed address, appeared in court facing charges of wounding with intent and possessing a knife in a public place.

Police investigating the Swaythling incident confirmed that they had identified a man they wanted to speak after a taxi driver was found unconscious by a colleague.

The 28-year-old victim was assaulted and left unconscious at the junction of Mansbridge Road and Howard Close.

He was found by a fellow taxi driver and taken to Southampton General Hospital, but was not seriously injured.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101.

source: http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/

Mansfield man attacked taxi driver after refusing to pay soiling charge

A Mansfield man who vandalised a taxi and attacked its driver after refusing to pay a clean up charge when he was sick on the back seat has escaped a jail sentence.

Michael Francis Gallen, 49 of Portland Street, was found guilty of assault by beating and causing criminal damage in the incident on 5th January.

He appeared at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday for sentencing following his trial in August.

The court was told Gallen (49), had been among four people picked up by the ABC taxi at 1.45am at the Sunnydale pub at Mansfield Woodhouse.

Gallen had sat behind the front passenger seat and as the taxi began its journey he had vomited in the rear.

The taxi driver had stopped and told him he would be charged for soiling the vehicle.

Father of two Gallen who was the worse for drink, swore at the driver and said he was not going to pay, despite his fellow passengers apologising for his behaviour.

Gallen had then opened the rear taxi door and had taken hold of the roof handle, pulling it off.

He had taken money out of his pockets, repeating that he was not going to pay anything.

The driver then sensed his door being opened and the defendant he only knew at the time as ‘Mick’, punched him several times in the head and broke the taxi’s wiper stalk.

Gallen who initially denied the offence, said he could remember nothing about the incident.

He was sentenced to a 12 months Community Penalty with 100 hours unpaid work, ordered to pay £50 compensation to the taxi firm and £125 to the driver, with £620 costs and a victim surcharge.

The chairman of the Magistrates told him he had been lucky not to have been jailed.

source: http://www.chad.co.uk/news/

 

Taxi driver’s £1,000 bill after losing mobile phone appeal

 

Jason Barnes

A taxi driver has been left with a £1,000 bill after challenging a decision to have his licence suspended for driving while on his mobile phone.

Jason Anthony Barnes, 43, of Kirkbampton, near Carlisle, was seen by a member of the public on November 25 last year, driving through Carlisle city centre while on his phone.

The man complained to Carlisle City Council, telling them Mr Barnes had turned right from Harrington Street into Victoria Place and had failed to see him while he was turning opposite.

He claimed the two vehicles would have collided had he not taken evasive action and that Mr Barnes had not seen him because he was on the phone at the time.

It was alleged that Mr Barnes, who has held a taxi licence since 2002, then continued to use his mobile phone while driving along Georgian Way, Hardwicke Circus and onto Castle Way.

Initially he denied being in the areas stated at the time of the incident, but after the city council licensing officer was informed by the owner of the taxi company that Mr Barnes had been in the area, he recalled doing a drop off at Trinity School.

The taxi driver had his licence suspended at a council regulatory panel meeting on February 12, a decision Mr Barnes appealed.

At the meeting the complainant told the panel he had seen Mr Barnes close up and was holding a mobile phone to his left ear.

He then told the panel he would “not have been able to live with himself” if he had not reported what he had seen.

Mr Barnes’ legal representative said that he was not on his mobile phone but rubbing his head due to suffering a brain injury which left him with two holes in the left side of his head.

His appeal at North Cumbria Magistrate’s Court on May 14 was dismissed and a further appeal at Carlisle Crown Court last Thursday was also dismissed by a judge.

It means the decision to suspend his license for two months was upheld and he will also have to pay the £1,000 in costs to the city council.

Mr Barnes will have to sit and pass a Driving Standards Agency taxi driving test within 13 weeks, and must submit a report from a neurologist consultant to confirm he is fit to drive. The licensing panel also heard about a previous complaint of a similar nature but they had not followed up because the complainant had not taken the report any further.

In the report of the meeting, the panel said “they accepted fully the evidence given by the witness, that Mr Barnes was using his mobile phone whilst driving, and did not find Mr Barnes a credible witness”.

The panel “felt the matter was serious and Mr Barnes had a history of driving offences”.

Mr Barnes was unavailable for comment

source: http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/

Apr 23

National Taxi Association AGM & Conference 2014

The Annual General Meeting and Conference in 2014 will take place at the Brittannia Country House Hotel, Palatine Road, Didsbury, Manchester.

The format will be as follows;

Monday 27th October 2014

09:00 to 12:30; NTA Directors Meeting

14:00 to 17:00; Annual General Meeting

19:30hrs; NTA Chairman’s Dinner

Tuesday 28th October 2014

10:00 to 15:30 Conference

 

 

 23153493

 

Booking form: Nta-2014-Conf-booking-form

 

Aug 29

Council probe after woman claims taxi driver tried to defecate in Blackburn alleyway

BLACKBURN with Darwen Council has launched an investigation after a woman claimed a taxi driver attempted to defecate in an alleyway outside her home.

Erica McHugh, of Wellington Road, Mill Hill, said she was ‘disgusted’ after witnessing a male driver leave his car and remove his trousers before squatting down in view of her living room window.

The firm which Miss McHugh claimed the driver worked for said it had reviewed its records and found there was no case to answer.

Miss McHugh, 40, said she was watching television with her boyfriend Gary Round, 40, when they noticed a man loitering outside at around 1.40am on Monday.

She said: “We could hear the car’s engine running and see the lights. I got up to look because it was quite late and he was pacing up and down the street as if he was on the phone.

“Across from the house there is a ginnel and next thing he pulled his pants down and squatted down. I banged on the window at least 10 times to try to get his attention but he just ignored me.

“Eventually my boyfriend ran out of the house and shouted at him while I rang the taxi company.”

The couple said they could not take note of the car’s registration plate because it was too dark.

Miss McHugh added: “It’s not the sort of thing you expect to see outside your front door. It was disgusting. I’m just grateful he didn’t have time to follow through with it. I’ve complained to the council and they said they would be back in touch.

“I rang up the firm as it was happening and they just laughed at me. When I rang back again, he said the driver had been spoken to, but that isn’t good enough. They didn’t take me seriously”.

The complaints manager at the company in question said she had found no evidence that any of its drivers were in the area at the time Miss McHugh claims the incident happened.

She said: “Our drivers deny all knowledge of this. They are very experienced and I believe them. We run a very professional ship here and there is no evidence that one of our taxis was involved at all. There are dozens of drivers in Blackburn with Darwen.

“I have spoken to the phone operator who took the call and he thought it was a hoax call. He did laugh but there was no malice intended and he has apologised.”

A spokesman for the council’s licensing department said: “I can confirm we have received a complaint and we will investigate before we can comment any further.”

source: http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/

Aug 29

Minicab driver waved sex toy at undercover police woman

 

Jamil Iqbal

A minicab driver who produced a sex toy and waved it towards an undercover police officer posing as a passenger has been given a suspended prison sentence.

Jamil Iqbal (41), of Humphrey Street, Brierfield, was jailed for 16 months, suspended for two years, after admitting attempted sexual assault at Burnley Crown Court.

The father-of-six, who has since surrendered his taxi licence and is now working as a part-time takeaway delivery driver, was also made the subject of a two-year supervision order and a 10-year sexual offences prevention order.

Mr Mark Stuart (prosecuting) said police had deployed undercover officers in relation to information received and one of these, named only as Nicky, called Victor’s Taxis in Brierfield from the Oaks Hotel in the early hours of December 7th last year.

Iqbal arrived in a car bearing the logo of another firm. but told Nicky he was from Victor’s.

He began asking her deeply personal questions and the pair exchanged mobile telephone numbers.

Nine days later, Nicky called Iqbal again from a restaurant in Cliviger and asked for a “two drop” taxi for herself and a colleague, Sarah.

Iqbal turned up, this time in an unmarked taxi, and picked the officers up, dropping Nicky off in Brierfield and then setting off towards Barrowford with Sarah.

He again asked the officer the same personal questions, unsuccessfully tried to get her into the front seat with him and then produced a sex toy which he waved towards her.

After he dropped her off, officers in support stopped Iqbal and arrested him. In interview, he suggested that it was as much the women who had instigated talk about sex, but declined to comment further when told they were undercover officers.

Mr Aftab Anwar (defending) said Iqbal had pleaded guilty to the offence at the first opportunity and asked the court to give him credit for that.

“The pre-sentence report clearly demonstrates he is deeply remorseful and knows he has done wrong.

“He had been a taxi driver for 12 years and has worked in factories where there were women workers and nothing like this has happened before,” he said.

“He has already been punished by losing his job and I would ask that any prison sentence is suspended.”

Judge Beverley Lunt, in passing sentence, said: “Women in particular trust taxi drivers and are entitled to feel safe when they get in a taxi.

“These undercover officers may have saved some innocent victim from being subject to a serious sexual assault or an extremely unpleasant incident.

“There is no explanation offered as to why you acted in the way you did and while the offence is serious, I can suspend an immediate custodial sentence,”

Iqbal was also banned from holding any kind of public service vehicle licence in the future.

source: http://www.pendletoday.co.uk/

Aug 28

Southampton taxi bosses are calling for more to be done to keep drivers safe after two were attacked within 48 hours

TAXI drivers in Hampshire have been urged to be vigilant after two drivers were allegedly attacked within 48 hours of each other.

In the first incident a driver was reported to have been knocked unconscious in a late-night attack, while two days later a man was allegedly stabbed outside Southampton Central Railway Station.

Now, the head of the Southampton Hackney Association wants more focus on the safety of drivers in the city.

Chairman Ian Hall argued that not enough attention is paid to the difficulties taxi drivers face.

He has worked in the trade for 33 years and vividly remembers when a taxi driver in Southampton was murdered in 1986.

He said: “What concerns me, which I think concerns a lot of drivers, is that in the last 22 years there have been 65 drivers murdered in this country. It’s a particularly dangerous job at night.

“The majority of customers are absolutely fine and we do a good job at getting people home safely.

“It’s all sorts of different people we are picking up and anyone that’s getting into the car could be going through a marriage break-up or having a hard time at work, but that doesn’t give them the right to hit people.

“It can be a bit of a volatile job but this is a good city to live and work in.

“Drivers need to be a bit careful but they are anyway.”

In relation to the incident near the railway station, Nicholas Jeffrey, 27, of no fixed address, appeared in court facing charges of wounding with intent and possessing a knife in a public place.

Police investigating the Swaythling incident confirmed that they had identified a man they wanted to speak after a taxi driver was found unconscious by a colleague.

The 28-year-old victim was assaulted and left unconscious at the junction of Mansbridge Road and Howard Close.

He was found by a fellow taxi driver and taken to Southampton General Hospital, but was not seriously injured.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101.

source: http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/

Aug 28

Mansfield man attacked taxi driver after refusing to pay soiling charge

A Mansfield man who vandalised a taxi and attacked its driver after refusing to pay a clean up charge when he was sick on the back seat has escaped a jail sentence.

Michael Francis Gallen, 49 of Portland Street, was found guilty of assault by beating and causing criminal damage in the incident on 5th January.

He appeared at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday for sentencing following his trial in August.

The court was told Gallen (49), had been among four people picked up by the ABC taxi at 1.45am at the Sunnydale pub at Mansfield Woodhouse.

Gallen had sat behind the front passenger seat and as the taxi began its journey he had vomited in the rear.

The taxi driver had stopped and told him he would be charged for soiling the vehicle.

Father of two Gallen who was the worse for drink, swore at the driver and said he was not going to pay, despite his fellow passengers apologising for his behaviour.

Gallen had then opened the rear taxi door and had taken hold of the roof handle, pulling it off.

He had taken money out of his pockets, repeating that he was not going to pay anything.

The driver then sensed his door being opened and the defendant he only knew at the time as ‘Mick’, punched him several times in the head and broke the taxi’s wiper stalk.

Gallen who initially denied the offence, said he could remember nothing about the incident.

He was sentenced to a 12 months Community Penalty with 100 hours unpaid work, ordered to pay £50 compensation to the taxi firm and £125 to the driver, with £620 costs and a victim surcharge.

The chairman of the Magistrates told him he had been lucky not to have been jailed.

source: http://www.chad.co.uk/news/

 

Aug 22

Taxi driver’s £1,000 bill after losing mobile phone appeal

 

Jason Barnes

A taxi driver has been left with a £1,000 bill after challenging a decision to have his licence suspended for driving while on his mobile phone.

Jason Anthony Barnes, 43, of Kirkbampton, near Carlisle, was seen by a member of the public on November 25 last year, driving through Carlisle city centre while on his phone.

The man complained to Carlisle City Council, telling them Mr Barnes had turned right from Harrington Street into Victoria Place and had failed to see him while he was turning opposite.

He claimed the two vehicles would have collided had he not taken evasive action and that Mr Barnes had not seen him because he was on the phone at the time.

It was alleged that Mr Barnes, who has held a taxi licence since 2002, then continued to use his mobile phone while driving along Georgian Way, Hardwicke Circus and onto Castle Way.

Initially he denied being in the areas stated at the time of the incident, but after the city council licensing officer was informed by the owner of the taxi company that Mr Barnes had been in the area, he recalled doing a drop off at Trinity School.

The taxi driver had his licence suspended at a council regulatory panel meeting on February 12, a decision Mr Barnes appealed.

At the meeting the complainant told the panel he had seen Mr Barnes close up and was holding a mobile phone to his left ear.

He then told the panel he would “not have been able to live with himself” if he had not reported what he had seen.

Mr Barnes’ legal representative said that he was not on his mobile phone but rubbing his head due to suffering a brain injury which left him with two holes in the left side of his head.

His appeal at North Cumbria Magistrate’s Court on May 14 was dismissed and a further appeal at Carlisle Crown Court last Thursday was also dismissed by a judge.

It means the decision to suspend his license for two months was upheld and he will also have to pay the £1,000 in costs to the city council.

Mr Barnes will have to sit and pass a Driving Standards Agency taxi driving test within 13 weeks, and must submit a report from a neurologist consultant to confirm he is fit to drive. The licensing panel also heard about a previous complaint of a similar nature but they had not followed up because the complainant had not taken the report any further.

In the report of the meeting, the panel said “they accepted fully the evidence given by the witness, that Mr Barnes was using his mobile phone whilst driving, and did not find Mr Barnes a credible witness”.

The panel “felt the matter was serious and Mr Barnes had a history of driving offences”.

Mr Barnes was unavailable for comment

source: http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/

Aug 22

Minicab forced off road after brick attack by boy in Meir, aged 9

MINICAB drivers are calling for action to stop gangs of youths pelting their cars with stones.

Cabbies are now wary of driving through some areas of Stoke-on-Trent where they have repeatedly become targets for yobs.

In the latest attack, Zaffar Gondar has been left £300 out of pocket after a nine-year-old boy smashed his rear windscreen in Saracen Way, Meir.

The Autocabs driver was on his way to a job when he heard a loud bang from the force of the rubble hitting his car at 9pm on Wednesday.

The 36-year-old, of Chaplin Road, Normacot, said: “I knew it had come from a gang of around 12 children and I managed to get a picture on my mobile phone of the one who threw the stone and I called the police.”

Officers were able to identify the boy before visiting his home but because he is below the age of criminal responsibility he was only given a telling off.

Now Asmann Ulhaq, who runs Longton-based Autocabs, has criticised the police for not getting tougher on troublemakers who could potentially cause a fatal accident.

The 42-year-old, of Lightwood, said: “I understand this particular lad was underage. But why does that mean there are no consequences if he’s smashed in a windscreen?

“Surely the parents should at least be held responsible. Zaffar has lost two days work, there’s a £60 excess for his insurance and the cost of clearing out the glass.

“And what if Zaffar had passengers in the back of his car? They can’t keep getting away with it because someone’s going to get seriously hurt.”
Mr Ulhaq said hotspots for incidents included Dividy Road, Bentilee, Werrington Road, Bucknall, and Meir Square.

He “There’s an incident like this every week and it’s all minicabs across the city. Luckily I’ve only ever been hit by eggs but it’s very alarming when it happens.”

Banaras Hussain, of Longton, manager of Ace Private Hire, agreed the number of attacks seemed to be on the rise.

He said: “This goes on all the time during the holidays. Kids think it’s funny to stand on street corners and aim bricks, eggs or whatever at cars.

They rarely get caught and the drivers end up out of pocket.”

Abdul Rauf, chairman of the Hackney Carriage Association, said he was told about incidents at least once a fortnight.

The 49-year-old, of Shelton, added: “It has been going on for some time now. The children are targeting minicabs and buses. If it happens the drivers communicate with each other to tell them to avoid a certain area.

“It’s obviously very dangerous and something needs to be done before there is a serious accident.”

A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: “Police were called to a report of a minicab being damaged by stones being thrown in Saracen Way, Meir.

“Officers attended and following inquiries a nine-year-old boy was spoken to regarding the incident. Due to his age, he was given a warning about his behaviour and his were parents made aware. Local patrols are aware of the incident and the minicab company have been updated.”

Read more: http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/

Aug 21

Bristol cabbies meet as anger builds over drivers from outside city taking their trade

A MEETING is due to be held this weekend as tensions build between taxi drivers in the city. As the Bristol Post has previously reported, hackney carriage drivers are angry at taxis registered in numerous other districts operating illegally in the city.

Drivers claim that many of these ‘outside’ licence holders actually live in Bristol but have bought a licence from another authority because it is far easier to obtain one with the sole purpose of operating in the city.

In Bristol cab drivers have to pass a local geography test and the rules surrounding MOT tests are also much tougher.

Drivers claim in other authorities it is simply a matter of handing over the cash.

However hackney carriages licensed outside of Bristol and all private hire companies must only pick up fares that have been booked prior to the pick up.

Any of these drivers picking up a fare from off the street is acting illegally and putting themselves and their customer at risk because they are uninsured.

Tim Lloyd, who has been a taxi driver in Bristol City Centre for 16 years, said tensions and resentment are now set to boil over.

Now he says a meeting has been arranged by the Bristol Taxi Association at the Sikh Resource & Community Development Centre in Queen Anne’s Road, Barton Hill, at 3pm on Sunday so drivers can air their grievances.

Mr Lloyd said: “This is a big issue. It’s not just about our livelihoods, it’s about the safety of the public. We don’t blame the public because when they have been out and had a few drinks they just want to get home and will get in anything resembling a taxi. What they don’t realise is that by taking that cab they are uninsured.”

Mr Lloyd said in all the time he has been working as a taxi driver this was the worst he had ever seen it.

“What I see happening in Bristol is nothing short of a scandal,” he said.

“There are people who live in Bristol and for whatever reason can’t get a Bristol licence so go to another authority and buy one to masquerade as a Bristol taxi.

“These guys are operating on a sat-nav – my sat-nav is in my head. No Bristol taxi driver needs a sat-nav.

“The most precious thing to me is my badge. It is my licence to earn and have a livelihood. They have not earned it. Having the badge is a privilege, not a right.”

He added: “It’s a problem now and in 12 months it will be an epidemic. It’s a question of when things come to a tipping point.

“In years gone by we were fearful of being checked and it kept us on our toes. Now they just don’t care.”

Nick Carter, Regulatory Services Manager at Bristol City Council said: “We appreciate the frustration of local drivers and are happy to look at what we can lawfully do about these issues. However it seems the majority of their requests are about nationally set regulations. Even if we could lawfully impose different rules we’d have to look very carefully at if and how such restrictions could realistically be enforced.

“Vehicles cannot legally operate as hackney carriages outside their own area, but it is legal for them to work as pre-booked Private Hire Vehicles wherever they wish.

“Currently councils have no power to apply restrictions which would prevent where they operate as private hires, and even if we did it would always be up to the council which issues the licence to put these in place.”

Read more: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/

Aug 20

Passenger racially abused Carlisle taxi driver

A taxi passenger has been fined £395 after he admitted racially abusing his driver during a journey.

At Carlisle Magistrates’ Court, Gary Robert Burns, 44, admitted a single charge of the racially aggravated harassment of his victim.

Prosecutor John Moran described how Burns had got into the taxi on the night of July 26 and told the driver where he wanted to go.

But during the journey the defendant became annoyed, saying that the route being taken was not his usual one.

He then began verbally abusing the driver, making racist remarks, Mr Moran told the court.

Once at his destination, Burns refused to get out of the taxi and demanded to know from the driver “where he came from”.

When the driver told him he was from originally from “Bangladesh” and had lived in the the country for the last 28 years, Burns shouted an insult and racist comments.

Burns also remarked that his victim had lived in the UK Too for him to return to his native country.

Burns of Corporation Road, Carlisle, handed magistrates a letter written but the contents were not read out.

He said he did not believe his comments had been racist and had been wrongly interpreted – despite entering a guilty plea to the racially aggravated offence.

Magistrates told Burns that he had to understand why his actions appeared racist, and that the taxi driver had simply been doing his job and should not have been treated as he was on that night.

As well as the fine, Burns was told to pay £85 court costs and a victim surcharge of £39.

After the hearing, Burns was asked outside of court if he would like to explain his behaviour and his only response was to claim that he is not a racist.

source: http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/

Aug 20

Perv taxi driver jailed for sex assaults on teen girls in Dover

 

JAILED: Perv Hassan ‘preyed on his young victims’

A LECHEROUS taxi driver who sexually assaulted two teen girls who had been on nights out in Dover has been jailed.

Creepy cabbie Rezgar Hassan, 22, of High Street, Dover, was found guilty by a jury of two counts of sexual assault and sentenced to three years imprisonment on Monday.

Iraqi Hassan, who was also subject of a five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order and will be on the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely, has also been recommended for deportation.

In the early hours of January 27, 2013, Hassan was driving a taxi in Market Square when he accepted a fare from a 19-year-old and her two friends, Canterbury Crown Court heard.

The victim sat in the front seat of the taxi and during the course of the journey, felt Hassan put his hand on her leg. It was then that he inappropriately touched her.

Upon exiting the taxi, the victim told her friends and the following day she reported it to police.

Hassan was arrested and he was later picked out in an identity parade.

In a second incident, in the early hours of March 10, 2013, a 17-year-old girl was waiting at the train station at Dover Priory.

Hassan was again in his taxi and approached the teenager, offering her a lift home to Folkestone for free.

He told her to sit in the back seat with a cover over her as he had another passenger to collect. Once that person had been dropped off, she got in the front seat.

Hassan told her to recline her seat and then started asking intimate questions. He told her if she showed him her breasts, he would let her go.

He then pulled her top down and inappropriately touched her before allowing the girl to get out.

Investigating officer, PC Natasha Russell of Kent Police, said: “It was clear when investigating these two individual reports that Hassan had preyed on his young victims, taking full advantage of their vulnerability.

“After having been on a night out in the town, both victims did the right thing by getting a taxi home. They expected the taxi to be a place of safety, but instead Hassan took full advantage of his position.

“I would like to personally thank both victims for showing courage and bravery and coming forward to report what had happened to them.

“The sentencing reflects the seriousness of the crime and should serve as a warning that neither Kent Police nor the courts will accept this type of behaviour.”

Read more: http://www.dover-express.co.uk/

 

Aug 20

Support London Taxi drivers’ fight against deregulation

On 14 August, the Uber taxi fare mobile phone app was banned in Berlin. This followed protests in cities across Europe against the software.

Dave Wallis, a London taxi driver, RMT member and Bob Crow’s cousin, says why drivers are campaigning against the app

On Wednesday 11 June 2014, London witnessed its biggest London taxi protest. Licensed drivers gridlocked central London in protest over the apparent inability of Transport for London (TfL) to enforce legislation. The Uber smartphone app operates in direct contravention of the 1998 London Private Hire Vehicles Act.

The smartphone app works out fares using GPS. We say this is like using a taxi meter, which only London taxi drivers are legally entitled to do. This is a right that drivers gain from completing the ‘Knowledge of London’ and attempts to undermine this are an assault on our livelihoods.

Why anyone should want to spend an average of five years studying the London Knowledge when a smartphone app can offer similar privileges is a no brainer.

I believe the allowance of such apps to be another attack on the public transport network, alongside privatisation and deregulation favoured under the Tory-led coalition and London’s Mayor Boris Johnson.

June protest

The June protest was superbly attended by drivers and supported by all trade organisations. TfL claimed the protest was pointless. But there were over 10,000 drivers, gridlocking roads from Trafalgar Square all the way west to Notting Hill and East to Tower Hill.

Bridges were also blocked so traffic going south and north was severely affected. Our protest was a complete success.

But now the battle continues. RMT Taxi division held a flash protest on Wednesday 9 July at TfL’s Palestra offices, outside a meeting to discuss taxi tariffs. We picketed outside and were supported by passing London taxi drivers and members of the public.

TfL has also said that that the London taxi trade is here to stay and they are not trying to deregulate. But I can assure everyone who uses our iconic taxis that TfL are carrying out what we call back door deregulation.

They have flooded the market by giving permission for satellite minicab/private hire companies to set up in night clubs, shopping centres etc, impacting on the work of the London taxi driver. This is without the illegal touting going on the street, inside stations etc.

London taxi drivers’ earnings have dropped more than 50% over the past six years. So when TfL say the London taxi trade is here to stay, I can tell you we will start to disappear off the streets as it will not be financially possible to run our vehicles.

MP Margaret Hodge has written to Boris Johnson asking why TfL allows cars to take bookings through the app without a licence to operate in the capital. London taxi drivers want a fair and level playing field. But TfL don’t want to play fair, so our fight will continue.

http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/

Older posts «

Social Widgets powered by AB-WebLog.com.