Taxi drivers plan Tour de Strike

Taxi drivers are threatening to go on strike in a row with the council over proposed changes to vehicle licensing rules.

Hackney and private hire drivers could refuse to work during the Tour de Yorkshire – a cycle race expected to draw thousands of spectators to the city on May 3 and 4.

Drivers’ representatives said new restrictions on the age of vehicles and requirements to have cars tested more often were proposed.

They claim the council has refused to meet them after a consultation on the changes was suspended until after the May 7 election.

Strikes are proposed on Saturday, May 3, and Sunday May 4, on Monday, May 11, and the weekend of May 24 and 25.

The city’s Private Hire and Hackney associations said in a joint statement: “Both associations regret that members of the public will be caused inconvenience by the proposed strike. However if Wakefield Council agrees to a meeting then the proposed strikes will not take place.”

The drivers’ associations said the changes would increase fares and reduce the number of taxis but would not improve the quality of services for passengers.

The statement said: “It should be noted that Wakefield Council has one of the highest fees changed to the trade throughout the country.”

The council’s consultation was suspended because of legal rules on publicity during elections.

Bernadette Livesey, service director for legal and governance, said: “We are surprised and disappointed to hear today of this proposed taxi strike. We meet with the drivers’ associations frequently and it is not true that talks have broken down.

“We have simply suspended a consultation on proposed restrictions on the age of vehicles which can be used as taxis, or for private hire, in accordance with legislation governing activity during the pre-election period.

“We will be meeting the drivers’ representatives immediately after the election to discuss this more fully with them.”

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

Taxi driver: “I’m not a hero – it was my duty to tackle knifeman”

Mr and Mrs Patel with Mayor of Preston Coun Nick Pomfret, and licensing manager Mike Thorpe, at the special event in the mayors parlour

An heroic cabbie who grabbed a robber’s knife to protect a female passenger has been given a civic award to recognise his courage.

Hackney carriage driver Bashir Patel, 50, foiled thug Peter Wylie in his THIRD attempted armed robbery in just 15 minutes.

Despite being left bleeding, Mr Patel, of Fulwood, Preston, was able to show officers the direction the robber had run away, leading to his arrest moments later.

The father-of-three, who moved to Preston from India 30 years ago, said he was honoured to have met the Mayor of Preston, but said he didn’t think of himself as a hero.

Mr Patel said: “It’s great that the mayor invited me, I was really happy.

“I was a bit nervous because I had never been before, but I really enjoyed his company.

“I went to the Town Hall to the mayor’s parlour, he welcomed me inside and he met my wife as well.”

But Mr Patel said he was only doing his duty to protect his passenger on the day of the incident.

He said: “It was my duty, there was somebody with me, I had to protect them and that’s what I did.

“I didn’t do anything to get famous.

“I was honoured to go to the mayor’s parlour but I don’t feel like a hero – anybody could do it to protect people.

“It’s our duty, we are citizens and we are here to help each other.”

Bungling Peter Wylie, 36, of De Lacy Street, Ashton-on-Ribble, Preston, had threatened staff at two takeaways – Domino’s Pizza, Blackpool Road, and the nearby Chui Kwan Chinese Takeaway – during his crime spree on January 9, but failed to get any cash.

He went onto Eldon Street, Plungington, where Mr Patel was dropping off his passenger.

He eventually pleaded guilty to three robberies and possession of bladed article when he appeared at Preston Crown Court and was jailed for three years.

Mr Patel said he still remembered the events clearly, when he had taken his passenger to Eldon Street.

He said: “I was just outside her house, it was a bit dark.

“She paid me, I gave her the change and I opened the door for her so I came out from the driver’s side.

“At that point I opened the door and I saw the guy with the knife in front of me demanding money.

“I thought I had to do something.”
Mr Patel grabbed the knife and Wylie ran off, and then the taxi driver saw police.

He said: “I flagged them down and I said he’s just running, I grabbed the knife but he’s still there so they got him.

“It was lucky because the police were looking for him.”

Mayor of Preston, Coun Nick Pomfret, said: “I am honoured to have been able to welcome Mr Patel and his wife into the mayor’s parlour to thank him for his brave actions.

“Mr Patel didn’t have to do what he did, he went above and beyond his duty and put himself in danger to protect others.

“Preston is full of great people like Mr Patel and that is what makes the city so special to me.”

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

Road-rage Derby cabbie drove into delivery man, carrying him on bonnet

A TAXI driver deliberately drove into a delivery driver’s mate, carrying him on the bonnet, during an argument in Derby.

Usama Tahir mounted a kerb while trying to squeeze through a gap after being partly blocked in by the DHL lorry in Victoria Street.

A court heard that the driver’s mate, David Barker, stood in his way telling him to reverse, but Tahir, of Littleover, drove into him, forcing him to jump on the bonnet.

A witness said an elderly woman also had to jump out of the way. Mr Barker fell off the bonnet and Tahir drove off.

Tahir admitted failing to stop and failing to report an accident but denied careless driving and threatening behaviour. However, he was found guilty in a trial at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court.

John Cooper, prosecuting, said the incident happened at 2.30pm on July 17 last year.

Mr Cooper said: “They parked up the lorry and noticed a yellow cab. The driver sounded the horn and started to become irate. Mr Barker approached the defendant, who was driving, and he was abusive towards him. The taxi driver started to move forwards into a small gap and Mr Barker stood there with him, arm forward, telling him to reverse but the driver carried on, making contact with his legs and forcing him on to the bonnet.

“In a statement, a witness … said she heard the taxi driver swearing at the man who she saw on the bonnet of the taxi. She said there was an elderly female who had to jump out of the way to avoid the taxi.”

Tahir, of Oaklands Avenue, was handed an eight-week jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, told to do 100 hours’ unpaid work, pay £100 compensation to Mr Barker, £600 costs and a £60 victim surcharge. He was also given 10 penalty points.

Mark Luckett, for Tahir, said his client had no previous convictions or cautions and had been a taxi driver for eight years.

Mr Luckett said: “He is extremely disappointed in his own behaviour on that day and knows he put his livelihood and his family’s livelihood in jeopardy.”

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

Woman sexually assaulted by bogus driver

THE 23-year-old was helped into the car in the city centre early on Monday morning and was driven to the Knightswood area of Great Western Road where she was sexually assaulted.

A WOMAN has been sexually assaulted after getting into what she thought was a ‘taxi’ in Glasgow city centre.

The 23-year-old victim was helped into the back of a car at around 1.30am on Renfield Street in the early hours of Monday.

The car then drove to the Knightswood area of Great Western Road close to the Lincoln Inn pub where she was sexually assaulted.

Detectives are keen to speak to a man and woman who are believed to have helped the woman in to the car outside Renfield Street’s Bistro Takeaway.

Detective Inspector Greg Wilkie said: “We are in the process of reviewing CCTV images and are keen to speak to anyone who was within the Bistro Takeaway or anyone who was on Great Western who may have information which could assist our investigation.

“We are still trying to establish if the car the woman got into was a licensed ‘cab’ or a private car.

“I would urge anyone with any knowledge or information to contact us as a matter of urgency.”

Earlier this month a bogus taxi driver in Edinburgh lured a woman into his car, drove her to a layby and sexually assaulted her.

The 31-year-old victim got into the saloon-style car, believing it was a private hire cab.

The attacker drove her to a layby around five miles away, where he attacked her.

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

Alleged rape victim gives evidence from beyond the grave in taxi driver sexual assault trial

Allegations: Mansouri was in court today

In a rare legal move, a jury listened to the 20-year-old’s video-taped interview in the sex assault trial of taxi driver Masood Mansouri

An alleged rape victim has given evidence from beyond the grave after committing suicide just days after the claimed kidnap attack.

In a rare legal move, a jury listened to the 20-year-old’s video-taped interview in the sex assault trial of taxi driver Masood Mansouri.

But seven days after the alleged rape, the woman fatally overdosed on her mum’s blood pressure pills.

Chester Crown Court watched the alleged victim’s police statement describing how last August’s incident left her feeling ‘hopeless and worthless.’

Judge Raj Shetty told a jury at Chester Crown Court the circumstances were an ‘unusual factor’ as they could listen to her evidence, although she was no longer alive.

The Mirror has decided not to name the woman, who has accused 33-year-old Mansouri of kidnap, sexual assault and rape, which he denies.

The university student had been to a halls of residence party and drank cocktails having earlier downed half a bottle of vodka.

The group tried to ring for a taxi to a nightclub in Broughton, Cheshire, prosecutor Nicholas William said, but after the alleged victim got into a cab and told the driver to wait for her friends, he drove off, it was heard.

Mansouri, at the wheel of a BMW, the jury was told, entered a residential area, panicking the victim who texted a friend: “I’ve been kidnapped.”

A second message read: “I’m not joking,” before another, seven seconds later, said: “Literally scared.”

The trial heard Mansouri ordered her upstairs at his home and tried to kiss her before putting his hand up her skirt. She was then raped, Mr William said, and was described as ‘really rough’ by the woman.

The ‘hysterical’ victim, the jury heard, ran outside and hid behind a bush. Later, at home, she told her mum what had happened.

In her police interview, played in court, the woman said: “I woke up yesterday and realised what had happened and the seriousness of it and it hit me. I felt worthless and helpless and that I needed to tell someone.

“I don’t feel like this is something which someone should be able to get away with.”

Describing the alleged rape, she told cops she ‘felt sick’, and repeatedly told her attacker: “I want to go, I don’t want to do this.”

Mansouri, of Saltney, Cheshire, claims the sex was consensual. The trial continues.

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

Apr 17

Taxi & PH Exhibition

Layout 1

 

 

For further detail click the following link – http://www.phtm.co.uk/

Apr 25

Taxi drivers plan Tour de Strike

Taxi drivers are threatening to go on strike in a row with the council over proposed changes to vehicle licensing rules.

Hackney and private hire drivers could refuse to work during the Tour de Yorkshire – a cycle race expected to draw thousands of spectators to the city on May 3 and 4.

Drivers’ representatives said new restrictions on the age of vehicles and requirements to have cars tested more often were proposed.

They claim the council has refused to meet them after a consultation on the changes was suspended until after the May 7 election.

Strikes are proposed on Saturday, May 3, and Sunday May 4, on Monday, May 11, and the weekend of May 24 and 25.

The city’s Private Hire and Hackney associations said in a joint statement: “Both associations regret that members of the public will be caused inconvenience by the proposed strike. However if Wakefield Council agrees to a meeting then the proposed strikes will not take place.”

The drivers’ associations said the changes would increase fares and reduce the number of taxis but would not improve the quality of services for passengers.

The statement said: “It should be noted that Wakefield Council has one of the highest fees changed to the trade throughout the country.”

The council’s consultation was suspended because of legal rules on publicity during elections.

Bernadette Livesey, service director for legal and governance, said: “We are surprised and disappointed to hear today of this proposed taxi strike. We meet with the drivers’ associations frequently and it is not true that talks have broken down.

“We have simply suspended a consultation on proposed restrictions on the age of vehicles which can be used as taxis, or for private hire, in accordance with legislation governing activity during the pre-election period.

“We will be meeting the drivers’ representatives immediately after the election to discuss this more fully with them.”

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

Apr 25

Taxi driver: “I’m not a hero – it was my duty to tackle knifeman”

Mr and Mrs Patel with Mayor of Preston Coun Nick Pomfret, and licensing manager Mike Thorpe, at the special event in the mayors parlour

An heroic cabbie who grabbed a robber’s knife to protect a female passenger has been given a civic award to recognise his courage.

Hackney carriage driver Bashir Patel, 50, foiled thug Peter Wylie in his THIRD attempted armed robbery in just 15 minutes.

Despite being left bleeding, Mr Patel, of Fulwood, Preston, was able to show officers the direction the robber had run away, leading to his arrest moments later.

The father-of-three, who moved to Preston from India 30 years ago, said he was honoured to have met the Mayor of Preston, but said he didn’t think of himself as a hero.

Mr Patel said: “It’s great that the mayor invited me, I was really happy.

“I was a bit nervous because I had never been before, but I really enjoyed his company.

“I went to the Town Hall to the mayor’s parlour, he welcomed me inside and he met my wife as well.”

But Mr Patel said he was only doing his duty to protect his passenger on the day of the incident.

He said: “It was my duty, there was somebody with me, I had to protect them and that’s what I did.

“I didn’t do anything to get famous.

“I was honoured to go to the mayor’s parlour but I don’t feel like a hero – anybody could do it to protect people.

“It’s our duty, we are citizens and we are here to help each other.”

Bungling Peter Wylie, 36, of De Lacy Street, Ashton-on-Ribble, Preston, had threatened staff at two takeaways – Domino’s Pizza, Blackpool Road, and the nearby Chui Kwan Chinese Takeaway – during his crime spree on January 9, but failed to get any cash.

He went onto Eldon Street, Plungington, where Mr Patel was dropping off his passenger.

He eventually pleaded guilty to three robberies and possession of bladed article when he appeared at Preston Crown Court and was jailed for three years.

Mr Patel said he still remembered the events clearly, when he had taken his passenger to Eldon Street.

He said: “I was just outside her house, it was a bit dark.

“She paid me, I gave her the change and I opened the door for her so I came out from the driver’s side.

“At that point I opened the door and I saw the guy with the knife in front of me demanding money.

“I thought I had to do something.”
Mr Patel grabbed the knife and Wylie ran off, and then the taxi driver saw police.

He said: “I flagged them down and I said he’s just running, I grabbed the knife but he’s still there so they got him.

“It was lucky because the police were looking for him.”

Mayor of Preston, Coun Nick Pomfret, said: “I am honoured to have been able to welcome Mr Patel and his wife into the mayor’s parlour to thank him for his brave actions.

“Mr Patel didn’t have to do what he did, he went above and beyond his duty and put himself in danger to protect others.

“Preston is full of great people like Mr Patel and that is what makes the city so special to me.”

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

Apr 25

Road-rage Derby cabbie drove into delivery man, carrying him on bonnet

A TAXI driver deliberately drove into a delivery driver’s mate, carrying him on the bonnet, during an argument in Derby.

Usama Tahir mounted a kerb while trying to squeeze through a gap after being partly blocked in by the DHL lorry in Victoria Street.

A court heard that the driver’s mate, David Barker, stood in his way telling him to reverse, but Tahir, of Littleover, drove into him, forcing him to jump on the bonnet.

A witness said an elderly woman also had to jump out of the way. Mr Barker fell off the bonnet and Tahir drove off.

Tahir admitted failing to stop and failing to report an accident but denied careless driving and threatening behaviour. However, he was found guilty in a trial at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court.

John Cooper, prosecuting, said the incident happened at 2.30pm on July 17 last year.

Mr Cooper said: “They parked up the lorry and noticed a yellow cab. The driver sounded the horn and started to become irate. Mr Barker approached the defendant, who was driving, and he was abusive towards him. The taxi driver started to move forwards into a small gap and Mr Barker stood there with him, arm forward, telling him to reverse but the driver carried on, making contact with his legs and forcing him on to the bonnet.

“In a statement, a witness … said she heard the taxi driver swearing at the man who she saw on the bonnet of the taxi. She said there was an elderly female who had to jump out of the way to avoid the taxi.”

Tahir, of Oaklands Avenue, was handed an eight-week jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, told to do 100 hours’ unpaid work, pay £100 compensation to Mr Barker, £600 costs and a £60 victim surcharge. He was also given 10 penalty points.

Mark Luckett, for Tahir, said his client had no previous convictions or cautions and had been a taxi driver for eight years.

Mr Luckett said: “He is extremely disappointed in his own behaviour on that day and knows he put his livelihood and his family’s livelihood in jeopardy.”

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

Apr 24

Woman sexually assaulted by bogus driver

THE 23-year-old was helped into the car in the city centre early on Monday morning and was driven to the Knightswood area of Great Western Road where she was sexually assaulted.

A WOMAN has been sexually assaulted after getting into what she thought was a ‘taxi’ in Glasgow city centre.

The 23-year-old victim was helped into the back of a car at around 1.30am on Renfield Street in the early hours of Monday.

The car then drove to the Knightswood area of Great Western Road close to the Lincoln Inn pub where she was sexually assaulted.

Detectives are keen to speak to a man and woman who are believed to have helped the woman in to the car outside Renfield Street’s Bistro Takeaway.

Detective Inspector Greg Wilkie said: “We are in the process of reviewing CCTV images and are keen to speak to anyone who was within the Bistro Takeaway or anyone who was on Great Western who may have information which could assist our investigation.

“We are still trying to establish if the car the woman got into was a licensed ‘cab’ or a private car.

“I would urge anyone with any knowledge or information to contact us as a matter of urgency.”

Earlier this month a bogus taxi driver in Edinburgh lured a woman into his car, drove her to a layby and sexually assaulted her.

The 31-year-old victim got into the saloon-style car, believing it was a private hire cab.

The attacker drove her to a layby around five miles away, where he attacked her.

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

Apr 24

Alleged rape victim gives evidence from beyond the grave in taxi driver sexual assault trial

Allegations: Mansouri was in court today

In a rare legal move, a jury listened to the 20-year-old’s video-taped interview in the sex assault trial of taxi driver Masood Mansouri

An alleged rape victim has given evidence from beyond the grave after committing suicide just days after the claimed kidnap attack.

In a rare legal move, a jury listened to the 20-year-old’s video-taped interview in the sex assault trial of taxi driver Masood Mansouri.

But seven days after the alleged rape, the woman fatally overdosed on her mum’s blood pressure pills.

Chester Crown Court watched the alleged victim’s police statement describing how last August’s incident left her feeling ‘hopeless and worthless.’

Judge Raj Shetty told a jury at Chester Crown Court the circumstances were an ‘unusual factor’ as they could listen to her evidence, although she was no longer alive.

The Mirror has decided not to name the woman, who has accused 33-year-old Mansouri of kidnap, sexual assault and rape, which he denies.

The university student had been to a halls of residence party and drank cocktails having earlier downed half a bottle of vodka.

The group tried to ring for a taxi to a nightclub in Broughton, Cheshire, prosecutor Nicholas William said, but after the alleged victim got into a cab and told the driver to wait for her friends, he drove off, it was heard.

Mansouri, at the wheel of a BMW, the jury was told, entered a residential area, panicking the victim who texted a friend: “I’ve been kidnapped.”

A second message read: “I’m not joking,” before another, seven seconds later, said: “Literally scared.”

The trial heard Mansouri ordered her upstairs at his home and tried to kiss her before putting his hand up her skirt. She was then raped, Mr William said, and was described as ‘really rough’ by the woman.

The ‘hysterical’ victim, the jury heard, ran outside and hid behind a bush. Later, at home, she told her mum what had happened.

In her police interview, played in court, the woman said: “I woke up yesterday and realised what had happened and the seriousness of it and it hit me. I felt worthless and helpless and that I needed to tell someone.

“I don’t feel like this is something which someone should be able to get away with.”

Describing the alleged rape, she told cops she ‘felt sick’, and repeatedly told her attacker: “I want to go, I don’t want to do this.”

Mansouri, of Saltney, Cheshire, claims the sex was consensual. The trial continues.

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

Apr 24

Kristopher Hicks to receive damages from a taxi driver who “abducted” him in Bath

A man from Bath who suffered severe brain damage when he jumped out of a moving taxi is to receive damages from the cabbie who “abducted” him.

Kristopher Hicks has never been able to speak to anyone about the incident after a night out in the city in November 2010, when he was 23, said Mr Justice Edis at London’s High Court.

The taxi, driven by Michael Young, was travelling at more than 20mph when Mr Hicks, of Holcombe Green, Bath, who was relatively sober and of good character, decided to get out.

Deciding the issue of liability, the judge said Mr Young, of Poplar Close, Bath, drove off because he had formed the mistaken view that Mr Hicks and his girlfriend were not going to pay the fare and were planning to “do a runner”.

He intended to drive Mr Hicks back to the rank to teach him a lesson by causing him as much inconvenience as he could.

The judge said there was no basis for Mr Young’s belief and Mr Hicks, who found himself being driven off by a stranger into the night, decided he should try to escape.

“The end result is that the claimant decided to jump out of the taxi at a dangerous speed. I do not know why he did this.

“It may have been that he misjudged the speed and thought it was safe to do so, but the true motive will never be known.”

The judge said it was a “stark and unattractive choice” to decide between Mr Hicks, whose case was that he was entitled to recover 100% of his claim despite his folly, and Mr Young, who said he should pay nothing despite his deliberate wrongdoing.

He concluded there should be a 50% reduction in the damages payable to Mr Hicks, which will be assessed at a later date, and he was also entitled to a further £250 for unlawful imprisonment.

He said Mr Hicks was driven away from his home for about three-quarters of a mile unlawfully which, taken on its own, would be an irritating and unsettling incident, but not one with serious consequences.

Had Mr Hicks left the vehicle when it was stationary at lights, the impact of the abduction would have been transitory.

“I have broadly accepted the evidence of the defendant and therefore find that his intention was not to to do anything other than to return him to the rank where he would be released.

“This is the kind of conduct which creates a significant risk to life and limb as this case demonstrates.”

Both sides were given permission to appeal.

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

Apr 24

Minicab Driver Jailed Over Kidnap And Rape

Salah Mohammed (L), Mohammed Sallah (R)

A minicab driver who drove a young woman who hired his cab to his friend’s house, where she was then raped, has been jailed for 9 years.

Salah Mohammed, 31 of Varley Road, E16, picked up the victim, a young woman in her twenties, and drove her to the house of his friend, Mohammed Sallah, 38 of Hylands Road, E17, where she was then raped by Sallah.

The victim was out with friends in central London on Friday March 7th 2014 when she started to feel unwell and headed home. Mohammed was touting for work at the carwash on Great Eastern Street, EC1 and was approached by the victim’s friend, who asked him to take her home. She gave him £10 for the job and took a picture of his license.

The victim’s friend also called the young woman’s parents, telling them she was heading home. When she didn’t turn up in the early hours of the morning of the 8th her parents called the police.

Mohammed had driven the woman to his friend, Mohammed Sallah’s, house in Walthamstow. Sallah then raped the woman who was later driven to Wood Green and let go. She then contacted her family and the police.

Detective Constable Dele Bolude from the Met’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: “This was a despicable crime. I would like to praise the victim’s courage in coming forward and reporting it to police. I hope that this sentence sends a clear message regarding the seriousness of this type of offending and gives other victims of sexual offences the courage to come forward.”

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

Apr 24

Wrexham black cabs set for radical overhaul

Council look set to relax restrictions on what qualifies as a traditional Hackney cab

Cab drivers want existing rules over taxis relaxed to allow a variety of other vehicles on the roads

Wrexham council is set to relax its restrictions on what type of vehicles can be used as taxis.

A group of taxi drivers, spearheaded by local cabbie Barry Wilson, got together last year over the issue.

They called on the local authority to allow them the option of using customised vans, people carriers and minibuses as opposed to the existing black cabs which they described as “expensive and unreliable”.

Councillors on the environmental licensing committee met in January and gave a mixed response to the idea.

They ruled that more information about the proposed vehicles was required along with a visit across the border where Cheshire West and Cheshire Council have already relaxed restrictions.

Two committee members have since visited a specialist vehicle manufacturing site at Crewe.

And after receiving assurances from the neighbouring authority about the impact of the change, a draft list of approved vehicles to be used as Hackney carriages has now been put together.

Wrexham council’s environmental licensing committee members will now consider the list of vehicles when they meet on Monday afternoon.

A report to the committee states: “Councillor Paul Pemberton and councillor William Baldwin attended the Voyager specialist vehicle manufacturing site at Crewe on March 9.

“During the visit, the councillors were shown around the factory site and given a full overview of how the vehicles are produced.

“Councillor Pemberton concluded that he was happy that the work was being carried out to the highest standard possible and that the work was some of the best he had ever seen.

“Councillor Baldwin commented that the professionalism of the Voyager organisation instilled confidence.”

It adds: “Cheshire West and Chester Council revised their Hackney carriage approved types in February 2014.

“The licensing manager at Cheshire West informed that the change had been a positive one and had not brought about any problems.

“The authority licence vehicles as either Hackney carriage or private hire but the vehicle must meet the relevant specification so as to maintain visible differences between the two licence types so as not to cause confusion to customer and public.”

Among Wrexham council’s proposed vehicles are the Mercedes Vito M8, Renault NX8 and Vauxhall Vivaro NX8.

The Hackney carriages would differ to private hire vehicles by having a maroon coloured license plate, a meter to calculate the fare and full wheelchair access.

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

Apr 23

Greedy Rossendale Council have yet another council on the warpath

Keighley town councillor and Watch and Transport Committee chairman Michael Westerman

A KEIGHLEY councillor fears a Lancashire council is not equipped to tackle a legal loophole allowing taxi drivers to dodge Bradford district’s strict safety checks.

Michael Westerman claims the problem of local cabbies deliberately getting their licences from Rossendale Borough Council rather than from Bradford Council is being compounded by a lack of enforcement in Rossendale.

Rossendale Borough Council has rejected his argument, however, stating it has a “large”, active enforcement team.

Bradford’s own licensing enforcement officers, who often carry out spot safety checks on cabs, have no jurisdiction over drivers who have acquired their licences from other councils.

The practice is legal — hackney carriages licensed for one area can lawfully operate as private hire cars anywhere else in the country.

Cllr Westerman said he had spoken to Rossendale’s hackney carriages department, which told him it only had two enforcement officers.

“They’ve got 1,700 licensed taxis in Rossendale, and there’s no way so many taxis can be operating just within Rossendale, but as long as Rossendale Council is getting the money from these licenses, it’s happy,” he said.

“The cost of a taxi licence there is £275, cheaper than Bradford, and Rossendale says it has now reduced this cost even further.

“I’ve asked for an enforcement day or night to be done in Keighley, but the council told me it has only got two enforcement officers so it wouldn’t be able to do anything until it got more staff.

“The council also told me it hopes to introduce a knowledge and language test, but I was shocked to learn it doesn’t already already have this.”

Cllr Westerman, who chairs Keighley Town Council’s watch and transport committee and also the joint transport forum, added: “If someone here phones a taxi company, they’ve a right to expect a car with a Bradford plate, not a plate from outside the area.”

Stuart Hastings, boss of private hire firm Metro Keighley, said Rossendale Borough Council needed to “get a grip”.

“Since the first driver had the idea of getting his licence from Rossendale it’s gone ballistic,” he said.

“I don’t know how they get away with it.”

A Rossendale Borough Council spokesman responded: “We do a lot of enforcement outside of Rossendale, including in Bradford, Manchester and Manchester Airport.” We have also been in Keighley.

“We’re happy to do more enforcement work in Keighley and will be looking at getting some dates sorted as soon as possible.

“We’ve asked for Cllr Westerman to report complaints and potential hot spots to us, as this will help us target our work.

“We do have a large enforcement team carrying this work out, and we’re looking to recruit two more posts to further enhance the work we’re already doing.”

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

Apr 23

Report reveals how Bolton licensed drivers were investigated for grooming and child sex offences

BOLTON taxi and minicab drivers were investigated last year for offences including grooming, sex crimes against children, drug dealing and slapping a child passenger, a report has revealed.

In 2014, 69 cases against private hire drivers and four against hackney carriage drivers were referred to Bolton Council — some have been through the courts while others are subject to ongoing police investigations.

The report, the first of its kind, has been published by Bolton Council’s Licensing and Environmental Regulation Committee (LERC) and includes a case about an an ice cream van licence which was refused because the applicant was being investigated for exposure.

Asif Vali, chairman of the Private Hire Operators’ Association in Bolton, said the public “are safe” using taxis in the town.

Mr Vali said: “This is a small percentage of cases out of 1,400 drivers in Bolton. We work in an appropriate manner and adhere to all the rules that are in place.

“You will get a minority that flout the law and they deserve to be prosecuted and, in many cases, deserve to have their private hire licences revoked.

“We can assure you that the public are safe using taxis in Bolton.”

A source on the LERC said the number of cases reported last year had increased because of “better co-operation” between police and the council’s licensing team. Some of the most serious cases were heard before the director of environmental services, Malcolm Cox.

They included three private hire drivers had their licences revoked by the director, for offences of grooming, sexual assault with a child and sex offences with children.

Two others were suspended in March, one for possessing drugs with intent to supply and the other as part of a police safeguarding investigation.

A third driver was suspended in April after being accused of sexual assault.

A hackney carriage driver was stripped of his licence for drug dealing, while one’s future is pending the outcome of a police investigation into an affray with an iron bar.

Bolton Council says some of the alleged offences referenced in the report took place in taxis, while others did not.

Cllr Anthony Connell, chair of the LERC, said the committee was happy that taxi companies were making the necessary checks on drivers when hiring them.

It is thought that changes in approach have resulted in drivers having licences revoked where previously they may have been just suspended.

Cllr Connell said: “We have actually had quite a big improvement from the companies.

“We were quite happy that the checks were up to the required standard.”

Only last week, driver Kamran Ali, aged 43, of Southwood Close, Great Lever, was jailed for a year for sexually assaulting two women, aged 17 and 24, in his taxi in two separate incidents in March last year.

Earlier this month, private hire drivers Absar Ahmed, aged 34, of Orchid Avenue, Farnworth, and Irfanbhai Malatgar, aged 34, of Halliwell Road, were fined for picking up fares off the street without having a hackney carriage licence.

The pair are still to learn whether their taxi licences will be revoked.

The LERC dealt with 15 private hire drivers, including two suspended for four weeks each for slapping a child passenger and racial abuse respectively.

Among the licences revoked were for drivers accused of making inappropriate sexual comments, money laundering, benefit fraud and dangerous driving.

A sub-committee which deals specifically with matters of a sexual nature or domestic violence heard cases against private hire drivers accused of rape, domestic violence and inappropriate behaviour towards women

A second sub-committee, which deals with driving convictions, stripped two private hire drivers of their licences, suspended 22 and warned 19 others.

It also suspended one hackney carriage driver for two weeks and wrote a warning letter to a second.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “The council’s licensing committees may revoke a taxi driver’s licence or refuse a new application if they feel that they are not a fit and proper person to hold a licence. They can also suspend licences for a certain period of time.

“The burden of proof for licensing decisions is on the balance of probabilities. Licensing authorities will take into account not only criminal records, but also intelligence held on that person by police, council or third parties, their history of compliance with licensing and their previous behaviour as a taxi driver.”

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

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