Half of Rossendale licensed cabbies driving outside the Valley as council pockets £783,000 from badges

Taxi driver David Lawrie

Around 1,200 cabbies are using Rossendale council licences to drive outside of the Valley, it’s been revealed.

There are currently 2,412 drivers licensed by the authority. But the council has confirmed that half of these are using their licences to drive passengers in neighbouring boroughs such as Rochdale, Bradford and Manchester.

Council papers also confirm that income from licensing fees has leapt eight fold from £92,000 in 2011 to £783,000 in 2014/15.

David Lawrie, chairman of Bacup Taxi Association, said the proliferation has occurred because Rossendale has no cap on the number of licences.

He said: “Other councils have a maximum number of licences they can issue. However, if you introduce a limit here it could potentially put some of our drivers out of work.”

Earlier this year a Rochdale council report claimed that its work to protect vulnerable residents was undermined by a ‘legal loophole’, allowing Hackney Carriage vehicles licensed by one authority to work in another area as a Private Hire vehicle. It claimed Rossendale council also adopted a ‘lower standard’ for its drivers in areas of language skills, area knowledge and safeguarding.

Rossendale council said it refuted various aspects of the report.

Conservative group leader Coun Darryl Smith raised concerns over the situation.

He said: “We can’t carry on the way we have been if it’s causing problems for us and neighbouring authorities. It must be very frustrating when you are focusing on safeguarding and then look at neighbouring boroughs issuing licences like confetti.”

Coun Smith said the council’s income of £783,000 from licences was “a massive amount of money.”

He added: “You’ve got to think there are people coming here because it is easy to get a licence.”

Licensing bosses last month recommended introducing a basic skills test for drivers. The assessment for Hackney Carriage and private hire drivers will establish skills, such as if drivers can give correct change or hold conversations with customers.

Licensing and enforcement manager Tracy Brzozowski told the Free Press the council would expect to see a decline in new applications if the basic skills test is approved by the full council.

She added: “Once a vehicle has been licensed as a hackney carriage by either a district council in England and Wales or by Transport for London (the Public Carriage Office) it is a hackney carriage for the duration of that licence, wherever it is currently located.”

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

Taxi drivers plead with council for right to skip Bangor’s one-way system

Taxi driver Paulo Oliveira says it is a concern among all his colleague.

ANGRY taxi drivers in Bangor have demanded permission to skip the city’s one-way system which they say is hurting their businesses and their customers.

Paulo Oliveira, a 31-year-old driver with City Cabs, complained that taxis travelling down Station Road cannot turn right straight into the train station using the bus lane, and must instead turn left, away from the station, and travel around the one way system.

Mr Oliveira said it is a big concern among all the taxi drivers who park at the train station due to the extra time it takes, the added cost to customers and the effect it has on congestion.

Gwynedd Council said it is not possible for taxi drivers to use the bus lane as it would add to congestion problems.

Mr Oliveira said: “Bus drivers are allowed to turn right using the bus lane and avoid the one way.

“Why can’t we? We are providing a service just the same.

“We are being pushed into Farrar Road and depending on the traffic we could be stuck there for 20 minutes, queuing to go around the one-way.

“We do this for a living and we have got a fair argument.”

Mr Oliveira, who has been in the job for 11 years, said some passengers miss their trains and end up with bigger fares because of the extra time taken to navigate the one-way system.

“All my colleagues and drivers in other firms are saying this,” he added.

Gwynedd Cllr June Marshall, for Bangor’s Menai Ward, wants to see a trial period where taxi drivers can use the bus lane.

“I think it can be done with some common sense,” she said.

“You shouldn’t have too many vehicles waiting in that bus lane because the road isn’t broad enough.

“But the number of busses actually turning into the station is so small I think it can be accommodated, and if you get some vehicles turning straight into the station, it would be helpful for the traffic situation.”

A Gwynedd Council spokesperson said: “An officer from the Council’s Transportation Service met with representatives from the local taxi companies and local members to discuss this matter.

“They explained that due to the design layout, it is not possible for the turning lane to accommodate additional vehicles other than single bus at any one time as it would cause significant congestion in what is already a busy area in the city.”

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

Robber Stephen Rowland jailed after trying to flag down taxi driver he had just mugged

Bungling robber Stephen Rowland, 30, caught after he tried to flag down cab driver he had just mugged

A dim-witted robber tried to flag down a taxi driver he had just mugged.

Stephen Rowland had terrorised the victim before robbing him of his takings.

The driver then pulled away, but Rowland was so drunk he seemed to forget what he had just done, and tried to hail the departing cab for a lift home.

This allowed the driver to stall Rowland until the police arrived and he was arrested.

He has now been jailed for 27 months at Manchester Crown Court after mugging his victim of £30.

The court heard the victim’s ordeal began after Rowland – of no fixed address – got into his car outside the Crown and Anchor in Ancoats at night and asked him to drive up Oldham Road to Miles Platting.

When the driver asked for a postcode, Rowland said: “You know what, don’t give me any bull****. I’m a United fan and my team lost today, just carry on and drive.”

The driver tried to get on the right side of Rowland by telling him that he too was a United fan, but was rewarded with abuse.

Concerned, the driver asked for the money upfront and was given £10.

But Rowland then continued to abuse the driver and refused to say where he was going.

Fearing he would be attacked, the man said: “Take your money, I don’t want to take you any more, I’m sorry’.

Rowland threatened to ‘smash’ him unless he carried on driving, leaving the victim ‘very scared indeed’.

On Oldham Road, opposite the Royal Mail depot, Rowland grabbed hold of the gear stick and tried to force the vehicle into reverse before taking a swing at the driver.

The driver managed to get control of the car and pulled over, pleading with him.

Rowland screamed ‘I will smash you’ and head butted him, keeping his head pressed against the terrified victim’s while he snatched £30 from his top pocket.

He then opened the car door, got out and kicked and punched the vehicle before walking away.

Then, as the victim’s car turned around, Rowland failed to recognise the cab he had just left and tried to flag it down.

The 30-year-old, who has 32 previous convictions, admitted robbery following the October 2013 incident.

Sentencing Rowland, whose lawyer appealed for a suspended sentence, Judge Patrick Field QC said: “A vulnerable victim was targeted – a taxi driver plying his trade at night.

“I take the view that this court must reflect that.”

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

Boris Johnson announces crackdown on minicab drivers who are ‘unable to speak English properly’

London’s minicab drivers may be forced to take English language tests under proposals announced by Boris Johnson today.

The Mayor of London wants Transport for London to bring in new rules to ensure private hire cab drivers have a “certain basic level” of English.

Speaking to the London Assembly today, he said: “I don’t think we can have a situation in which minicab drivers, who one way or another are regulated by this city, should be able to drive around and take fares without being able to speak English properly and without knowing the basics of geography of London.

“I have asked TfL to bring forward regulations to require a certain basic knowledge of English for all minicab drivers.”

The Standard understands TfL will launch a public consultation on the idea later this week.

Mr Johnson, who was speaking during Mayor’s Question Time at City Hall, also said he wants TfL to beef up rules requiring minicab drivers to have sufficient knowledge of London’s geography.

He made the announcement after London Assembly member Valerie Shawcross had called for more to be done to stop illegal touting by unlicensed cab drivers.

The Labour member said touts are “getting away with it all the time”, adding: “There are two cab-related sexual assaults a week and touting is all part and parcel of that risk.”

She complained the problem is “massively under-enforced” with only 14 TfL compliance officers on duty at night.

Mr Johnson said she made “a valid and powerful point” and insisted efforts would not just be redoubled but “multiplied many times” to improve matters.

“I’m going to put my hands up here and say we need to be doing more,” he added.

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

Minicab driver in court accused of raping young woman passenger

The high court trial continues at Stirling Sheriff Court.

A young woman tried to stop a taxi driver raping her when she got into his vehicle following an evening at a friend’s house, a court has heard.

The woman, who cannot be named, told the High Court in Stirling the driver took her down a badly lit dead end and had sex with her despite her protests.

A swab taken after the alleged incident on November 27, 2010 matched the DNA of 48-year-old Arshad Mohammed from Glasgow, who was later arrested.

After watching The X-Factor show at a friend’s house in Govan, the woman got the minicab to another friend’s home in Neilston, and was quoted a £15 fare.

She said she got into the minicab in Govan and Mohammed had driven her to the dead-end lane near Main Street in Neilston before dropping off near her destination.

On Tuesday, she told the court: “I was Sh****ing ‘please gonnae leave me’, but he wouldn’t leave me.”

She said she had been wearing pyjamas, trainers, underwear and a coat and said she was “scared” when the driver got stopped the minicab and got into the back seat with her.

She continued: “He put the locks on so I wouldn’t get out of the car. He tried to get my clothes off. He was trying to unfasten my jammie top. I tried to push him away.

“I was Sh****ing for somebody to come and help me, but nobody was around.”

The woman, who is now 24 years old, said she entered the minicab in Govan and he had driven her to the dead-end in Neilston, Renfrewshire.

After the alleged incident he dropped her off near her destination in Neilston, and told her “see you after, princess”.

She said: “I was terrified. I went round to my friend’s house and chapped the door and she let me in.

“I was breaking my heart, crying, when I got in her flat. I told her I just got raped, and she called the police.”

The jury were told it has been agreed Mohammed had been indicted to appear for trial at the High Court in Glasgow in April 2012 in connection with the allegation, but failed to appear.

He was arrested in Norway two years later and extradited back to the UK in August 2014.

Mohammed denies abducting the woman and raping her in the private hire car in the lane near Main Street, Neilston.

He lodged a special defence of consent, and told police after his arrest that the woman had asked him if he wanted to have sex with her, directed him to the dead end, thanked him afterwards, and said that she would now be able to get a good night’s sleep.

Mohammed also denies obtaining a fare by fraud and driving a private hire car without a Civic Government (Scotland) Act licence.

He is further accused of behaving in a threatening and abusive manner by uttering remarks of a sexual nature to two other women in the course of private hire journeys in Glasgow in March and April 2011. These allegations he also denies.

The trial, before judge Lord Matthews and jury, continues and is expected to last up to six days.

source: http://news.stv.tv/

Mar 26

Half of Rossendale licensed cabbies driving outside the Valley as council pockets £783,000 from badges

Taxi driver David Lawrie

Around 1,200 cabbies are using Rossendale council licences to drive outside of the Valley, it’s been revealed.

There are currently 2,412 drivers licensed by the authority. But the council has confirmed that half of these are using their licences to drive passengers in neighbouring boroughs such as Rochdale, Bradford and Manchester.

Council papers also confirm that income from licensing fees has leapt eight fold from £92,000 in 2011 to £783,000 in 2014/15.

David Lawrie, chairman of Bacup Taxi Association, said the proliferation has occurred because Rossendale has no cap on the number of licences.

He said: “Other councils have a maximum number of licences they can issue. However, if you introduce a limit here it could potentially put some of our drivers out of work.”

Earlier this year a Rochdale council report claimed that its work to protect vulnerable residents was undermined by a ‘legal loophole’, allowing Hackney Carriage vehicles licensed by one authority to work in another area as a Private Hire vehicle. It claimed Rossendale council also adopted a ‘lower standard’ for its drivers in areas of language skills, area knowledge and safeguarding.

Rossendale council said it refuted various aspects of the report.

Conservative group leader Coun Darryl Smith raised concerns over the situation.

He said: “We can’t carry on the way we have been if it’s causing problems for us and neighbouring authorities. It must be very frustrating when you are focusing on safeguarding and then look at neighbouring boroughs issuing licences like confetti.”

Coun Smith said the council’s income of £783,000 from licences was “a massive amount of money.”

He added: “You’ve got to think there are people coming here because it is easy to get a licence.”

Licensing bosses last month recommended introducing a basic skills test for drivers. The assessment for Hackney Carriage and private hire drivers will establish skills, such as if drivers can give correct change or hold conversations with customers.

Licensing and enforcement manager Tracy Brzozowski told the Free Press the council would expect to see a decline in new applications if the basic skills test is approved by the full council.

She added: “Once a vehicle has been licensed as a hackney carriage by either a district council in England and Wales or by Transport for London (the Public Carriage Office) it is a hackney carriage for the duration of that licence, wherever it is currently located.”

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

Mar 26

Taxi drivers plead with council for right to skip Bangor’s one-way system

Taxi driver Paulo Oliveira says it is a concern among all his colleague.

ANGRY taxi drivers in Bangor have demanded permission to skip the city’s one-way system which they say is hurting their businesses and their customers.

Paulo Oliveira, a 31-year-old driver with City Cabs, complained that taxis travelling down Station Road cannot turn right straight into the train station using the bus lane, and must instead turn left, away from the station, and travel around the one way system.

Mr Oliveira said it is a big concern among all the taxi drivers who park at the train station due to the extra time it takes, the added cost to customers and the effect it has on congestion.

Gwynedd Council said it is not possible for taxi drivers to use the bus lane as it would add to congestion problems.

Mr Oliveira said: “Bus drivers are allowed to turn right using the bus lane and avoid the one way.

“Why can’t we? We are providing a service just the same.

“We are being pushed into Farrar Road and depending on the traffic we could be stuck there for 20 minutes, queuing to go around the one-way.

“We do this for a living and we have got a fair argument.”

Mr Oliveira, who has been in the job for 11 years, said some passengers miss their trains and end up with bigger fares because of the extra time taken to navigate the one-way system.

“All my colleagues and drivers in other firms are saying this,” he added.

Gwynedd Cllr June Marshall, for Bangor’s Menai Ward, wants to see a trial period where taxi drivers can use the bus lane.

“I think it can be done with some common sense,” she said.

“You shouldn’t have too many vehicles waiting in that bus lane because the road isn’t broad enough.

“But the number of busses actually turning into the station is so small I think it can be accommodated, and if you get some vehicles turning straight into the station, it would be helpful for the traffic situation.”

A Gwynedd Council spokesperson said: “An officer from the Council’s Transportation Service met with representatives from the local taxi companies and local members to discuss this matter.

“They explained that due to the design layout, it is not possible for the turning lane to accommodate additional vehicles other than single bus at any one time as it would cause significant congestion in what is already a busy area in the city.”

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

Mar 26

Robber Stephen Rowland jailed after trying to flag down taxi driver he had just mugged

Bungling robber Stephen Rowland, 30, caught after he tried to flag down cab driver he had just mugged

A dim-witted robber tried to flag down a taxi driver he had just mugged.

Stephen Rowland had terrorised the victim before robbing him of his takings.

The driver then pulled away, but Rowland was so drunk he seemed to forget what he had just done, and tried to hail the departing cab for a lift home.

This allowed the driver to stall Rowland until the police arrived and he was arrested.

He has now been jailed for 27 months at Manchester Crown Court after mugging his victim of £30.

The court heard the victim’s ordeal began after Rowland – of no fixed address – got into his car outside the Crown and Anchor in Ancoats at night and asked him to drive up Oldham Road to Miles Platting.

When the driver asked for a postcode, Rowland said: “You know what, don’t give me any bull****. I’m a United fan and my team lost today, just carry on and drive.”

The driver tried to get on the right side of Rowland by telling him that he too was a United fan, but was rewarded with abuse.

Concerned, the driver asked for the money upfront and was given £10.

But Rowland then continued to abuse the driver and refused to say where he was going.

Fearing he would be attacked, the man said: “Take your money, I don’t want to take you any more, I’m sorry’.

Rowland threatened to ‘smash’ him unless he carried on driving, leaving the victim ‘very scared indeed’.

On Oldham Road, opposite the Royal Mail depot, Rowland grabbed hold of the gear stick and tried to force the vehicle into reverse before taking a swing at the driver.

The driver managed to get control of the car and pulled over, pleading with him.

Rowland screamed ‘I will smash you’ and head butted him, keeping his head pressed against the terrified victim’s while he snatched £30 from his top pocket.

He then opened the car door, got out and kicked and punched the vehicle before walking away.

Then, as the victim’s car turned around, Rowland failed to recognise the cab he had just left and tried to flag it down.

The 30-year-old, who has 32 previous convictions, admitted robbery following the October 2013 incident.

Sentencing Rowland, whose lawyer appealed for a suspended sentence, Judge Patrick Field QC said: “A vulnerable victim was targeted – a taxi driver plying his trade at night.

“I take the view that this court must reflect that.”

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

Mar 26

Boris Johnson announces crackdown on minicab drivers who are ‘unable to speak English properly’

London’s minicab drivers may be forced to take English language tests under proposals announced by Boris Johnson today.

The Mayor of London wants Transport for London to bring in new rules to ensure private hire cab drivers have a “certain basic level” of English.

Speaking to the London Assembly today, he said: “I don’t think we can have a situation in which minicab drivers, who one way or another are regulated by this city, should be able to drive around and take fares without being able to speak English properly and without knowing the basics of geography of London.

“I have asked TfL to bring forward regulations to require a certain basic knowledge of English for all minicab drivers.”

The Standard understands TfL will launch a public consultation on the idea later this week.

Mr Johnson, who was speaking during Mayor’s Question Time at City Hall, also said he wants TfL to beef up rules requiring minicab drivers to have sufficient knowledge of London’s geography.

He made the announcement after London Assembly member Valerie Shawcross had called for more to be done to stop illegal touting by unlicensed cab drivers.

The Labour member said touts are “getting away with it all the time”, adding: “There are two cab-related sexual assaults a week and touting is all part and parcel of that risk.”

She complained the problem is “massively under-enforced” with only 14 TfL compliance officers on duty at night.

Mr Johnson said she made “a valid and powerful point” and insisted efforts would not just be redoubled but “multiplied many times” to improve matters.

“I’m going to put my hands up here and say we need to be doing more,” he added.

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

Mar 24

Minicab driver in court accused of raping young woman passenger

The high court trial continues at Stirling Sheriff Court.

A young woman tried to stop a taxi driver raping her when she got into his vehicle following an evening at a friend’s house, a court has heard.

The woman, who cannot be named, told the High Court in Stirling the driver took her down a badly lit dead end and had sex with her despite her protests.

A swab taken after the alleged incident on November 27, 2010 matched the DNA of 48-year-old Arshad Mohammed from Glasgow, who was later arrested.

After watching The X-Factor show at a friend’s house in Govan, the woman got the minicab to another friend’s home in Neilston, and was quoted a £15 fare.

She said she got into the minicab in Govan and Mohammed had driven her to the dead-end lane near Main Street in Neilston before dropping off near her destination.

On Tuesday, she told the court: “I was Sh****ing ‘please gonnae leave me’, but he wouldn’t leave me.”

She said she had been wearing pyjamas, trainers, underwear and a coat and said she was “scared” when the driver got stopped the minicab and got into the back seat with her.

She continued: “He put the locks on so I wouldn’t get out of the car. He tried to get my clothes off. He was trying to unfasten my jammie top. I tried to push him away.

“I was Sh****ing for somebody to come and help me, but nobody was around.”

The woman, who is now 24 years old, said she entered the minicab in Govan and he had driven her to the dead-end in Neilston, Renfrewshire.

After the alleged incident he dropped her off near her destination in Neilston, and told her “see you after, princess”.

She said: “I was terrified. I went round to my friend’s house and chapped the door and she let me in.

“I was breaking my heart, crying, when I got in her flat. I told her I just got raped, and she called the police.”

The jury were told it has been agreed Mohammed had been indicted to appear for trial at the High Court in Glasgow in April 2012 in connection with the allegation, but failed to appear.

He was arrested in Norway two years later and extradited back to the UK in August 2014.

Mohammed denies abducting the woman and raping her in the private hire car in the lane near Main Street, Neilston.

He lodged a special defence of consent, and told police after his arrest that the woman had asked him if he wanted to have sex with her, directed him to the dead end, thanked him afterwards, and said that she would now be able to get a good night’s sleep.

Mohammed also denies obtaining a fare by fraud and driving a private hire car without a Civic Government (Scotland) Act licence.

He is further accused of behaving in a threatening and abusive manner by uttering remarks of a sexual nature to two other women in the course of private hire journeys in Glasgow in March and April 2011. These allegations he also denies.

The trial, before judge Lord Matthews and jury, continues and is expected to last up to six days.

source: http://news.stv.tv/

Mar 24

Minicab driver played ISIS beheading video in front of young girl, claims “sickened” father

A FATHER and his seven-year-old daughter were left “sickened” when a Worcester minicab driver allegedly played an ISIS beheading video in his stationary car.

Scott Howard, 31, of Ronkswood, claims he had to shield his autistic little girl from seeing the violent clip when the Central Taxis cabbie streamed it on his mobile.

Disturbing sounds and images of the murder were clearly audible and visible from the phone which the taxi driver rested on the steering wheel, according to the angry father.

But the owner of Central Taxis said the actions of his self-employed drivers were “their own” and that only Worcester City Council could take disciplinary action if the claims could be substantiated.

Mr Howard said: “I was absolutely shocked and it really sickened me. It was so wrong.

“I had to move my daughter quickly to prevent her seeing it.

“The video was really violent and I could hear gun firing.

“If he wants to watch stuff like that then he should do it when he is not working.

“I didn’t say anything to him because I was too wound up and didn’t want to kick off in front of my daughter.”

The alleged incident happened outside Pitmaston Primary School but Mr Howard cannot recall the exact date and did not take down the driver’s name or taxi number.

He was prompted to contact the Worcester News after reading on Wednesday (March 18) about a cabbie who was caught playing a movie on his mobile while driving passengers around Worcester city centre.

Sharafat Ali, owner of Central Taxis, which is based in Shrub Hill, Worcester, said: “If the claim is sufficiently substantiated then this could lead to disciplinary action for the driver involved but only from Worcester City Council, from whom the taxis are licensed.

“I do not have the authority to take such action. I am merely a sub-contractor of work to self-employed individuals for a cash consideration.

“It is also important to understand that any views or actions which an individual expresses directly or indirectly are their own and do not in any way represent the views of myself or Central Taxis Worcester.

“Additionally all drivers are self employed so if someone has an individual issue with a driver they should contact them directly.”

Lesley Borthwick, secretary of the Worcester Taxi Drivers Association, added: “I can only apologise to the people involved.

“It does not sound like a very nice experience.

“I have been speaking to everybody in the association and telling them to be careful and sensible with the use of mobile phones.

“What the drivers watch in their own time is up to them and mobile phones are a good source of entertainment when stationary and waiting around – but when they have passengers they should turn any videos off straight away.

“In cases like this the passenger should have taken down the plate and badge number and reported the matter to Worcester City Council.”

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

Mar 24

Taxi drivers question ‘idling’ fine

Motoring groups and taxi drivers have questioned the introduction of a £20 fine for stationary drivers “idling” with their engines running.

From May 1, Westminster City Council is bringing in the fines, which could take effect if drivers refuse to switch engines off, over concerns about air quality.

But the AA and the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) are worried about just who will be targeted, while the London Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) said the move would do nothing to reduce pollution.

A spokesman for the council said the initiative was not aimed at drivers halting at traffic lights or stuck in traffic.

He went on: “Our traffic marshalls will be tapping on the windows of vehicles asking them to turn their engines off if they are, for example, waiting for someone outside an office.”

AA president Edmund King said: “It’s not always clear just how long you’re going to be idling. If the measure is enforced sensibly and with flexibility, I think it’s fine.”

LTDA general secretary Steve McNamara told the BBC: “It is not going to do anything constructive to tackle the pollution crisis in London. When was the last time you saw someone idling in the city? It doesn’t happen.”

IAM policy and research director Neil Greig told the BBC: “If they target private car drivers pulling up for a moment in relatively clean, modern cars in a draconian way – whilst ignoring old buses, coaches, large trucks, utility company vans or taxis idling for long periods – then it will quickly be seen as yet another revenue-raising exercise.”

source: http://home.bt.com/

Mar 24

Taxi driver who hid points for string of speeding offences is jailed

Mohammed Qayam a black cab driver was clocked at 51mph in a 30mph zone

A TAXI driver from Birmingham who dodged fines and penalty points for speeding has been jailed for six months.

Mohammed Qayum, a Hackney Carriage driver, admitted perverting the course of justice when he appeared before Birmingham Crown Court.

As well as being jailed he was given a 12 month disqualification from driving.

West Midlands Police say Qayum was originally clocked on the M42 doing 60mph in a 50mph zone in March 2012. His Peugeot taxi activated a temporary speed camera between junctions six and seven on the northbound carriageway and a prosecution form was sent to his Aston home.

Qayum, aged 37, returned the form a month later stating that another man had been driving at the time, and gave that person’s details and a Rugeley address. But when police tried to contact the supposed new driver, the notice was returned as having been sent to an invalid address.

The case was closed when the driver could not be traced.

After apparently getting away with his earlier misdemeanour, Qayum struck again in October 2013 when his Peugeot was captured travelling more than 20mph over the speed limit on the A38 Bristol Road in Birmingham. Despite a limit of 30mph the driver was caught travelling at 51mph on a mobile camera.

A notice was again sent to Qayum’s home on Woodridge, Aston, which he returned this time claiming that another Birmingham man was driving his cab. The alleged driver was never traced and the ticket was again cancelled.

Subsequent enquiries by officers in West Midlands Police Camera Enforcement Unit unearthed Qayum’s false reports, with officers first suspecting his crimes when they identified that the address given for the second speeding offence did not exist. The previous offence was then checked and this address was also found to have been false. Police arrested Qayum who told officers that he had paid a ‘friend of a friend’ to sort out his speeding tickets and as he had not heard anything else afterwards assumed he had gotten away with his crime − which had seen him evade six penalty points and a £200 fine.

Speaking after the sentencing, PC Jason Dooley, from the Camera Enforcement Unit, said: “While the driver’s crimes were committed out of fear for losing his livelihood, that cannot excuse the fact that he deliberately tried to evade prosecution for traffic offences.

“Perverting the course of justice is a criminal offence and the fact that Qayum has been given a prison sentence sends a clear message that such offences will not be tolerated.

“Even in cases, such as this one, when the false reports were made some time ago we continue to make enquiries so offenders should never feel that they have gotten away with it as no case is ever truly closed.”

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

Mar 24

Private hire drivers should sit knowledge test say MSPs

NEW licensing laws could see private hire taxi drivers forced to sit a “knowledge test” the same as Hackney drivers.

The Scottish Parliament licensing committee recommended that new laws being considered should include the change that would see Glasgow’s 3000 private hire drivers tested on main routes and city landmarks.

The committee recommended: “The Scottish Government should consider a full review of all aspects of taxi and private car licensing and report back to the Committee within this Parliamentary term.”

The report stated the principal reason for licensing taxi and private hire cars is to ensure public safety.

It added: “The same knowledge test should apply to all drivers, both taxi and private hire.”

Glasgow City Council is not in favour of the changes which would effectively end the two tier licensing system for drivers.

It said it would lead to customers believing private hire drivers were trained to the same standard as Hackney (black cab) drivers.

Michael McDougall solicitor with Glasgow City Council expressed the authority’s opposition to the move in a written response to the committee.

He said: “The Licensing Authority is concerned that the Scottish Government’s proposal to require the testing of PHC drivers erodes the difference between PHC and taxi drivers.”

He said a key difference was the ability to pick up street hires without knowing the destination in advance.

He added: “The Authority understands that taxi drivers are tested as they are subject to “there and then hires” and therefore do not have an opportunity to research a route.

“However, PHC drivers by the very nature of being pre-booked, have the opportunity to make investigations into how to reach a destination.

Therefore, by imposing the same requirement on PHC drivers, it creates an impression that they are trained to an equivalent standard.”

Glasgow Taxis, which operates most of the city’s ‘black cabs’ did not wish to comment on the recommendation.

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

Mar 20

Taxi and PHV licensing: Councillors’ Handbook (England and Wales)

Councils’ critical responsibilities in licensing taxi and private hire vehicle drivers have been highlighted by recent examples of licensed vehicles and premises being used to facilitate the sexual exploitation of young children.

The LGA has drawn together practical advice and learning from recent events into a handbook to help councillors understand some of the key issues concerning taxi and PHV licensing.

It is intended to be used as a starting point to explain how to manage some of the challenges that can arise in this complex area of business regulation.

The LGA advises: All councillors should receive in-depth training before sitting on a licensing committee Councils should have a clear policy on determining a ‘fit and proper’ person, and apply it rigorously Indecency offences should be viewed seriously and applications not normally granted if convicted Complaints should be thoroughly investigated, recorded and analysed for trends Councils should consider joint-warranting officers from neighbouring authorities -

http://www.local.gov.uk/documents/

 

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