Keighley private-hire battle goes to Parliament

At People First Keighley and Craven are, from left, back, Gerry Sutcliffe, Omar Sardar of People First, John Grogan and front, Tom Walsh and Keighley councillor Doreen Lee

A KEIGHLEY battle to win equality for disabled private-hire passengers has gone to Parliament.

An Early Day Motion has been tabled acknowledging the campaign and demanding wheelchair users be charged the same fares as the able-bodied.

The move follows a three-year fight by People First Keighley and Craven for a section of the Equality Act 2010 to be enacted.

“Ministers have the power to enact the clause, which would solve this problem,” said John Grogan, Labour’s Keighley parliamentary candidate. “I fail to see a good reason for further delay. It is simply a matter of basic justice that a wheelchair user should pay the same for a journey, in a vehicle suitable for them, as anybody else.”

He invited Bradford South Labour MP Gerry Sutcliffe to visit the People First Keighley and Craven offices at Springfield Mills in Oakworth Road. They discussed the issue with campaign leader, Tom Walsh.

Afterwards, Mr Walsh, 30, told the Keighley News he was delighted the matter was being raised in Parliament. He said: “Private hire drivers with accessible vehicles were charging double the fare for wheelchair users. That figure is now time-and-a-half but it is still totally wrong.

“The discrimination is still going on and we must put a stop to it. The fact is disabled people should not have to pay any extra.”

Mr Sutcliffe tabled the motion noting the importance of the campaign and calling on government to bring into force section 165 of the Equality Act. “Private hire firms that have vehicles designated as accessible by a local authority must carry passengers in wheelchairs without making an additional charge,” he said.

Research by People First showed many drivers charging double for disabled passengers. Mr Walsh was filmed by the BBC taking undercover taxi trips to expose discriminatory practices.

The controversy centres on the need for wheelchair users to travel in larger, adapted vehicles and the extra time drivers require to transport wheelchair-using customers.

Stuart Hastings, of private hire firm Metro Keighley, said his firm charged the correct fare but added: “Our disabled customers appreciate the additional work required and are happy to voluntarily pay more for the service our drivers provide.”

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

Fine for minicab driver caught illegally plying for trade in Stone

A STOKE minicab driver caught plying for trade illegally in Stone has been hit with a fine.

Usman Hussain, 23, was caught out as part of a crackdown on rogue minicab drivers by Staffordshire Police and Stafford Borough Council.

Stafford magistrates heard that Hussain, of Argyll Road, Longton, agreed to take a plain clothed policewoman and council officer to a local pub when they approached his Lucky Seven private hire vehicle in Stone’s Station Road. When the vehicle was stopped by a marked police car, Hussain told his passengers to “tell them you booked me from Granvilles”.

Julie Simpson, prosecuting for Stafford Borough Council, said “He also spoke on his radio saying “book me a job from Granvilles.” He then said again to his passengers “Tell them you booked me.”

Hussain admitted plying for hire in an unlicensed vehicle in August. He was given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a total of £236.10 costs by Stafford magistrates.

It is illegal for private hire drivers to collect customers in the street or from a minicab rank. They can only pick up passengers that have booked in advance.

Tac Hussain, defending, said: “This is an expensive fare for Mr Hussain. He accepts he was foolish but did not go deliberately plying for hire.
“His documents and vehicle were all in order and he was not initiating or actively seeking a fare.”

Hussain is now likely to go before a licensing panel at Stoke on Trent City Council, to see if he is a fit and proper person to hold a private hire licence, the court was told.

Speaking after the hearing Councillor Frank Finlay, cabinet member for environment and health, said: “We are determined to clamp down on private hire drivers who stick two fingers up at the law by coming into the borough and picking up residents with no prior booking.

“One of our top priorities is the health and wellbeing of our community and this operation aims to protect the public as they are at risk, because these vehicles will not be insured if they are picking up passengers in this way.”

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

Wembley minicab driver found guilty of killing former teacher of chef Heston Blumenthal

Kugannesan Balasubramaniam is facing jail (Pic credit: Central news)

A minicab driver from Wembley who killed a teacher after smashing into the back of his car has been found guilty of causing his death by careless driving.

Kugannesan Balasubramaniam, 31, Longley Avenue, collided into the classic sports car driven by Nick Sennett so hard it ‘folded like a penknife’ on the A40 Westway.

Mr Sennett, who was 58-year-old and taught economics at Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith, died at the scene on January 15 this year.

Southwark Crown Court heard Balasubramaniam, had been speeding at 48mph on the 40mph road and had worked for 90 hours in the previous seven days for the minicab company One to One.

The short-sighted driver also failed a basic number plate-reading eye test when officers attended the scene.

Balasubramaniam had denied a single charge of causing death by dangerous driving and was convicted by the alternative charge of causing death by careless driving.

He will be sentenced on January 15.

Warning him he faces jail, Judge Jeffrey Pegden QC told Balasubramaniam: “You should understand that the law makes it clear that a custodial sentence is likely but as you are a man of previous good character I order a pre-sentence report for that day.’

Mr Sennett was a former teacher of chef Heston Blumenthal OBE who attended the £15,700-a-year school.

Paying tribute to him shortly after his death, he said: “What made Nick stand out was his very calm, playful banter. He was one of those teachers you could be very comfortable around. He was really lovable, really funny, chilled out.”

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

Byelaws

byelaws

Byelaws.

A district council may make byelaws, in respect of hackney carriages for all or any of the following purposes:

*
(1) for regulating the conduct of the proprietors and drivers of such vehicles in their several employments, and for determining whether such drivers should wear any and what badges, and for regulating the hours within which they may exercise their calling5;
*
(2) for regulating the manner in which the number of each carriage, corresponding with the number of its licence, is to be displayed6;
*
(3) for regulating the number of persons to be carried by such hackney carriages, and in what manner such number is to be shown on such carriage, and what number of horses or other animals is to draw the same, and the placing of check strings to the carriages, and the holding of the same by the driver, and how such hackney carriages are to be furnished or provided;
*
(4) for fixing the stands of such hackney carriages and the distance which they may be compelled to take passengers not exceeding the prescribed distance;
*
(5) for fixing the rates or fares, as well for time as distance, to be paid for such hackney carriages within the “prescribed distance,” and for securing the due publication of such fares;
*
(6) for securing the safe custody and redelivery of any property accidentally left in such vehicles, and for fixing the charges to be made in respect of it.

12 s 68; Town Police Clauses Act 1889 s 6. As to the conduct of proprietors and drivers see Blackpool Local Board of Health v Bennett (1859) 4 H & N 127 (plying for hire at forbidden place); Mackenzie v Somerville (1900) 3 F 4, Ct of Sess (loitering); Murphy v Neilson (1901) 3 F 77, Ct of Sess (loitering); Derham v Strickland (1911) 104 LT 820, DC (touting); Dunning v Maher (1912) 106 LT 846, DC (provision of taximeter lamps). 

People have sometimes questioned the validity of certain byelaws. The following test should always be applied.

Validity of byelaws generally.

Four elements are essential to the validity of a byelaw:

(1) it must be within the powers of the local authority which makes it;

(2) it must not be repugnant to the law of England;

(3) it must be certain and positive in its terms; and

(4) it must be reasonable.

If a byelaw can be divided into separate and distinct parts it may be upheld in part even, if the rest is bad.

A byelaw ceases to be operative upon the repeal of the statute under which it was made unless it is preserved by the repealing statute.

A byelaw which has not been enforced for a long period may nevertheless be relied on in civil proceedings.
____________________

Meaning of ‘byelaw’.

A byelaw has been said to be an ordinance affecting the public, or some portion of the public, imposed by some authority clothed with statutory powers, ordering something to be done or not to be done, and accompanied by some sanction or penalty for its non-observance. Further, it involves the consequence that, if validly made, it has the force of law within the sphere of its legitimate operation. Byelaws are instruments in the nature of local enactments and are thus within the definition of local statutory provisions, whether made under a public general or a local Act.

Byelaws must not be repugnant to the general law.

A byelaw is invalid if it is repugnant to the general law of England. It is not bad merely because it deals with something with which the general law does not deal, or because it makes unlawful something which the general law does not make unlawful, or if it adds something which is not inconsistent with the general law, but it must not, expressly or by necessary implication, profess to alter the general law by making something unlawful which the general law makes lawful, or vice versa, or by adding something inconsistent with the provisions of a statute creating the same offence, or by depriving a defendant of a defence he would have under the general law. A byelaw adds something to the general law, but it must not be contrary to or inconsistent with it.

A byelaw is not necessarily inconsistent with the general law merely because it is more stringent or more detailed in its demands. Where a statute requires in an offence a particular element, that element must, it seems, be present also in a corresponding offence under byelaws, and a penalty imposed by statute for an offence may not be increased by byelaw.

Cab drivers urged to take precautions to ensure their safety

Police officers in Ayrshire are cracking down on taxi robberies in the run up to the busiest weekend of the year.

Following two incidents in the past week when drivers were robbed of their takings, police officers have been visiting around 200 taxi drivers across Ayrshire with crime prevention advice in a bid to keep them safe and secure over the pre-Christmas weekend.

Both drivers in the recent robberies saw three-figure sums of money stolen from them but also felt badly shaken by their ordeals, particularly as one was threatened by knifepoint.

All this week, officers have been carrying out their Festive Taxi Safety and Prevention Initiative by talking to taxi companies, advising taxi marshals, engaging with cab drivers and bus companies on important crime prevention advice. In addition, divisional road policing units will be stopping taxi drivers and providing them with security advice whilst working.

With more people going out to enjoy the festivities, the number of taxi journeys increase, resulting in greater amounts of cash being handled by taxi firms. This can leave cab drivers more vulnerable to robberies if they keep large sums of cash in their vehicle.

Drivers have been urged to radio in to their base if they feel at risk of robbery or assault, which will be relayed to the police immediately. There will also be a heavier police presence at taxi stances in the key towns of Kilmarnock, Ayr and Irvine.

Chief Superintendent Gillian MacDonald, Divisional Commander at ‘U’ Division, said,

“This is a particularly busy time of year for taxi drivers, who will experience an increase in the number of journeys they make and hence the amount of cash they handle in any one night. The last weekend before Christmas is always a busy time for taxi firms but my officers have been engaging with taxi companies, marshals and drivers to provide guidance and advice in relation to keeping themselves and their cash safe.

“I would urge drivers to be vigilant and to avoid any passengers who may be acting suspiciously and call the police immediately if you feel you are at all at risk.”

Due to being a cash handling businesses, police are urging taxi drivers to take some sensible precautions when handling money:

• Don’t keep large amounts of money in your vehicle and bank regularly

• If banking is not possible make arrangements to store money securely on you or in a secure part of your vehicle

• Keep valuables out of site and don’t leave them in full view when vehicle is unattended

• Make sure colleagues are aware of your position

• If you have any suspicions don’t pick up the customer and contact police on 101 or 999 in an emergency

• Keep a mobile phone on you and ensure that it is charged

• Park in a well-lit and busy area between pick-ups

• If you are victim of a theft, robbery or other crime, do not further endanger your wellbeing, for example, in an attempt to retain your money

• Use the car horn to attract attention, if safe to do so

• Try and preserve items that may have been touched by those responsible, such as paper

• Ensure that police are contacted without delay

• If possible inform your colleagues via your taxi radio, providing descriptions of those involved

• If you see anyone that have been responsible for robbing a colleague do not challenge them. Inform police and monitor where they go, if safe to do so

Bill McIntosh, the General Secretary of the Scottish Taxi Federation, said:

“To rob taxi drivers at this time of year, particularly when their earnings are being relied upon to provide gifts for their own children and families, is reprehensible. It is only the lowest of the low who would prey on anyone like this, let alone taxi drivers, who are only trying to provide a much-needed service to their local communities.

“I would urge all taxi drivers to take advice from the police, keep alert at all times and keep cash and change out of sight. It would be good advice to drop off your takings at regular intervals so that you don’t carry large amounts of cash at any one time. If any of your passengers are acting suspiciously, use your radio to call for assistance and get your radio base to contact police. If you are concerned with behaviour of any intended passengers, don’t take them in the taxi and contact the police straight away. Do not put your own safety at risk under any circumstances.”

• Around 1840 hours on Wednesday 10 December, a 51 year-old taxi driver was dropping off a passenger on Warrix Avenue in Irvine when the same passenger then presented a knife and demanded the driver’s money. The lone suspect is described as a white man with a local accent aged in his late teens. He is described as being slim built and was wearing a light-coloured hooded top.

• At 0110 hours on Thursday 11 December, a 55 year old taxi driver was dropping off a fare in North Hamilton Street, Kilmarnock when the male attempted to defraud him. The taxi driver challenged him regarding this and the male produced what appeared to be a weapon. A 25 year old male has since been arrested in relation to this.

- See more at: http://www.cumnockchronicle.com/

Dec 19

Keighley private-hire battle goes to Parliament

At People First Keighley and Craven are, from left, back, Gerry Sutcliffe, Omar Sardar of People First, John Grogan and front, Tom Walsh and Keighley councillor Doreen Lee

A KEIGHLEY battle to win equality for disabled private-hire passengers has gone to Parliament.

An Early Day Motion has been tabled acknowledging the campaign and demanding wheelchair users be charged the same fares as the able-bodied.

The move follows a three-year fight by People First Keighley and Craven for a section of the Equality Act 2010 to be enacted.

“Ministers have the power to enact the clause, which would solve this problem,” said John Grogan, Labour’s Keighley parliamentary candidate. “I fail to see a good reason for further delay. It is simply a matter of basic justice that a wheelchair user should pay the same for a journey, in a vehicle suitable for them, as anybody else.”

He invited Bradford South Labour MP Gerry Sutcliffe to visit the People First Keighley and Craven offices at Springfield Mills in Oakworth Road. They discussed the issue with campaign leader, Tom Walsh.

Afterwards, Mr Walsh, 30, told the Keighley News he was delighted the matter was being raised in Parliament. He said: “Private hire drivers with accessible vehicles were charging double the fare for wheelchair users. That figure is now time-and-a-half but it is still totally wrong.

“The discrimination is still going on and we must put a stop to it. The fact is disabled people should not have to pay any extra.”

Mr Sutcliffe tabled the motion noting the importance of the campaign and calling on government to bring into force section 165 of the Equality Act. “Private hire firms that have vehicles designated as accessible by a local authority must carry passengers in wheelchairs without making an additional charge,” he said.

Research by People First showed many drivers charging double for disabled passengers. Mr Walsh was filmed by the BBC taking undercover taxi trips to expose discriminatory practices.

The controversy centres on the need for wheelchair users to travel in larger, adapted vehicles and the extra time drivers require to transport wheelchair-using customers.

Stuart Hastings, of private hire firm Metro Keighley, said his firm charged the correct fare but added: “Our disabled customers appreciate the additional work required and are happy to voluntarily pay more for the service our drivers provide.”

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

Dec 19

Fine for minicab driver caught illegally plying for trade in Stone

A STOKE minicab driver caught plying for trade illegally in Stone has been hit with a fine.

Usman Hussain, 23, was caught out as part of a crackdown on rogue minicab drivers by Staffordshire Police and Stafford Borough Council.

Stafford magistrates heard that Hussain, of Argyll Road, Longton, agreed to take a plain clothed policewoman and council officer to a local pub when they approached his Lucky Seven private hire vehicle in Stone’s Station Road. When the vehicle was stopped by a marked police car, Hussain told his passengers to “tell them you booked me from Granvilles”.

Julie Simpson, prosecuting for Stafford Borough Council, said “He also spoke on his radio saying “book me a job from Granvilles.” He then said again to his passengers “Tell them you booked me.”

Hussain admitted plying for hire in an unlicensed vehicle in August. He was given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a total of £236.10 costs by Stafford magistrates.

It is illegal for private hire drivers to collect customers in the street or from a minicab rank. They can only pick up passengers that have booked in advance.

Tac Hussain, defending, said: “This is an expensive fare for Mr Hussain. He accepts he was foolish but did not go deliberately plying for hire.
“His documents and vehicle were all in order and he was not initiating or actively seeking a fare.”

Hussain is now likely to go before a licensing panel at Stoke on Trent City Council, to see if he is a fit and proper person to hold a private hire licence, the court was told.

Speaking after the hearing Councillor Frank Finlay, cabinet member for environment and health, said: “We are determined to clamp down on private hire drivers who stick two fingers up at the law by coming into the borough and picking up residents with no prior booking.

“One of our top priorities is the health and wellbeing of our community and this operation aims to protect the public as they are at risk, because these vehicles will not be insured if they are picking up passengers in this way.”

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

Dec 19

Wembley minicab driver found guilty of killing former teacher of chef Heston Blumenthal

Kugannesan Balasubramaniam is facing jail (Pic credit: Central news)

A minicab driver from Wembley who killed a teacher after smashing into the back of his car has been found guilty of causing his death by careless driving.

Kugannesan Balasubramaniam, 31, Longley Avenue, collided into the classic sports car driven by Nick Sennett so hard it ‘folded like a penknife’ on the A40 Westway.

Mr Sennett, who was 58-year-old and taught economics at Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith, died at the scene on January 15 this year.

Southwark Crown Court heard Balasubramaniam, had been speeding at 48mph on the 40mph road and had worked for 90 hours in the previous seven days for the minicab company One to One.

The short-sighted driver also failed a basic number plate-reading eye test when officers attended the scene.

Balasubramaniam had denied a single charge of causing death by dangerous driving and was convicted by the alternative charge of causing death by careless driving.

He will be sentenced on January 15.

Warning him he faces jail, Judge Jeffrey Pegden QC told Balasubramaniam: “You should understand that the law makes it clear that a custodial sentence is likely but as you are a man of previous good character I order a pre-sentence report for that day.’

Mr Sennett was a former teacher of chef Heston Blumenthal OBE who attended the £15,700-a-year school.

Paying tribute to him shortly after his death, he said: “What made Nick stand out was his very calm, playful banter. He was one of those teachers you could be very comfortable around. He was really lovable, really funny, chilled out.”

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

Dec 19

Byelaws

byelaws

Byelaws.

A district council may make byelaws, in respect of hackney carriages for all or any of the following purposes:

*
(1) for regulating the conduct of the proprietors and drivers of such vehicles in their several employments, and for determining whether such drivers should wear any and what badges, and for regulating the hours within which they may exercise their calling5;
*
(2) for regulating the manner in which the number of each carriage, corresponding with the number of its licence, is to be displayed6;
*
(3) for regulating the number of persons to be carried by such hackney carriages, and in what manner such number is to be shown on such carriage, and what number of horses or other animals is to draw the same, and the placing of check strings to the carriages, and the holding of the same by the driver, and how such hackney carriages are to be furnished or provided;
*
(4) for fixing the stands of such hackney carriages and the distance which they may be compelled to take passengers not exceeding the prescribed distance;
*
(5) for fixing the rates or fares, as well for time as distance, to be paid for such hackney carriages within the “prescribed distance,” and for securing the due publication of such fares;
*
(6) for securing the safe custody and redelivery of any property accidentally left in such vehicles, and for fixing the charges to be made in respect of it.

12 s 68; Town Police Clauses Act 1889 s 6. As to the conduct of proprietors and drivers see Blackpool Local Board of Health v Bennett (1859) 4 H & N 127 (plying for hire at forbidden place); Mackenzie v Somerville (1900) 3 F 4, Ct of Sess (loitering); Murphy v Neilson (1901) 3 F 77, Ct of Sess (loitering); Derham v Strickland (1911) 104 LT 820, DC (touting); Dunning v Maher (1912) 106 LT 846, DC (provision of taximeter lamps). 

People have sometimes questioned the validity of certain byelaws. The following test should always be applied.

Validity of byelaws generally.

Four elements are essential to the validity of a byelaw:

(1) it must be within the powers of the local authority which makes it;

(2) it must not be repugnant to the law of England;

(3) it must be certain and positive in its terms; and

(4) it must be reasonable.

If a byelaw can be divided into separate and distinct parts it may be upheld in part even, if the rest is bad.

A byelaw ceases to be operative upon the repeal of the statute under which it was made unless it is preserved by the repealing statute.

A byelaw which has not been enforced for a long period may nevertheless be relied on in civil proceedings.
____________________

Meaning of ‘byelaw’.

A byelaw has been said to be an ordinance affecting the public, or some portion of the public, imposed by some authority clothed with statutory powers, ordering something to be done or not to be done, and accompanied by some sanction or penalty for its non-observance. Further, it involves the consequence that, if validly made, it has the force of law within the sphere of its legitimate operation. Byelaws are instruments in the nature of local enactments and are thus within the definition of local statutory provisions, whether made under a public general or a local Act.

Byelaws must not be repugnant to the general law.

A byelaw is invalid if it is repugnant to the general law of England. It is not bad merely because it deals with something with which the general law does not deal, or because it makes unlawful something which the general law does not make unlawful, or if it adds something which is not inconsistent with the general law, but it must not, expressly or by necessary implication, profess to alter the general law by making something unlawful which the general law makes lawful, or vice versa, or by adding something inconsistent with the provisions of a statute creating the same offence, or by depriving a defendant of a defence he would have under the general law. A byelaw adds something to the general law, but it must not be contrary to or inconsistent with it.

A byelaw is not necessarily inconsistent with the general law merely because it is more stringent or more detailed in its demands. Where a statute requires in an offence a particular element, that element must, it seems, be present also in a corresponding offence under byelaws, and a penalty imposed by statute for an offence may not be increased by byelaw.

Dec 19

Cab drivers urged to take precautions to ensure their safety

Police officers in Ayrshire are cracking down on taxi robberies in the run up to the busiest weekend of the year.

Following two incidents in the past week when drivers were robbed of their takings, police officers have been visiting around 200 taxi drivers across Ayrshire with crime prevention advice in a bid to keep them safe and secure over the pre-Christmas weekend.

Both drivers in the recent robberies saw three-figure sums of money stolen from them but also felt badly shaken by their ordeals, particularly as one was threatened by knifepoint.

All this week, officers have been carrying out their Festive Taxi Safety and Prevention Initiative by talking to taxi companies, advising taxi marshals, engaging with cab drivers and bus companies on important crime prevention advice. In addition, divisional road policing units will be stopping taxi drivers and providing them with security advice whilst working.

With more people going out to enjoy the festivities, the number of taxi journeys increase, resulting in greater amounts of cash being handled by taxi firms. This can leave cab drivers more vulnerable to robberies if they keep large sums of cash in their vehicle.

Drivers have been urged to radio in to their base if they feel at risk of robbery or assault, which will be relayed to the police immediately. There will also be a heavier police presence at taxi stances in the key towns of Kilmarnock, Ayr and Irvine.

Chief Superintendent Gillian MacDonald, Divisional Commander at ‘U’ Division, said,

“This is a particularly busy time of year for taxi drivers, who will experience an increase in the number of journeys they make and hence the amount of cash they handle in any one night. The last weekend before Christmas is always a busy time for taxi firms but my officers have been engaging with taxi companies, marshals and drivers to provide guidance and advice in relation to keeping themselves and their cash safe.

“I would urge drivers to be vigilant and to avoid any passengers who may be acting suspiciously and call the police immediately if you feel you are at all at risk.”

Due to being a cash handling businesses, police are urging taxi drivers to take some sensible precautions when handling money:

• Don’t keep large amounts of money in your vehicle and bank regularly

• If banking is not possible make arrangements to store money securely on you or in a secure part of your vehicle

• Keep valuables out of site and don’t leave them in full view when vehicle is unattended

• Make sure colleagues are aware of your position

• If you have any suspicions don’t pick up the customer and contact police on 101 or 999 in an emergency

• Keep a mobile phone on you and ensure that it is charged

• Park in a well-lit and busy area between pick-ups

• If you are victim of a theft, robbery or other crime, do not further endanger your wellbeing, for example, in an attempt to retain your money

• Use the car horn to attract attention, if safe to do so

• Try and preserve items that may have been touched by those responsible, such as paper

• Ensure that police are contacted without delay

• If possible inform your colleagues via your taxi radio, providing descriptions of those involved

• If you see anyone that have been responsible for robbing a colleague do not challenge them. Inform police and monitor where they go, if safe to do so

Bill McIntosh, the General Secretary of the Scottish Taxi Federation, said:

“To rob taxi drivers at this time of year, particularly when their earnings are being relied upon to provide gifts for their own children and families, is reprehensible. It is only the lowest of the low who would prey on anyone like this, let alone taxi drivers, who are only trying to provide a much-needed service to their local communities.

“I would urge all taxi drivers to take advice from the police, keep alert at all times and keep cash and change out of sight. It would be good advice to drop off your takings at regular intervals so that you don’t carry large amounts of cash at any one time. If any of your passengers are acting suspiciously, use your radio to call for assistance and get your radio base to contact police. If you are concerned with behaviour of any intended passengers, don’t take them in the taxi and contact the police straight away. Do not put your own safety at risk under any circumstances.”

• Around 1840 hours on Wednesday 10 December, a 51 year-old taxi driver was dropping off a passenger on Warrix Avenue in Irvine when the same passenger then presented a knife and demanded the driver’s money. The lone suspect is described as a white man with a local accent aged in his late teens. He is described as being slim built and was wearing a light-coloured hooded top.

• At 0110 hours on Thursday 11 December, a 55 year old taxi driver was dropping off a fare in North Hamilton Street, Kilmarnock when the male attempted to defraud him. The taxi driver challenged him regarding this and the male produced what appeared to be a weapon. A 25 year old male has since been arrested in relation to this.

- See more at: http://www.cumnockchronicle.com/

Dec 19

Suspension for Llanelli taxi driver who mocked passengers on Twitter

A LLANELLI taxi driver who took pictures of his passengers and mocked them on Twitter will face a 21-day licence suspension.

In October, Richard Lee Evans posted pictures of his customers, their names, addresses, calling them such names as “Shrek”.

Mr Evans apologised through the media for his actions, calling it “a bit of fun”, but the matter was brought before a licensing inquiry at Carmarthenshire Council.

At an inquiry it emerged that a man known as Jason, who Mr Evans had called “Shrek”, is registered blind and suffers with a number of disabilities.

Public health services manager Sue Watts provided statements before the licensing committee yesterday on the impact Mr Evans’s actions had on his photographed customers.

Reading a letter on behalf of Jason’s auntie, Ms Watts said: “Mr Evans has humiliated my nephew by taking his picture and referring to him as ‘Shrek’.

“As a family we are proud of how our nephew deals and copes with his disability.

“He tries to lead a normal life and to fit in with society.

“Since the incident we have seen a change in his personality — he has become withdrawn, has lost confidence and believes that people in the community are now pointing at him and calling him Shrek.

“Mr Evans chose four elderly people and one blind person to have a joke with his friends. Vulnerable people.”

Mr Evans said he had seen Jason yesterday morning, the first time he had seen him since the incident had occurred, and had apologised to him.

The committee also heard a statement from the daughter of one of the elderly ladies Mr Evans had photographed.

It heard that following Mr Evans posting the woman’s picture on Twitter he visited her home to explain what he had done and that he had hoped she would not complain as he might lose his job.

The letter went on to say that, confused by the visit, the elderly woman thought she had done something wrong that would cause Mr Evans to lose his job, and spent sleepless nights worrying about it.

“She is now very distressed, and also frightened that if action is taken he may come to the house again,” the letter read.

“I am appalled that someone in a position of trust could act in this irresponsible, vindictive way.”

Speaking at the inquiry, Mr Evans said: “I want to clean up the mess that I have made.

“The Mr Evans that you see today is the Mr Evans the taxi driver — polite, always smartly dressed.

“I admit it was very foolish and there was no malice intended.

“I want to apologise to everyone that I have harmed or caused offence to.”

The licensing committee chose to suspend Mr Evans of his taxi licence for 21 days.

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

Dec 18

Minicab driver who stole petrol had fallen on hard times

A MINICAB driver who fell on hard times and ended up in court for making off from petrol stations and not paying for diesel he took to get him on the road, has received a conditional discharge from magistrates.

The solicitor for Delta minicab driver and part-time hair dresser Paul Neilson, 26, of Jubilee Road, Crosby, said at Sefton Magistrates Court on December 10, that he ran into difficulties following the birth of his first child when his partner was taken into hospital for four months.

Not only was he an inexperienced dad looking after his baby with the help of a family member, but he was inexperienced at managing the home finances, and also had to continue working.

Even when working long hours he could only earn about £60-70 per week on the minicab after shelling out for radio costs, car hire purchase, insurance and associated expenses, solicitor Mike Leeman said.

He had taken to filling up in the mornings at petrol stations and then returning later in the day to pay for it, he said. He did that on 12 occasions but on four occasions in June, August and September he failed to return and pay which led to him landing up in court.

“It was desperate times and desperate needs. He went about this offence for the right reasons but he could have problem solved in a different way,” he said.

“He is very ashamed of his actions. In times of trouble and need he should not resort to criminal activity.” 

Granting him a conditional discharge for 18 months, the magistrates said: “Your solicitor has told us of the domestic circumstances.

While trying to understand you will be the first to say that does not condone what you did. What you did was wrong, simple as that.

”However, we have taken into account your early guilty pleas and your personal circumstances.“

Ordering that he pay £115 in costs and victim surcharge he was made to £70 in compensation to the garages.

Dec 18

Birmingham minicab driver fined for guide dog refusal

Sue Smith was refused a journey by minicab driver Shazad Ahmad

A minicab driver has been fined £2,100 for refusing to carry a blind woman and her guide dog.

Shahzad Ahmad, from Hodge Hill in Birmingham, claimed his six-seater people carrier was not big enough to take Sue Smith’s Labrador.

It is an offence for a minicab driver not to take a blind person and their guide dog unless they have a medical exemption certificate for an allergy.

The 32-year-old was convicted at Birmingham Magistrates Court.

Mr Ahmad was found guilty in his absence after denying the charge in October.

His contract with minicab firm T.C Cars was discontinued following the refusal in April.

“Some drivers may have a fear of dogs but it is a legal requirement,” said Sue Bushell from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

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

Dec 18

Applications for taxi licences in Gedling halved after knowledge test introduced

Drivers flocked from Derby to get their plates in Gedling

APPLICATIONS for taxi licences in a Nottinghamshire borough plagued with submissions from drivers outside the county have almost halved.

Figures obtained by The Post show that an average of 70 taxi licences have been applied for in Gedling since a knowledge test was introduced in May.

In the 12 months before the test was introduced, the borough saw an average of 135 requests a month – 1,629 in the financial year 2013-2014.

Nick Wood, operations manager at Alert Cars Ltd in High Street, Arnold, welcomed the news.

He said: “We found the problem with all the drivers coming from all over was that is slowed the application process down. You would wait more than 12 weeks to get a driver licensed.”

Mr Wood said all his local drivers took the test and not one failed.

“It’s better for local drivers now,” said Mr Wood. “I heard that quite a few out-of-town drivers failed the test. That should speed up the process and it already seems like it’s making a difference. Customers want drivers who know the area. Mine do, and by having this test it only helps.”

Gedling had become a hotspot for drifting applications as it saw 1,629 between 2013 and 2014. In the city, 420 applied in the same timeframe while Broxtowe had 211 requests and Rushcliffe just seven.

The figures, requested through the Freedom of Information Act, show that there was more than twice the number of applications in Gedling than the three other authorities combined.

Applications in Gedling rose from 720 in 2011-12 to 1,017 in 2012-13 and 1,629 last year. There have been 567 applications since May this year.

Gedling Borough Council reported applications from driver from as far away as Plymouth and many drivers from Derby had been whizzing down the A52 since Derby City Council introduced its own knowledge test.

Mark Keenan, managing director at Western Cars in Derby said: “I’m glad to hear Gedling have done something about it. Drivers were getting their badges in Gedling but working in Derby. A lot of them didn’t know the city at all.

“But we still have the problem. They have started going to councils in Birmingham because they haven’t got a knowledge test yet.”

But in April, more than 100 drivers from outside of the borough protested against the introduction of a knowledge test outside Gedling’s council house in Arnot Hill Park Arnold.

They said the £35 test was an unneeded extra cost on top of paying for their plates as well as cars that are less than five years old and a full annual service history.

Deputy council leader Councillor Michael Payne said reducing the number of applications means the council is ensuring the highest standard of drivers for local people.

“The knowledge test has been a further step in improving the quality of the taxi service in the borough,” he said.

“We have got some top quality drivers in Gedling and we would expect those who operate in the borough to pass.”

Councillor Payne took the test himself, and passed.

“We are not asking for anything unreasonable. Regular drivers in the borough should be able to pass. I think residents in Gedling would expect their taxi drivers to know where they are going.”

Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/

Dec 16

Wembley minicab driver accused of killing teacher in A40 crash

A frustrated minicab driver from Wembley rammed into the back of a car so hard it ‘folded like a penknife’ and killed the driver during the morning rush hour, a court heard.

Kugannesan Balasubramaniam, 31, of Longley Avenue, allegedly ploughed his Peugeot car into the 1963 MGB convertible roadster at 48mph on the A40 Westway.

Nick Sennett, who had hired the vintage vehicle, suffered serious head injuries as his car was shunted forward violently in the four-car crash on April 16.

The 58-year-old, who taught economics at Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith, died at the scene.

Southwark Crown Court heard Balasubramaniam had just collected a sixth-form student from Heathrow Airport and was taking her to an address in northwest London when the accident occurred.

Mr Bleaney told the court: “Shortly before the collision she noticed the defendant making a mobile phone call, she thinks the phone was put to his ear rather than using a hands-free system but perhaps more importantly she started to pay attention to what was going on in front of her.

“She simply watched as the defendant drove into a car in front.

“The MGB folded like a penknife.”

The force of Balasubramaniam’s ramming also shunted cars ahead of the MGB in the four-car crash, jurors heard.

Balasubramaniam told officers the car pulled suddenly in front of him into his braking distance, the court heard.

A tracking device inside the vehicle recorded the minicab driver was speeding at 48mph on the 40mph road, jurors heard.

He was also overworked, having worked 90 hours in the previous seven days for the minicab company One to One, it was said.

Balasubramaniam denies a single charge of causing death by dangerous driving.

The trial continues.

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

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