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Oct 23

Call for change in Scunthorpe taxi system after driver narrowly avoids losing licence

A CALL has been made for a ‘taxi queuing system’ to be put into place across the whole of Scunthorpe, following its success at the town’s train station.

The suggestion has been made by the chairman of the Scunthorpe and District Taxi Association and follows a case heard by North Lincolnshire Council during which one driver narrowly avoided losing his licence, following an incident at the station.

Abul Sadar, 64, appeared before a licensing sub-committee after he amassed 12 points on his DVLA Driving Licence for speeding and was pictured driving his taxi at Scunthorpe Train Station without his Hackney Carriage licence plate.

Mr Sadar – who pays the £500 annual payment needed to operate at the station – said that he was having his plate replaced and was at the station to meet a friend who supplies him with eggs and honey.

Mr Sadar told the licensing committee, “I went to see my friend because I get my eggs and honey from him. I went to see him for eggs or honey, not for a passenger.”

Mr Sadar said he would never consider picking up a passenger without his plate.

He said: “I can categorically say that they told me to pick up the plate from the office and said to come back a few hours later and this is what happened.

“I thought I had a bit of time, somebody took my picture and that was it.”

“I doubt very much it (his licence) will be renewed.”

A spokeswoman for North Lincolnshire Council said: “Mr Sadar appeared before the Licensing (Miscellaneous) Sub-Committee because he had amassed 12 points on his DVLA Driving Licence for speeding.

“All of these points were for excess speed. Although the Magistrates’ Court had not removed his DVLA Licence, the council is in a position whereby the licence needs to be considered to determine if he is a fit and proper person.

“In addition, we had received a complaint that Mr Sadar had been sat plying for hire on a Hackney Carriage Stand without the rear licence plate attached to the vehicle.

“Mr Sadar claims he went to the station to talk to a friend, but he parked his vehicle on a Hackney Carriage Stand and thus was plying for hire.

“Hackney Carriage stands are there for one purpose only – they cannot be used to park a vehicle, even if it is a Hackney Carriage.”

“As for renewing his licence, should he have 12 points on his Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Driver’s Licence we would refer him back to the committee. As he has four points, this will not have an impact.”

Mr Sadar blamed competition among taxi drivers for the incident and would like to see a the amount of Hackney Carriage licenses limited.
He said: “We have to work 18-19 hours a day. People try to make a living but it is very difficult, there are many drivers.”

Chairman of the Scunthorpe and District Taxi Association, John Fleming, 73, said: “Any driver can pick up a passenger at the station with a booking, but they can’t park there and pick up passengers without paying the £500 permit.”

Mr Fleming said he suggested introducing the queuing system at the train station three years ago.

“We agreed to put in a first come first serve service.

“If a passenger doesn’t go to the front of the queue we have to point them to the front. We would tell them to go to the first taxi.

“I would like to see the queue system at all ranks in Scunthorpe. We’ve had it for three years at the station and it works.”

“We would be happy to see the council limit the amount of Hackney Taxis, but if they are going to do it they would have to give people notice and introduce it gradually.”

“Some days you can be really busy and some days you can be really quiet but that is the nature of taxing.”

“I am sure most of the organisations would agree with him (Mr Sadar). We would definitely agree on a limit but you can’t just do it tomorrow.

“We would be quite happy to raise it with the council but we have to be realistic.

“You take the good with the bad.”

The spokeswoman for the council said that it can look at restricting the amount of hackney carriage licences issued, but an independent survey -which would be carried out every three years – would cost drivers a significant amount of money.

She said: “We would need to carry out an unmet demand survey every three years at a cost of about £30,000.

“This would be paid for by the Hackney Carriage trade. We cannot restrict private hire vehicles or drivers of either type of vehicle.”

Read more at http://www.scunthorpetelegraph.co.uk/

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