Aggressive minicab driver, violently threatens Taxi driver

This is what Taxi drivers in London have to face, every night of the week.

Warning: contains violent profanity.

The video above was filmed outside Stringfellows Club in Upper St Martins Lane. The protagonist works for Stringfellows.

The reason drivers have to endure such confrontations is due mainly to the non-enforcement policy of the TfL’s Cab Enforcement and compliance units.

Night after night compliance teams can be found doing Badge and Bill checks at mainline stations, but never, repeat never attempt to check documents of PH drivers illegally forming minicab ranks outside clubs bars and hotels.

TfL have turned a blind eye to this illegal behaviour for many years and now the touts believe they have the right to form impromptu ranks anywhere they please. 

Many PHV drivers park on Taxi ranks, simply because they have less chance of getting a ticket from wardens who just walk by, even though it has been long established they have the right to issue PCNs, it just doesn’t happen.

Courageous Driver:

The driver in this clip showed amazing self control in the face of such a violent abusive attack. 

He told Taxi Leaks that he took the video to the police and as a result of viewing the footage they flatly refused to act, saying there was a lack of evidence and at no point did he appeared to be worried, threatened of harassed by the outburst. 

This was a discussing verbal attack on a licensed Taxi driver by a licensed private hire driver. 

Had it been the other way round, the Taxi driver would have had the book thrown at him and possibly lost his bill.

Editorial Comment:

Most of the Taxi Drivers who attended the peaceful demonstration in Whitehall last year were served copies of the public order act 1985. It seems the Met only use this legislation to suit their own needs and agendas.

The Met need to be informed they swear a duty to uphold all laws, not just the ones that suit them.

Looking at the act itself below, as a layman I would say the minicab driver contravened both sec 4 and sec 4a. 

I firmly believe the police were wrong to take no action against the PH driver, in light of the video footage and subsequent statement from the Taxi driver. 

Public Order Act: 1985

Sec 4

Fear or provocation of violence.

(1)A person is guilty of an offence if he—

(a)uses towards another person threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or

(b)distributes or displays to another person any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

with intent to cause that person to believe that immediate unlawful violence will be used against him or another by any person, or to provoke the immediate use of unlawful violence by that person or another, or whereby that person is likely to believe that such violence will be used or it is likely that such violence will be provoked.

(2)An offence under this section may be committed in a public or a private place, except that no offence is committed where the words or behaviour are used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation is distributed or displayed, by a person inside a dwelling and the other person is also inside that or another dwelling.

(3)A constable may arrest without warrant anyone he reasonably suspects is committing an offence under this section.

(4)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or both.

Sec 4AIntentional harassment, alarm or distress.

(1)A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he—

(a)uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or

(b)displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

thereby causing that or another person harassment, alarm or distress.

(2)An offence under this section may be committed in a public or a private place, except that no offence is committed where the words or behaviour are used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation is displayed, by a person inside a dwelling and the person who is harassed, alarmed or distressed is also inside that or another dwelling.

(3)It is a defence for the accused to prove—

(a)that he was inside a dwelling and had no reason to believe that the words or behaviour used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation displayed, would be heard or seen by a person outside that or any other dwelling, or

(b)that his conduct was reasonable.

(4)A constable may arrest without warrant anyone he reasonably suspects is committing an offence under this section.

(5)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or both.]


Illegal taxi drivers to pay nearly £2,800

Three illegal taxi drivers caught in Manchester have been ordered to pay a total of £2,785 after being prosecuted for breaking licensing rules.

In separate incidents, Manchester City Council officers routinely operating in the city centre observed the illegal activity.

Gary Edward Young was fined £1,050 with £655 costs and a £55 victim of crime surcharge. Young was also given eight penalty points after pleading guilty to operating an unlicensed private hire vehicle, operating as an unlicensed private hire driver and driving without insurance.

During the morning of Wednesday 25 June 2014, council officers observed Young drop off two passengers at Piccadilly Station, exchange money and provide a receipt. When challenged by officers, Young initially denied any offences – despite a working taxi-meter in the front of the vehicle showing a current fare of £28.50.

Young, 70, of Lymington Close, Middleton, pleaded guilty to all of the charges at Manchester Magistrates Court on 9 February 2015.

Mohammed Habib was fined £250 with £350 costs and a £25 victim of crime surcharge after pleading guilty to illegally plying for hire.

At around 2am on 4 May 2014, council officers observed two passengers flag down Habib’s Rossendale registered Hackney carriage on Deansgate. Only a Black Cab licensed by Manchester City Council is able to collect fares off the street without a booking.

Officers established that the passengers had agreed a £10 fare for a journey of less than a mile.

Habib, aged 30 and of Swayfield Avenue, Longsight, pleaded guilty to the offence of illegally plying for hire at Manchester Magistrates Court on 10 February 2015.

Sarmad Salih Abdulahi, 32, of Sandsend Close, Cheetham, was fined £220 with £160 costs and a £20 victim of crime surcharge. Abdulahi was also handed 6 penalty points after being found guilty of the offences of driving without insurance and being an unlicensed driver.

At 10am Wednesday 16 April 2014, council officers observed Abdulahi drop off a passenger at Piccadilly Station. The officers stopped Abdulahi and after interviewing advised he was to be prosecuted.

Abdulahi pleaded guilty to the charges at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on 18 February 2015, but declared special reasons for driving without insurance, stating he thought the car’s owner had insured him. This was dismissed by the Magistrates.

Cllr Kate Chappell, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Environment, said: “These three prosecutions serve as a warning to rogue drivers – the consequences for illegally operating any taxi are both serious and costly.

“Our officers are working day and night around the city – if you are caught operating illegally, we will not hesitate to prosecute you.”


Controversial taxi penalty points scheme to continue despite protests

A controversial penalty points system for taxi drivers introduced in November will continue despite protests from the trade.

Points are given to drivers by Aylesbury Vale District Council for contraventions such as failing to wear their identity badge (two points), have a first aid kit and fire extinguisher with them (three points), over-charging (three points), using taxi ranks if they are only for private hire (four points), and not maintaining their vehicle adequately (two to four points).

Once drivers reach 12 points it triggers a ‘review of the driver’s suitability to continue to be licensed’.

The points were first issued during a joint police and council operation on November 15.

However, the district council’s licensing boss Peter Seal admitted that ‘unfortunately it was not well received by a number of members of the private hire trade who, on the night threatened to protest’.

The Aylesbury Private Hire Association wrote to Mr Seal demanding that the points given on November 15 be quashed and the whole system reviewed. They wanted less points given out for each offence and to raise the threshold to 20 points before a driver is considered for suspension.

The letter added: “We do not wish to cause any disruption, or be put in a position where our drivers refuse to work due to the risk of them getting points on their license and ultimately risking or losing their livelihood. The council seem to be of the impression that they can just suspend or revoke a license as and when they feel, without giving any proper regard to causing unemployment or putting an individual in difficulty.”

However, the council has refused to quash the points given out so far and in a report to councillors on the licensing committee, which meets on March 2, Mr Seal says the scheme will continue unchanged.

A total of 80 points had been handed out to taxi drivers up to February 15. The majority was for not wearing a badge in a prominent position. Points for major vehicle defects were given out on three occasions for tyre pressure being below the legal limit and a boot which could not be opened.


Private hire car driver fined for touting for business during Cheltenham Gold Cup week


A private hire driver has been fined for touting for business in Cheltenham during Gold Cup week.

Boubacar Diallo, was ordered by the town’s Magistrates’ Court to pay a total of £718.50 in fines and costs, after he was convicted of plying for

The court heard that Diallo, from James Street, Gloucester, picked up two members of the public who had earlier been seen unsuccessfully attempting to flag down a legitimately licensed taxi. The incidents were witnessed by officers from Cheltenham Borough Council, who brought the prosecution.

Private hire drivers are only allowed to carry pre-booked passengers; they are not allowed to pick up customers from the street. Only Hackney carriage drivers can do that.

Cabinet member for development and safety, Andy McKinlay, said: “Drivers and vehicles not licensed by the council do put public protection and safety at risk.

“People must make sure they only get into a Cheltenham Borough Council licensed vehicle and that the journey is properly booked and recorded.”

Louis Krog, licensing and business support team leader, added: “This successful prosecution should send out a message that the council will deal with out-of-town drivers that illegally ply for hire, not least because of the risk this poses to public safety but also we need to protect the interest of the local trade during this very busy week.”

Read more:

Guildford taxi drivers demand judicial review over licence fee charges

Mark Rostron, secretary of the Guildford Hackney Association

The Guildford Hackney Association think that drivers have been ‘overcharged’ for years

Angry cabbies are demanding a judicial review into what they regard as historic overcharging over their licence fees.

The Guildford Hackney Association (GHA) has been involved in a long and bitter dispute with Guildford Borough Council, making applications to the ombudsman and threatening to strike, over what it sees as the ‘injustice’ of charges set by the licensing department, going back more than 20 years.

The charges for 2015-16 were agreed by the borough executive last month, but the council last week accepted recommendations by officials to reduce the figures – some by more than 50%.

The charges vary, depending on whether the application is a renewal, replacement or a new licence.

Mark Rostron, secretary of the GHA, said: “That’s some dip, from £100 to £48, so they are quite a big lowering in things such as the changing of plates per vehicle.

“Unfortunately, these fees and issues are really infrequent and when they come about have to be paid.

“We are concerned about the annual taxing, which has gone up by 12.9%, and drivers’ licences have gone up by 14.9%.

“This situation is so bad and has been on going for so long we are going to apply for a judicial review.

“If you just change your car that has gone down by more than 52% so blatantly they were overcharging and for what? Just a plastic plate, a piece of paper, and 10 minutes of a clerk’s time.

“We welcome some of the fees going down, but it seems like they have partially relieved an injustice which has been in place for more than 20 years.”

The charges were approved on February 11 but Councillor David Goodwin predicted that questions would be raised.

He said: “I welcome the reduction to taxi charges, which is up to 58% in some cases, and think it is good for taxis drivers and their customers.

“However, it goes to prove that Guildford Borough Council has been overcharging the taxis for many years.

“Some of the changes are only 50p one way or the other. However, some are up to 58% reductions.

“While I welcome reductions and I am quite sure the taxi trade will welcome reductions, it does beg the question what has been going on for all this time?

“Because the only explanation here is that the review was led into the mechanisms and recordings of charges.”

Cllr Paul Spooner, the lead councillor for licensing and governance, explained: “Each year we calculate the cost of processing and issuing different types of licences, and these costs are used to set fees and charges.

“We have been working hard to streamline the processes we use for licensing taxis, private hire vehicles and drivers.

“As a result we have reduced some of the fees for 2015-16.

“This will certainly benefit drivers, who can choose to pass on these savings to their customers.

“We set the maximum fares that can be charged, but drivers can agree lower fares with their customers.”


Aug 08

Council orders cabbie to rip out CCTV

Eddie Black has installed CCTV cameras to curb racist attacks

A TAXI operator who installed CCTV in his cab to help curb racist attacks has blasted the council for forcing him to remove it.

Eddie Black, 60, who operates a black Hackney and was a taxi driver for 25 years before retiring, made the move to protect the driver of his cab.

Dad-of-two Nadeem Hussain, who has been working for Eddie for 15 months and has been driving taxis for eight years, said he has suffered several incidents of racial abuse while at work.

The 39-year-old from Rutherglen said he felt the situation improved significantly when the CCTV system was in place because customers knew they were being recorded.

Mr Black installed the £550 CCTV system in his cab on April 15 this year.

The council’s licensing inspection team failed the taxi in June because of the CCTV and the stickers on the vehicle which said it had surveillance in it.

It meant Eddie had to remove the cameras if he wanted to keep the cab on the road.

Glasgow City Council does not allow surveillance equipment in taxis, but bosses are reviewing the current policy.

Mr Hussain said: “I shouldn’t have to put up with being abused at work.

“I have to put up with comments about Muslims.

“Eddie said he was going to install a CCTV system because I was getting so much grief.”

Mr Hussain said he was “grateful” to his boss for making a stand.

He said: “I had the unit for about three months. It was fantastic.

“People changed the way they were with me in the car because they knew they couldn’t get away with the same things.

“The Information Commissioners’ office has guidelines on what you’re supposed to do to operate the system.

“We followed everything to a T.

“The system is encrypted and unaccessible, and password protected as well.

“Patons, the company it came from, are the data controllers, and footage would only be accessed if there was an issue.”

The system consisted of four cameras; one pointing ahead, one looking back, one pointing at the driver and another looking onto the back seats.

Mr Black from Knightswood said: “It’s a godsend for the police, it’s a godsend for the passengers as well as the driver.

“If somebody wants to make a complaint about you it’s on camera. That happens regularly in the taxi trade.

“Night clubs have cameras. So do corner shops and pubs. So why can’t we?

The row erupted after another group of cab drivers called for CCTV to be allowed in city taxis.

As reported in the Evening Times last month, The Scottish Ethnic Private Hire Welfare Association, which represents nearly 150 ethnic minority drivers, said their members needed to feel safer at work, after experiencing racism and hate crimes.

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “We have been looking at the arguments for and against adopting CCTV in the taxi fleet for some time – and the proposal is included in a review of policies that is currently underway.”


Aug 08

Cab drivers say council colours make taxis look like ‘dustbin cars’

Hackney carriage taxi drivers are now required to brand their vehicles in Royal Borough colours under new council guidelines.

Drivers must use a white vehicle, with a purple boot and bonnet, and place a borough logo on the side when they change their transportation.

The move, implemented by the council’s licensing panel in April, was made to distinguish the taxis from private hire and dangerous unlicensed vehicles – but one driver says it makes them look like ‘dustbin cars.’

Taxi driver Mohammed Sulaman said: “It’s making life hard for us.

“The logo is the same as the ones on the dustbin cars. We are providing a service and our customers are people, not rubbish.”

Cllr Carwyn Cox (Con, Hurley and Walthams), a member of the licensing panel, responded by stating the new-look cars were smart and public safety should take precedence following a string of recent attacks involving unlicensed vehicles posing as taxis.


Aug 08

Convicted Haverhill taxi driver fears for his professional future

A taxi driver who had his license to trade suspended after his arrest for assault fears he will never get it back after his conviction and sentencing for the offence.

Derek Sullivan voiced his concerns when he was sentenced at Bury Magistrates Court last Thursday (August 1) after his conviction last month for driving his car in an intimidating and menacing way towards a six-year-boy.

The 51-year-old, of Chester Court, Haverhill, had been found guilty by magistrates following a trial of a charge of common assault against the boy on September 20, 2012.

Sullivan had got in his car and driven from his home to the nearby Leiston Road car parking area in order to confront the child, who cannot be named due to legal reasons, who he thought had punched his own son – an attack Sullivan said was not the first of its kind.

However, magistrates convicted him of the common assault charge because they felt he had behaved of behaving in a way which put the boy in fear of immediate and unlawful violence.

Sullivan was sentenced by magistrates to serve a 12 month community order, with a supervision order also running for 12 months to address the reason for his offending.

At the time of last September’s offence Sullivan was serving a 12 month conditional discharge for a previous conviction of assault. The breach of the discharge was also factored into his sentence.

At his sentencing, Sullivan told magistrates that St Edmundsbury Council had suspended his taxi driver’s licence following the Leiston Road incident and he has not worked since.

The taxi firm he ran with his wife now has no employees other than her after two drivers on the payroll had to leave.

He also said that because he had his license suspended for a number of months after his previous conviction had been unable to work and was declared bankrupt the day after the incident with the little boy.

Sullivan said: “The council suspended me straight away for, in their words, ‘not being a fit and proper person to drive a taxi.’

“I don’t think I’m going to get it back.

“The council has not even heard my side of the story, they’ve just suspended me.

“I don’t know If I’m ever going to get my license back, probably 99 per cent no.

“If my wife gives up her job and shuts the business we would only have dole money and I’ve got a mortgage to pay and it wouldn’t even cover that, so financially it’s not very good.”

Sullivan was also ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge, £100 in compensation to the boy and courts costs of £200.


Aug 07

Taxi driver row ends in violent assault at rank

Taxi driver Mohammed Naukhez

A TAXI driver ‘repeatedly punched’ a fellow driver following a row at a rank outside Burton Railway Station, a court heard.

Mohammed Naukhez, 57, of Grange Street, Burton, launched into an attack on Munawar Ali after a row erupted over fares.

Mr Ali became incensed after Naukhez parked his taxi at the front of the queue at the rank in Station Street, which regularly picks up passengers coming from the train station, with Naukhez said to have broken an ‘unwritten rule’ widely recognised among drivers.

Burton Magistrates’ Court heard how Mr Ali, who was parked at the back of the queue, got out of his car and approached Naukhez, who has worked as a taxi driver for more than 30 years, who was said to have become aggressive before launching into the assault.

Father-of-five Naukhez, who was suspended following the incident on April 23, had claimed that he acted in self-defence, but that was rejected in court where he was found guilty.

Emma Thompson, prosecuting, said: “Mr Ali said he grabbed hold of him only to prevent further attack. He was then punched repeatedly in the face, thrown around and kicked in the stomach. Mr Naukhez said ‘I am going to kill you’.”

The court heard how Mr Ali had been left with a bruised eye and a bloody nose following the attack

Naukhez was handed a six-month community order and was also ordered to pay £175 compensation to Mr Ali.

John Skinner, defending, said it was currently unclear whether Naukhez would return to driving a taxi.

He said: “This was an isolated incident involving an argument over taxi spaces. He is a 57-year-old man with no previous convictions.

“He has been unable to work for the last three months, clearly that has had a financial impact on himself. Although he optimistic of regaining his licence he has not had that confirmed yet, and I am a little more pessimistic as to how long that will be.”


Aug 07

Taxi driver jailed for running down road worker

AN impatient taxi driver has been jailed for running down a road worker on the A49.

Ronald Payne deliberately hit Ewan Chalmers after being told that he could not use a section of the main road between Hereford and Ross-on-Wye.

Worcester Crown Court heard that Payne was travelling at a speed of around “20 to 30 miles per hour” when he hit Mr Chalmers.

Payne, aged 61 and from The Claytons, Bridstow, near Ross-on-Wye, admitted dangerous driving and common assault at last week’s hearing.

Michael Conroy, prosecuting, said a row broke out when Mr Chalmers told Payne that he could not pass through a set of road works at 9pm on June 24.

Mr Conroy said: “You hit Mr Chalmers, according to him, at around 20-30 miles per hour.

“He found himself on the bonnet of the car and was carried 50-60 metres before falling into the road.

“You, Mr Payne, told the police you drove off and left him there because you thought ‘he looked alright’.”

Mr Chalmers did not suffer any major injuries and was back to work the next day.

Payne, who has diabetes and cares for his 82-year-old mother, handed in his notice to the taxi company he was driving for knowing he was going to lose his job.

Mark Thompson, defending, said: “Mr Payne was ill with his diabetic condition at the time and needed to get home. This caused his momentarily lapse in concentration.

“He is also illiterate which has caused him embarrassment his whole life, he is a man who has always worked hard but had a hard life so far.

“This 61-year-old man has lost his livelihood already and with the situation with his 82-year-old mother, is not a man who would cope well with prison.”

However, Judge Toby Hooper jailed Payne for two months and imposed a 12-month driving ban.

He said: “I give you full credit for your plea of guilty, but this is an appalling case of reckless driving that could have resulted in death.”

Speaking after the sentencing, Wayne Norris, the Highways Agency lead officer for Midlands roadworker safety, said: “This case sends out a message that such behaviour will not be tolerated and drivers who abuse our workers will face the full weight of the law.”

And Kathryn Richardson, from Herefordshire’s highways contractor Amey, added: “We would like to remind road users that our employees are not simply roadworkers, they are mums, dads, husbands, wives, sons and daughters and we appeal to drivers to consider how they would feel about working in an area only a few feet from live traffic.”


Aug 07

Anti-smoking group blasts council’s move to ban e-cigs from taxis

Anti-smoking campaigners have blasted a council’s decision to ban passengers from smoking e-cigarettes in taxis.

St Helens Council decided to ban passengers from using e-cigarettes as they felt drivers would find it difficult to tell if they were smoking real cigs.

E-cigarettes are not covered by the smoking ban meaning they can be used in public areas unless a business or body introduces their own policy.

But anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health have described the decision as “regrettable” and are calling for the ban to be rescinded.

The ban is expected to provoke anger among sellers of the cigarettes who feel their use should be encouraged to help people quit smoking more harmful products.

A spokesperson for ASH said: “I think it is a regrettable decision as they are not tobacco products.

“Smokers use e-cigarettes to help cut down or even quit smoking so by banning them they are making it more difficult to those people.

“They wouldn’t put a ban on people using nicotine gum or patches so why do it with e-cigarettes.

“No-one likes breathing in cigarette fumes and they are so pungent it is easy for people to tell the difference between them and e-cigarettes.

“I think they should rescind the ban because quite simply there is no problem with smoking these cigarettes in public.”

The council is standing by its decision to ban the products while saying it would be “unfair” to expect taxi drivers to check what passengers were smoking.

A spokesperson for St Helens Council said: “The council’s Licensing Committee has approved a clear and easy-to-understand policy for taxis that makes it easier to enforce the general ‘no smoking’ rule in cabs.

“It prevents the smoking of both tobacco and e-cigarettes by either passengers or taxi drivers.

“E-cigarettes are obviously designed to look exactly like tobacco cigarettes and it would be unfair to expect drivers to start checking exactly what their passengers were smoking if there was a dispute.

“We believe this is a responsible attitude to take, bearing in mind that e-cigarettes are completely unregulated and the long term effects are unknown.

“Accordingly we will soon be launching a new policy, covering our own staff, that brackets e-cigarettes with tobacco products.

“We are also producing similar guidelines for local businesses and employers to consider as part of their own smoking policies.”


Aug 07

Anger as taxis park on double yellows

Taxis clogging up Foregate Street in WorcesterTaxis clogging up Foregate Street in Worcester

THEY say a picture is worth a thousand words…..but a few choice ones could suffice for angry motorists, pedestrians and businesses who see these taxi drivers clogging up Worcester’s Foregate Street on double yellow lines.

One month ago Worcester City Council admitted its penalty points system, meant to catch out unruly drivers, wasn’t as effective as it should be.

But tightening up the system doesn’t seem to have made a difference to one of the city’s main through-routes if this image is anything to go by.

Furious Chris Pate, from Andrew Grant estate agents in Foregate Street, who took the picture at 5.30pm on Tuesday, said: “This is what tends to happen every day.

“It’s absolutely commonplace, especially from 7pm when the taxi drivers think nobody is patrolling the area.

“You can see in the image how a bus was struggling to manoeuvre around the taxis as they all sit there on double yellow lines.

“From our point of view, we see it all the time and nothing seems to get done – I’m really angry about it.

“They sit there with the engine running. I reckon it’s only become a problem in the last two years.”

It follows years of steady rises which means the overall number of taxis went from 102 in 2001 to the current record high of 288.

The taxis often sit on the lines because the rank a few steps up the road is already full.

The city council has defended its record, and told your Worcester News traffic wardens visit Foregate Street “every day, several times a day”.

The authority also said parking on double yellow lines for a few moments to drop off passengers or pick one up is not illegal – and claims some drivers may be waiting for a booking which is late.

A spokesman said: “Our civil enforcement officers will issue penalty charge notices to cars – both taxis and private vehicles – parked illegally on double yellow lines.

“Taxi drivers who are caught parking illegally or over-ranking will also have points awarded against them, and that can lead to them being called before our licensing committee.”

Worcester Taxi Drivers Association is paying for a new, independent survey costing around £9,000 which could see a cap put on future numbers.

Mohammed Ali, from the association, says there are “too many taxis clogging up the streets” and is backing a clampdown.


Aug 07

Death cabbie in bid for new taxi licence

Aaron Todd

A SOUTH Tyneside cabbie who escaped a jail term after he was convicted of causing the death of a teenage passenger is bidding to return to the taxi trade, it has emerged.

Aaron Todd, 18, died from head injuries sustained after either exiting or falling out of Paul Stephenson’s Fiat Scudo on Hedworth Lane in Jarrow on March 29, 2009.

The teenager, of Kirkstone Avenue, Jarrow, died in hospital six days later.

Mr Stephenson, 63, of St Hilda Street, South Shields, was found guilty of causing death by careless driving at Newcastle Crown Court on May 4, 2010.

He was later sentenced to a nine-month prison term, suspended for 18 months, and banned from driving for 18 months.

Additionally, Mr Stephenson, a taxi driver with 30 years’ experience, had his licence to drive cabs revoked.

Now it has emerged that he submitted an application to return to the borough’s roads as a cabbie.

His bid to licensing officers at South Tyneside Council was subsequently rejected.

But an appeal against that decision is to be heard at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on Monday, September 30. Speaking at his home in South Shields earlier this week, Mr Stephenson declined to comment on his new taxi bid, saying only: “It all gets taken out of proportion. I don’t want to say anything.”

Meanwhile, Mr Todd’s mother, Karen Rutter, has also declined to comment on the move.

Sentencing at Teesside Crown Court on May 27, 2010, the judge, Mr Justice Davis, said Mr Todd, an apprentice joiner and talented footballer, had jumped from the vehicle as it moved off, banging his head on the road surface.

It was found that Mr Stephenson had caused the death of the teenager, who was with four friends at the time, by driving off with his cab door open.

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “Due to the ongoing legal proceedings, the council is unable to comment at this time.”


Aug 07

Marshals return to Brighton and Hove taxi ranks

Taxi marshals have returned to keep order at two of the city’s main taxi ranks.

Four taxi marshals have been funded by Sussex Police and supplied by Unite Security.

But Sussex Police was unable to say how much money is being spent on bringing back the scheme.

The marshals will be responsible for patrolling ranks at East Street and West Street in Brighton and Hove, between 1am and 5am on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Although taxi marshals have been used in the city before, the scheme was brought to an end two years ago when Government funding ran dry.

Sussex Police has worked in liaison with Brighton and Hove City Cabs’ managing director Andy Cheesman who has helped with the organisation of the scheme.

Local taxi companies have welcomed the return of the scheme.

Chief Inspector Simon Nelson said: “We are very pleased to fund the re-introduction of the taxi marshals because they help keep taxi queues safe, which helps us do our job of keeping the city safe for everyone.

“Taxi marshals have been a reassuring and valuable asset to Brighton’s night time economy for several years, but six months ago funding was no longer available for the role.

“Due to the vital part they play in reducing tension at taxi ranks and preventing potential crime, partners have successfully identified further funding and we’re delighted to welcome marshals back.

“Sussex Police and partners jointly fund a number of initiatives aimed at managing the city’s vibrant night time economy and keeping people safe.”

The marshals, who are equipped with radios that link them to the police, are tasked with keeping order in taxi queues and stopping people who have had too much to drink from getting in taxis.

Mr Cheesman said the marshals would be a benefit to everyone in the city.

He added: “They help people using taxis, the taxi drivers and the police.

“We are delighted the police are funding this initiative for the city.”


Aug 05

Firms fighting over station taxi rank bid

Drivers Mehrban Khan and Khadim Hussain

Cabbies and private hire drivers are at loggerheads over whether Shipley railway station should have a hackney carriage rank.

Mehrban Khan, a member of the Bradford Hackney Carriage Association, thinks the facility would benefit disabled passengers – saying that 95 per cent of the districts hackney cabs are wheelchair-friendly.

But manager of taxi firm AA Shipley, Craig Brook, which has a contract to provide a taxi service at the station, said his company was more than capable of providing wheelchair access to customers.

In April 2012 Bradford Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Panel instructed officers to look into setting up a hackney carriage taxi stand at the station. Now, Mr Khan is questioning why it has not happened.

His frustration is shared by the deputy leader of Bradford Council Imran Hussain, who blamed Network Rail for the delay.

Coun Hussain said: “We have been pursuing Northern Rail to get taxi ranks at Shipley and Keighley stations for the past two years.

“The key issue for me is the gross unfairness for disabled people who are not able to access taxis at these stations. We are disappointed with the action from Northern Rail and will continue to lobby them about this issue.”

Mr Khan added: “Quite a lot of trains come through Shipley. People change there for Bradford, Bingley and Keighley and at the moment people have to phone for a taxi. We can be there all the time.

“It would be better for disabled people if they had that,” he said.

Mr Brook insists that disabled access is not an issue and that his drivers get to customers within about 20 seconds of being called from a free-phone line at the station. He said a hackney carriage rank would mean his drivers could not pick-up there, as private taxis are not allowed to drive into cab ranks.

“It would cause traffic chaos,” he said.

“We have four minibuses that have been made wheelchair accessible from our company alone and I know there’s a couple more.

“We’ve regular customers that use us to transport wheelchairs. It’s not a call we get often though just out of the blue.”

Mark Nicholson, the general manager of Disability Advice Bradford, which is based in Dockfield Road, Shipley, said a hackney carriage rank would be beneficial for all passengers, but that there was no issue with disabled people using private hire vehicles.

“Some of our clients that come to see us on Dockfield Road, do have to call for a taxi from the station, so to have any form of rank there for anyone – disabled, the elderly or otherwise, from a convenience point of view would be of great benefit,” he said.

He added that the quality of disability access across taxi firms throughout Bradford was extremely high.

Network Rail did not provide a comment.


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