NTA Conference

The Annual General Meeting and Conference in 2017 will take place at the Sunderland Marriott Hotel, Queens Parade, Sunderland SR6 8DB

Conference Partners

The format will be as follows;
Monday 23rd October 2017
09:00 to 12:30; NTA Directors Meeting
14:00 to 17:00; Annual General Meeting
19:30hrs; NTA Chairman’s Dinner
Tuesday 24th October 2017
10:00 to 15:30 Conference





Booking form: Conf booking form 2017

Uber deserved to lose its licence – Londoners’ safety must come first

Our city is a hotbed of innovation and entrepreneurship. That’s because it’s renowned as a place where everyone has to play by the same rules

From the steam engine to the web, Britain has a long history of inventing and embracing brilliant new technology, often with London leading the way with the very latest developments.

In recent years, we have seen great leaps forward in areas such as green technology, medical innovations and contactless payments on the underground, but also with mobile phone applications that can make the lives of Londoners easier – whether it’s ordering food, renting a flat or doing financial transactions.

As we move through the next stage of 21st century innovation, I want London to continue to be at the forefront of these developments and to be a natural home for exciting new companies that help Londoners by providing a better and more affordable service.

I welcome and embrace these innovations – not only because they can improve the everyday lives of Londoners, but because they can spark new ideas for business, new possibilities for jobs in our city and new opportunities to cement London as a global capital of digital technology.

However, as with every other sector doing business in this city, from the financial services to manufacturing, all companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards we expect – above all when it comes to the safety of customers.

Providing an innovative service is not an excuse for it being unsafe.

Today, Transport for London has made the formal decision not to renew Uber’s operating licence. This was made independently by TfL as the regulator. I know this decision will be controversial in some quarters. Uber has become a popular service for many Londoners. But I fully understand the decision that has been taken.

It would be simply wrong for TfL to continue to license Uber if there was any way this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety or security. TfL has said it believes Uber’s conduct demonstrates a lack of corporate responsibility around a number of issues that have potential public safety and security implications. These include Uber’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences, and the way it obtains medical certificates and security checks (Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service) for their drivers.

All private-hire operators in London need to play by the rules. The safety and security of customers must be paramount.

Uber’s current licence does not expire until the end of September so the service will continue, for now. The company will also be able to continue to operate until the appeals process has been exhausted.

Around the world, new private-hire vehicle companies and other disruptive technology businesses are springing up all the time, with new and different ways of working. We know it is possible to combine innovative technology within these fields while also ensuring the necessary safety standards are met. It would not be right for exceptions to be made.

I have repeatedly said the regulatory environment is critical in protecting Londoners’ safety, maintaining workplace standards for drivers and sustaining a vibrant taxi and private hire market with space for a range of providers to flourish. It is not simply regulation for regulation’s sake.

One of the reasons why London has become such a success with international business over centuries is because of our professionalism and sense of British fair play, with transparent rules, laws and regulations. This ensures that all companies are treated equally – something we would never want to lose.

I suspect it will take some time before this situation with Uber fully plays out. In the meantime, I will continue my work to help support innovative businesses in London and to create a vibrant and safe taxi and private hire market.

During the mayoral election, I promised I would be the most pro-business mayor London has ever had. That promise is reflected in the work we are doing from City Hall to support companies and entrepreneurs who are reinventing and reviving many of our traditional business sectors.

As we go forward in the months and years ahead, I know London will continue to be an incredible hotbed of innovation and new technology, as well as a city where businesses understand that they have no choice but to adhere to the rules like everyone else – especially when it comes to the safety of Londoners.

• Sadiq Khan is the mayor of London

source: https://www.theguardian.com/

Tough new rules say all Scunthorpe Hackney Carriages must be white and female drivers can’t wear short skirts

The new rules have been laid down by North Lincolnshire Council, with all cabs to be white by December 2023

Tough new rules for cabbies including a ban on female drivers wearing short skirts are to be introduced by North Lincolnshire Council.

Under a new policy agreed by the authority’s licensing committee today (Thursday, September 21) all Hackney Carriage vehicles will have to be white by December 2023.

Committee members were told a standard livery was required to ensure the cabs were easily recognisable to members of the public.

All new and replacement vehicles will have have to conform to the new livery requirement before the deadline in six years’ time.

But Councillor Carl Sherwood was concerned passengers might have problems with the new livery as there were lots of white vehicles around.
Licensing manager Nick Bramhill pointed out the cars carried plenty of signage.

Female taxi drivers will be banned from wearing short skirts under new rules.

Councillor Steve Swift felt the new livery requirement did not go far enough and suggested extra markings on the vehicles.

Mr Bramhill said the trade bodies were quite happy with the rule as white vehicles were easier to source.

Under the new policy, applicants for licences will also have to demonstrate they are able to read and write in English.

Cabbies who have other driving jobs will be required to keep a record of the hours they drive – even on private land.

Operators of cabs fitted with CCTV systems will have to ensure they are registered with the Information Commissioner.

Cabs will also have to be fitted with child seats and drivers will be held responsible for the safety of children.

Drivers will be required to disclose all their previous convictions, regardless of whether or not they would be regarded as spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.

And for the first time, smoking electronic cigarettes in taxis will see drivers have points docked off their licence.

The licensing watchdogs also agreed to amend the dress code for cabbies.

Ear-muffs and scarves covering the face are banned, while headwear except for religious headwear including skull caps and turbans will also not be allowed.

Football shirts, flip-flops and skirts shorter than knee-length have also been banned, while offensive tattoos have to be covered up.

In a further change, operators will be able for the first time to buy and display private registration plates from the council for a £150 fee renewable at the rate of £50 every year.

The number plate must not be offensive and contain between three and five digits with at least one number at the end.

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

Councillors meet today to decide whether to push ahead with implementing the drive, first agreed in 1994, to make all Granite City cabs wheelchair accessible.

But the ruling has long provoked anger, with taxi drivers arguing they have to shell out thousands on the new vehicles – despite many disabled customers being unable to use them.

New legal advice from the UK government has also revealed that there is “no mandatory requirement” for the rule from a legal standpoint.

The opposition SNP group have indicated they will try to throw out the rule today.

But council officers have recommended the authority push ahead, with fears raised that disabled groups and drivers who have bought new cars could pursue legal action if there is a u-turn now.

A council spokeswoman said:”Currently 54% of Aberdeen’s taxi fleet are accessible vehicles.

“In 2012 Aberdeen City Council’s Licencing Committee set out a policy of a gradual progression towards a 100% accessible vehicle taxi fleet and settled on a date of June 2017 by which the exemption would no longer apply and all vehicles required to be wheelchair accessible. This date was amended to June 2018 by Full Council in May 2016. Operators have been given considerable advance notice.

“It is the view of officers that the policy remains the best method of ensuring the council complies with its obligations. It is important to note that the policy refers to the taxi fleet only, and not to private hire vehicles.

“The intention behind the policy however is that any person should be able to access any vehicle in a taxi queue or hailed on the street.”

Stephen Flynn, SNP leader, said: “As someone with mobility issues, I know that a lot of people struggle to access these supposedly accessible vehicles.

“Equality means we need to meet the needs of everyone and we will seek to get the council to look again at this policy.”

Tommy Campbell, north-east regional representative for the Unite union which represents many drivers, called the councillors to develop a “common sense approach” to the ruling.

He said: “The councillors should apply a healthy dose of common sense, I would call on them to finally abandon this policy for good.”

‘Terrorist’ Uber driver, 26, ‘left a note to his sister telling her to “be strong” before attacking police outside Buckingham Palace with a 4ft samurai sword’

An Uber driver accused of attacking police outside Buckingham Palace with a four foot long samurai sword had left a note to his sister, a court heard today. Mohiussunnath Chowdhury, 26, allegedly drove his blue Toyota Prius in the direction of a police van on Constitution Hill on Friday night.

He stopped just a few feet away from the police van when he is then alleged to have reached for the sword in the foot well of the car while shouting ‘Allahu Akhbar’ He was then wrestled to the ground by police who sprayed him with CS gas and the note was found inside the car, a court heard.

He appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court today facing one count of preparation of terrorist acts. Wearing a grey prison tracksuit the softly spoken Chowdhury spoke only to confirm his name, age and address.

Prosecutor Mark Carol said: ‘On Friday the 25th of August at around 8:30pm in the evening when uniformed officers were traveling in a marked vehicle at the Queen Victoria Memorial, Constitution Hill, when a blue Toyota Prius motor vehicle, drove towards them stopping two feet away.

‘Officers approached the vehicle and the male driver reached for a large sword from inside and shouted ‘Allahu Akhbar’ several times. ‘The officer struggled with the individual and sprayed him with CS spray.’

The court was told Chowdhury was arrested and taken to a police station and the court heard the samurai sword was just under four foot in length. Part of the note was read out in court and it said: ‘To my dearest sister… Do not cry and be strong. ‘Tell everyone that I love them.’ Chowdhury, of Luton, Bedfordshire, was remanded in custody to appear at the Central Criminal Court.

Jan 02

Man held after ‘attempted murder’ of Milton Keynes police officer

Police are questioning a man over the attempted murder of a police officer (PA)

A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a  police officer in Milton Keynes was hit by a stolen taxi.


Police had launched a search for the vehicle after a taxi driver was forced  from his car by two men and two women in the city at about 2.30am.

The officer that attempted to apprehend the thieves was pinned against his  patrol car when the taxi was reversed into him.

He is currently in a stable condition and police revealed that a 29-year-old  man is being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder.

A police spokeswoman said: ‘Officers got out of their vehicle to inspect the  car, when it reversed unexpectedly and pinned one of the officers to their  patrol car, before leaving the scene.

‘The vehicle was recovered shortly afterwards in Grangers Croft. The injured  officer was taken to Milton Keynes General Hospital for treatment to his  injuries where he remains at this time in a stable condition.’

Detective Chief Inspector Justin Fletcher said: ‘We are keen to speak to  anyone who was in the High Street area of Stony Stratford at the time the  robbery occurred who may have seen this group and is able to provide us with  information regarding their identity.’

Read more: http://www.metro.co.uk/news/

Jan 01

Will ‘taxi’ row signal the end for Ray Mallon?

Ray Mallon

CRITICS have called for Ray Mallon to face the sack after watchdogs ruled he brought Middlesbrough’s highest office into disrepute.

The “Robocop” mayor breached the Standards Board for England’s Code of Conduct three times, but investigators say no action should be taken.

However, rivals believe he was shown “extraordinary leniency” after a probe into his behaviour in the wake of the “Mallongate” tapes saga, published exclusively by the Sunday Sun.

The investigation came after recordings emerged in which made comments about a female council colleague and branded cabbies “f***ing thick”.

The Standards Board found Mr Mallon brought his office into disrepute by offering to assist Boro Taxis with a court case against the council.

It also found that he failed to declare an interest during two meetings as the dispute about the town’s taxi trade escalated. But it added that, under Human Rights legislation, Mr Mallon had a right to a private life and, during the conversations, he was acting as an individual not as a council advocate.

The board added that, in this instance, Mr Mallon “lacked judgment” but dismissed allegations he failed to treat others with respect; compromised the impartiality of council officers, and used his position improperly to confer an advantage.

Mr Mallon's one time friend Mr Bashir

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Sun, Boro Taxis’ boss Mohammed Bashir said his decision to release private recordings of the mayor has now been justified.

“We believed that we were being treated unfairly,” he claimed.

“Mayor Mallon led me to believe that he was my friend. He led me to believe that he agreed that I was being treated unfairly and he criticised the conduct of council officers to me. This in turn led me to believe that we were correct in our view of the council.

“We commenced litigation and Mayor Mallon continued to lead me to believe that he thought we were right, even offering to be a witness at the court case for Boro Cars.

“What I did not know at the time was that he was actually of a different view and that he was supporting the council. When I discovered the truth, we released recordings of private conversations which I had with Mayor Mallon to show that he was saying different things to different people.

“The decision to release the tape recordings of Mr Mallon was an extremely difficult decision to make. The purpose of releasing the tapes was not for any action to be taken, the reason was to in some way establish the truth and, from the full Standards Board report, it can be seen that to some extent this has now been achieved.”

The Lib Dem mayoral candidate, Chris Foote Wood, was among those who reported concerns about Mr Mallon’s conduct .

He said: “On the evidence which I submitted to the Standards Board, this is the verdict that I fully expected.

“What I did not expect was the extraordinary leniency shown to Mr Mallon by the Standards Board.

“These are very serious charges, in my view more than enough to justify Mr Mallon being barred from office.”

Ray Mallon defends his use of the word “scumbags”

The report adds that Mr Mallon has apologised to the woman about whom he made a sex slur, and “did not publicly lie” about doing so.

Mr Mallon said: “As the investigating officer found, my interventions were well intentioned and aimed at trying to get this dispute resolved in a fair and equitable manner.

“The fact that they feel there is no need for further action confirms that these were technical breaches.

“Had they not been technical breaches, there is little doubt I would have faced a full hearing.

“So far as the disrepute finding is concerned, I find it ironic that I have been found in breach for attempting to assist one of the complainants.

“I believe Standards for England in their judgement recognised the role of the elected mayor as one which involves getting stuck in to problems and resolving them for the benefit of all.

“That is what I did and I believe my actions were justified.”

Timeline of Mallon’s woes

How the Mallongate Tapes scandal unfolded:

APRIL 10, 2011 – A secret report reveals Labour rivals viewed Ray Mallon as “unbeatable” in the run for Middlesbrough Mayor.

APRIL 22 – The Mayor holds a snap Press conference to apologise and offset bad publicity ahead of the Sunday Sun publishing the Mallongate Tapes.

APRIL 24 – The first instalment of the Mallongate Tapes are published. The Mayor calls a female colleague “f***ing stupid”, makes a sex slur and calls cabbies “f***ing thick”.

MAY 1 – The second instalment of the tapes in which the Mayor calls one Labour councillor “f***ing biased” and said he could “wring the neck” of one cabbie. Mallon accuses Bashir of trying to derail his mayoral campaign.

MAY 5 – Ray Mallon is elected as Middlesbrough Mayor with his vote shaved from 58.6% to 50.4%.

SEPTEMBER – Standards Board probe comes to light. Mallon accused, among other allegations, of not treating others with respect, bringing his office into disrepute

DECEMBER – Standards Board report published. The Mayor is guilty of three breaches of Code of Conduct.

JANUARY 2012 – The Mayor faces fresh calls to leave office.

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

Dec 31

Clampdown on dodgy taxi cabs

Police seize a taxi during the taxi operation in Market Harborough on friday evening

A TAXI was seized from an unlicensed and uninsured driver during a crackdown on illegal cabs in Harborough.

Police officers, Customs and Excise workers and enforcement licensing officers from Harborough District Council carried out the operation during one evening on Friday, December 16.

Vehicles were stopped in Harborough town centre  by police traffic officers and given mechanical inspections, insurance and licensing checks.

A total of 24 vehicles were inspected by the officers during the evening operation.

Of these, one vehicle was seized by the police because it was being driven by an unlicensed driver who did not have a valid insurance certificate.

A fixed penalty was issued to another driver  for a defective tyre and three drivers were advised about mechanical defects including a faulty windscreen and lights.

Cllr Colin Golding, Harborough District Council’s portfolio holder for community safety and enforcement, said: “This was a successful operation between the council, police and Custom and Excise.

“It has helped to identify a number of issues with taxis and their drivers that could have potentially affected the safety of the travelling public at a busy time of the year.”

A similar operation was carried out in Lutterworth in October this year.

During that crackdown, 12 taxis were stopped and three drivers were issued with warnings about the condition of their vehicles.

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


Dec 31

Taxi driver attacked over £5 tip

BRUISED: Taxi driver Javed Akhtar was attacked on Boxing Day during an argument over a £5 tip

A TAXI driver was beaten up on Boxing Day during an argument over a £5 tip.

Javed Akhtar is now having to take time off work after he was left battered and bruised by the attack.

Mr Akhtar, 50, picked up a group of three men and a woman from the Little Bull in Middlestown, Wakefield, at around 8pm on Monday.

He dropped off the woman and one of the men in Cross Road, Thornhill, and was given a £5 tip for Christmas as the pair left.

But one of the men left in the back seat behind Mr Akhtar became angry and demanded the money back.

Mr Akhtar said: “He said, ‘that’s not your money,’ and I said, ‘they gave that tip to me for Christmas’.

“Then he said, ‘it’s not your Christmas’ and was using bad language.”

The man in the back said he would refuse to pay for the rest of the journey.

When the other passenger, who was in the front seat, said he would pay instead, the man in the back started swearing again.

“Then he grabbed hold of my neck and started punching me in the eyes and above the eyes,” Mr Akhtar said.

The attacker ran off and Mr Akhtar called his rank to ask the operator to ring the police.

He was looked after by the remaining passenger until officers arrived and took him to Dewsbury and District Hospital, where he was put in a neck brace and given x-rays.

Now Mr Akhtar, who has been a taxi driver for eight years, will have to spend two or three weeks recovering before he can return to work for Village Cars.

He said: “I worry because I can’t run my family without the money I make, and this is a busy time of year for taxi drivers.

“But it’s a very risky job. You don’t know who you are going to pick up and who is going to do what to you.”

A police spokesman said enquiries were ongoing.

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

Dec 30

St Albans and Harpenden taxi drivers call for fare extras

St Albans and Harpenden taxi drivers call for fare extras

TAXI drivers across the district have called on the council to increase fares, by adding extras charges, due to rising fuel and insurance costs.

Hackney Carriage licensed drivers, who form the St Albans and Harpenden Taxi Association (SAHTA), have been complaining for the last year about the high number of licences handed out by the  district council.

The cabbies say there are already too many taxis on the roads, which is creating a competition for fares. They have asked the district council to put a cap on licences. However when the council  refused earlier this year, the drivers staged demonstrations to get their messages across.

Their next plea to the council is to include extras charges in the fare, which were excluded during last year’s fare rise, for having more than two people in a taxi at a time. The drivers feel this  will help boost their income.

In their statement to the council the association said: “SAHTA committee agree that fare extras being excluded was unfair on large vehicles. This is because proprietors pay more for insurance and  fuel.”

The committee adds: “Taxi drivers are also being severely hit by the ever increasing fuel and insurance. Taxi insurance is going up at an alarming rate due to many companies having to pull out of  the taxi insurance trade.

“Inflation is at a record all-time high which means higher household bills and shopping. With all this the taxi driver’s disposable income has totally vanished.”

The drivers acknowledge the recession has reduced public spending but feel drivers with larger taxis have lost out since the fare extras were excluded.

However the council’s licensing and regulatory committee has recommended the proposals are declined because the fare increase agreed in January 2011, was approved on an agreement that the extra  charges were removed.

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

Dec 30

Bad Doncaster cabbies struck off

Doncaster taxi rank.

SEVEN Doncaster taxi drivers have been struck off and more than 130 complaints made over borough cabbies in the last three years, according to new figures.

The figures obtained by The Star show the drivers have lost their licences since 2009, for what Doncaster Council officials describe as “serious offences”.

The authorities say the actions which led to the move included serious driving offences, fraud and assault, but have not given the exact breakdown of the misdemeanours.

The figures reveal a catalogue of complaints over the same period. The largest number of causes of concern over drivers has been over their behaviour and attitude. But more than 20 complaints have also been made over their driving, according to the figures released by Doncaster Council, which licenses the drivers.

So far this year, the authority has received 41 complaints over drivers, with 17 of those about the driver’s attitude, eight about their driving and 16 about other unspecified concerns. That represented a fall on 2010, when 61 complaints were received. They were made up of 32 complaints about driver attitude or behaviour, 10 about driving and 19 for other reasons.

In 2009, there were only 31 complaints, with 18 over attitude, four over driving and nine over other offences.

source; http://www.thestar.co.uk/

Dec 30

Fenland Council reads Wisbech taxi drivers their rights after overcharging claims

TAXI drivers accused of overcharging were formally cautioned by Fenland District Council, read their rights and called in for taped interviews to explain their actions.

But Councillor Dave Patrick, chairman of Wisbech and District Hackney Carriage Drivers Association, believes it was “strange that this should happen prior to a full council meeting where meters were to be ratified”.

And stranger still, he says, that once the vote was taken to install meters the “case was closed”.

Cllr Patrick said no action was taken against two of the three drivers “as no offence had been committed based on their evidence.

“The third was given words of advice as he is new to the trade and it was accepted a genuine mistake had taken place. Not in relation to the price but the fact he had not negotiated his fare.

“If you do not negotiate your fare prior to hiring then you must charge by the tariff. That was his only error.”

The council is adamant it was “not a sting by us nor was it a test purchase. The first that the licensing team knew of it was when a complaint was made by a member of the public.

“We followed up that complaint, as is our duty.”

The licensing team “was presented with evidence by a member of the public that three drivers had overcharged on three occasions”.

The council says receipts confirmed the journeys and identified the drivers and companies.

Two of the journeys came from the Horsefair and were less than 1.4 miles but on each occasion the passenger was charged more than the £3.31 tariff. The third journey, from Morrisons to Elm, was also too high.

The council says that all three admitted the charges under interview and “each driver was apologetic, saying they had made a genuine mistake. Each explained how they came to charge more than the £3.31.

“This incident highlights the fact that it is extremely difficult for a driver to work out a waiting charge or whether it is appropriate, without the use of a stopwatch or indeed a taximeter.”

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

Dec 30

Bid to stop rapists driving taxis in Preston

RULES which continue to allow rapists to drive cabs in Preston will be challenged as part of an overhaul of the city’s taxi trade.

Sex offenders can currently apply for a taxi licence five years after a conviction – 10 years if they have more than one – to drive customers around the city. But licensing chiefs are considering banning sex offenders forever – if the public agree.

Meanwhile, a Freedom of Information request, submitted by the Evening Post, revealed taxi drivers with criminal convictions for violence, drugs and dishonesty have been granted licences to work across Lancashire.

Dozens of people with known records have been approved to drive taxis by district councils over the last five years.

Preston Council said it could only provide information for the last year, when four applicants with criminal records were approved, and two knocked back. Offences included obtaining money by deception, breach of a community order and drink-driving. No sex offenders have been employed in the past five years. The issue is under the spotlight following news that a Lancashire taxi driver, who sexually assaulted a young passenger, was a convicted killer.

Zulfikar Nawaz, 56, of Balshaw Road, Leyland, attacked an 18-year-old boy as he drove him home from an office party in Chorley town centre.

It was revealed in court that Nawaz had a previous conviction for manslaughter dating back to 1977. Because that conviction was regarded as ‘spent’ after 20 years, he was able to get a Hackney carriage licence from Chorley Council.

Chorley Council leader Peter Goldsworthy said a committee had followed procedures when granting Nawaz a licence, but pledged a review of the case in light of his new conviction.

Preston Council licensing manager, Mike Thorpe, said: “I think with most offences there is a view there has to be a time where it’s no longer relevant.

“However, in terms of sexual offences, we’re wondering whether we should take a more stringent view, because of the nature of the employment and the opportunities their employment provides in terms of vulnerable lone females late at night who may be under the influence of drink or drugs.

“We would be sending out a message that anyone with a sexual offence, we don’t want driving taxis.”

But former licensing chairman Dave Hammond, who has been involved in discussions about the new policy, said: “I’m not 100% happy with that, because it takes me back to a couple of years ago.

“A man came before the licensing committee, and we found out he’d been done for murder.

“He ended up being a nice bloke. His life had changed completely in 20 years. We granted it, but I don’t know if he ended up being a taxi driver.

“Each case is treated on its merits and, as far as I’m concerned, it must be. If a bloke got done 30 years ago for a sexual offence, are you going to deprive him of a living for the rest of his life?

“It’s a taxi hearing, it’s not a re-trial. The person concerned has been in front of a court and they’ve made the decision – it’s nothing to do with us.

“We’re just there to find out whether he’s a right and proper person.”

Mick Rooney, of Ribbleton Taxis, said: “If someone has kept their nose clean for five years, I reckon they should be given a second chance.

“If they have not re-offended, they should be allowed at least to apply anyway. I’m not saying it should be granted – it’s then up to the sub-committee to decide if they are a fit and proper person.”

The consultation will also look at whether Preston is served by enough taxis, and asks people whether the current dress code for drivers “enhances the reputation of the trade”.

It asks whether the council should insist “safety measures”, such as CCTV, are installed in cabs, and whether penalty points should be issued to drivers who receive points on their driving licence.

Mark Selley, secretary of the Preston Hackney Carriage Association, said public safety was an important issue, and drivers paid for their own CRB checks when renewing a licence.

He said: “Every case is taken on its merits. If a CRB has thrown something up, it is up to the licensing committee of independent councillors to decide whether they consider that person fit and proper. The system works, but there will always be an occasional grey area.”

People in Preston have until January 31 write to the town hall or via licensing@preston.gov.uk

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

Dec 30

Plague of rats at Wickford rail station

AN infestation of rats is putting people off using a train station, it has been claimed.

Disgusted passengers and cabbies at Wickford station say dozens of rats regularly run across the tracks, platforms and on to the street outside.

They believe the vermin gather in the railway sidings.

Insurance worker Paul Redmond, 46, from Wickford, regularly uses the station to get to work in London and often sees groups of rats on his travels.

He said: “It’s absolutely disgusting.

“My wife doesn’t like coming to the station because she’s really scared of them.

“Ten minutes don’t pass without you seeing one and it scares people off.

“I’ve seen some huge ones, as big as guinea pigs, scuttling by.

“There’s a lot of rubbish lying about so I don’t think that helps the problem.

“Something definitely needs to be done.”

A famous rat refused to comment

Mark Everitt, 50, a taxi driver who picks up train passengers in Station Approach, said the problem has been plaguing the area for years and has complained to the station’s managers.

Last week, he found a dead rat, which appeared to have been run over by a car, in the road.

He said: “Rats are frequently seen coming out of the railway sidings and are abundant just outside the station by the car park.”

Complaints about the rats are the latest problem to hit the station, which comes after reports of fights breaking out because there is no taxi queuing system.

National Express East Anglia is responsible for maintaining the station, but Network Rail is responsible for the railway sidings believed to be the source of the vermin problem and has been  notified about the issue.

source: http://www.echo-news.co.uk/

Dec 30

Taxitalk January 2012 issue

Taxitalk January 2012



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