Minicab driver raped drunk young woman after she was put into his car by well-meaning friend in Leicester Square

  • Abdel Baisar, 34, (pictured) has been jailed for 10 years for raping a woman put in his cab by her friend

    Abdel Baisar, 34, picked up his victim on June 20 2014 in Leicester Square

  • Put in the cab by her friend who wanted to make sure she got home safely
  • He drove the 23-year-old to her address in London and then attacked her
  • Baisar was traced through a match on National DNA database and arrested
  • Sentenced to 10 years at Woolwich crown court after found guilty of rape
  • If he gets taxi licence again, must say he is a rapist to single female fares

An illegal taxi driver has been jailed for 10 years for raping a young woman put in his cab by her friend who wanted to make sure she got home safely.

Abdel Baisar, 34, picked up his victim in the early hours of June 20 last year in Leicester Square, central London after she was on a night out with friends.

Baisar, who already had a conviction for taxi-touting, was driving in the area when he picked up the victim.

A well-meaning friend feared the 23-year-old was too drunk to make her own way home so put her into the back of Baisar’s cab.

He drove the woman to her address in south east London and then attacked her.

The victim woke up to discover she had been raped.

Baisar was traced through a match on the National DNA database and arrested on July 16. He was charged the following day.

Baisar of Tulse Hill, south London pleaded not guilty to the offence but the jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict.

He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment at Woolwich Crown Court after being found guilty of rape on January 19.

He must also sign the sex offenders register for life.

In the unlikely event he is ever granted a minicab licence again, the court ruled he must declare himself a convicted rapist to any single female fares.

Detective Constable Mark Azariah of the Metropolitan Police’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, said: ‘I would like to praise the bravery of the victim in coming forward to the police in this distressing case and supporting the investigation.

‘I would urge anyone to come forward to the police in such cases and work with us to convict these predatory males who target women when they are at their most vulnerable.

‘I hope that the sentence handed down by the Judge goes some way in helping the victim recover from this ordeal.’

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

Minicab driver fined £1K for illegal plying

A minicab driver from Telford has been fined £1,000 and given eight points on his license after illegally plying for trade as a taxi.

Minhaj Jawad, of Leegomery, Telford was sentenced at Shrewsbury Magistrates Court, after he was caught in the early hours of August 24 illegally collecting members of the public on St Mary’s Street, Shrewsbury, who had not booked through a licensed operator, an activity known as plying for hire.

He was found guilty of plying for hire and consequently having invalid motor insurance for the journey undertaken.

Following the successful prosecution by Shropshire Council, Jawad was ordered by the Court to pay a total of £968.48 and has received eight penalty points on his driving licence.

Karen Collier, Shropshire Council’s operations manager – health and community protection, said: “We welcome the decision of the Court in this case, and this demonstrates that Shropshire Council takes illegal private hire activities extremely seriously.

“Thanks to the work of our public protection officers, this offender has been successfully identified, investigated and now prosecuted. In addition, he will also face a review of his private hire driver’s licence before a licensing panel. Our advice to the trade is clear: private hire vehicles are not permitted to ‘ply for hire’, and where we identify such cases we will investigate them fully. Not only is this activity illegal, it will invalidate a driver’s insurance, putting customers at risk.”

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member responsible for public protection, said: “We will continue to crack down on unsafe taxi and private hire vehicles, and we encourage members of the public to report illegal activity to us.

“We can use this information to help determine our enforcement activities. Our public protection officers carry out vehicle and driver licensing checks across Shropshire to keep the public safe and stamp out illegal activity to ensure the safety of the public. They work closely with the police to carry out evening patrols, and will undertake ‘plying for hire’ operations using plain clothed officers.”

source: http://www.shropshirestar.com/

Proposed ammendment to deregulation bill

Clause 11

BARONESS THORNTON

Page 8, line 22, at end insert—

“(e) the person who made the booking has consented to their booking being sub-contracted to a second operator.

(1A) A licensing authority may exercise all its powers over a vehicle licensed as a private hire vehicle or taxi if it is operating in their area, even if the licence was issued by another licensing authority.”

Lying minicab driver claimed pal had been speeding in his cab – but he had been deported THREE YEARS earlier

Driver narrowly escapes jail for perverting course of justice when police discovered man blamed for speeding three times had already been sent back to Pakistan for drink driving

A lying Birmingham cabbie narrowly escaped jail when he tried to claim a pal was behind the wheel of his minicab when he was caught speeding.

But he was Abid Manzoor was caught out when cops discovered the friend had been deported to Pakistan three years earlier.

Minicab driver Manzoor, of Essendon Grove, Alum Rock, triggered three speed cameras within the space of six weeks last year while working for a Solihull private hire firm TC Radio Cars.

Instead of accepting a fine and points on his clean licence he filled in prosecution forms claiming pal Jawad Abassi was behind the wheel at the time.

However, officers from West Midlands Police’s Camera Enforcement Unit discovered that Abassi had been sent back to Pakistan in July 2011 after serving a jail sentence for drink-driving.

Police visited Abassi’s former known addresses in Tyseley and Alum Rock and neighbours confirmed he’d been thrown out of the country.
Manzoor, 39, was handed a six-month jail term suspended for two years at Birmingham Crown Court. He was also ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

The court heard that minicab firm records showed Manzoor was on duty at the time of the speeding offences and assigned jobs shortly before the speed cameras were triggered.

He initially claimed to have “made a mistake” when completing the police documents but eventually admitted three speeding offences and trying to pervert the course of justice.

PC Steve Jevons from West Midlands Police, said: “It never ceases to amaze me how people think they can lie and avoid punishment for driving offences. But this was a particularly odd case as Manzoor’s licence was clean so even with the points he wouldn’t have been banned.

“We were able to provide solid evidence that he was behind the wheel at the time and, as this was a concerted effort to deceive the police, he was charged with trying to pervert the course of justice.”

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

Five foreign Lincoln minicab drivers get licences ‘without proper checks’

At least five foreign minicab drivers have been given licences in Lincoln in recent months without proper background checks.

Since November, the City of Lincoln Council has issued licences to five drivers from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.

The decisions were made without any official paperwork from their countries, but there is no suggestion these drivers have criminal records.

It is unclear how many others have also been issued licences and the city council did not respond to a request for figures.

But Jim Hart, 63, a Lincoln taxi driver for more than 30 years, said: “I wouldn’t get a licence without a disclosure and barring service check but criminal record checks on people from outside the EU only cover for as long as they’ve been in the country.

“But it seems strange to me. If they’re unable to get a letter of good conduct, there’s nothing to say what a driver may have or may not have done before coming to the UK, and that’s worrying.

“The council has been unable to check the backgrounds of these foreign applicants but issued licences in good faith.

“I think that’s wrong.”

Officials must be satisfied people are ‘fit and proper’ to hold taxi licences, based on the UK-wide Disclosure and Barring Service, formerly CRB, checks.

In addition, foreign nationals and UK nationals who have lived abroad must supply a good conduct certificate via their embassies.

But the recent Lincoln licences were decided without good conduct documentation.

The decisions on the foreign drivers have been made at three secret meetings held at City Hall in the last three months.

According to minutes of those meetings, members of the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Sub-Committee said that they understood people’s difficulties in obtaining such documents from overseas.

And after hearing from applicants, they concluded there was no reason to doubt their good character.

A review into the council’s taxi policy will take place later this year.

Kevin Barron, the council’s licensing manager, said:

“The fit and proper test means the council has to ensure so far as possible that those licensed to drive private hire vehicles and hackney carriages are safe drivers with good driving records and adequate experience, sober, mentally and physically fit, honest, and capable of conducting their business in an appropriate manner.”

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

Jul 26

West Lindsey attempts to stem out of town HC flow

London cabbies are famed for their “knowledge” and now Lincolnshire taxi drivers are facing a test of their local wisdom too.

West Lindsey District Council is introducing an exam for anyone applying for a taxi licence.

​Hopes that exam for cabbies will improve the safety of taxi users

It will test applicants’ knowledge of roads and routes across the district, and will be introduced from September 1.

It comes after the Conservative-led authority saw an increase in the number of cabbies applying for licences in Lincolnshire and then leaving to work in other places.

Taxi drivers say this happens because the waiting list for licenses in big cities, such as Manchester and Leeds, can be up to two years.

Councillors on the communities committee approved the proposals at a meeting in Marshall’s Yard on July 16. Under the new legislation, any applicant that fails the exam will be refused a permit.

The test will quiz applicants on the quickest and safest routes across West Lindsey.

Each test will cost an applicant £15 to sit.

Councillor Jessie Milne, chairman of the licensing and regulatory committee at West Lindsey District Council, said: “The council’s primary aim in taxi licensing is to ensure the safety of the travelling public.

“It is not unlawful for a driver to get a licence from us and then choose to operate outside our district.

“When this happens it is extremely difficult for the council to apply enforcement and keep its fleet under observation.

“Without control over licence conditions, public safety could be put at risk by potentially unsafe vehicles – they could have bald tyres, faulty lights or an uninsured driver.

“Clearly we need to address the issue to prevent drivers operating remotely and to ensure the safety of the public.

“Under this new policy, and in line with the High Court judgement in 2008, we are now entitled to refuse applications where we believe the applicant intends to operate outside West Lindsey.”

Eddie Kay, manager at Eddie’s Taxi, said: “A local knowledge test is a very good idea.

“There are too many taxi firms in the West Lindsey area who do not have the local knowledge required to provide a reliable and safe service.

“There has been a huge rise in taxi firm applications in West Lindsey who then want to go on and run companies in places like Manchester.

“It’s because there is a much longer waiting list in the bigger cities and so it’s easier to go through our process.

“But the authority is then unable to keep tabs on the firm’s actions – making it unsafe for taxi users inside and outside of West Lindsey.”

Sam O’Keefe, 32, from Nettleham, added: “This is a very good idea and one I would support completely. If anything, it should have been done sooner.”

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

Jul 25

Former Sittingbourne minicab boss Gareth Braithwaite, from Walderslade, has admitted abducting a child.

Gareth Braithwaite

A minicab boss has spoken of his shock after the firm’s former director admitted abducting a child.

Gareth Braithwaite, of Dargets Road, Walderslade, was arrested on June 13 in Braintree, Essex, in the company of a teenage boy.

He pleaded guilty to the offence at Chelmsford Crown Court last Tuesday.

The 41-year-old, who co-owned Cab-It in Sittingbourne, was remanded in custody for sentencing on Monday, August 12.

Dave Vaughan, 58, from Rochester, Braithwaite’s ex-business partner, spoke of his surprise at his former colleague’s admission.

He said: “The first we heard what had happened was when he was arrested.

“He hadn’t turned up for work for a couple of days. Then we got a phone call from him saying he was in Chelmsford Prison.

“It was a total shock. He’d never been in trouble before. He got a parking ticket once, but that was about it.”

Mr Vaughan, who formed Cab-It with Braithwaite 16 years ago, said his ex-colleague immediately quit following his arrest.

“His role was office manager, and we haven’t seen him since the day he was arrested,” he said.

“We find it downright disgusting what he did.

“He’s let everyone down, and this could have a very real affect on the company and its 80 employees.”

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

Jul 25

Jailed for Hawick taxi driver attack

A man who attacked a taxi driver in Hawick, breaking two of his teeth, was jailed for two years at Selkirk Sheriff Court, pictured, on Monday.

Jamie Whigham, 26, described as a prisoner in Edinburgh, admitted assaulting the driver in Dickson Street on December 30, repeatedly punching him on the head to his injury.

He had specifically requested the driver, who suffered a bleeding nose and two broken teeth.

Tessa Bradley, prosecuting, said Whigham had been out socialising and became angered by an allegation involving the victim.

He rang for a taxi and asked for a specific driver, who attended. The accused leaned over the front passenger seat and punched the driver on the nose, causing it to bleed.

“He began raining blows on his face, before leaving the vehicle and walking off,” added Ms Bradley.

The taxi request was traced to Whigham’s girlfriend’s mobile phone, which he had used.

The victim required dental treatment.

Defending, Ross Dow said: “It is concerning that this was pre-meditated and he should not have taken the law into his own hands.”

Sheriff Jamie Gilmour jailed Whigham for nine months.

He also pleaded guilty to punching a man on the head, causing him to fall to the ground, and kicking him on the head to his severe injury at Torwoodlee Road, Galashiels, on March 12.

The victim sustained a fractured cheek, as well as cuts and swelling around his eye.

Ms Bradley told how the man had walked past a flat occupied by the accused’s brother when he heard a shout: “What the f**k are you looking at”.

Ms Bradley went on: “He ignored it and walked on, but the accused jumped out of a ground-floor window and followed him.”

Whigham punched the man on the back of the head, causing him to fall to the ground, hitting his face on the pavement. When he heard a bottle smash nearby, Whigham then kicked the man.

The blood-covered victim was taken to Borders General Hospital and detained overnight for observation.

“He had a fractured right cheek, and cuts and swelling around his eye, and was referred to St John’s Hospital in Livington,” added Ms Bradley.

The man didn’t report an assault, claiming to have fallen, but later identified the accused from police photographs.

Mr Dow said the offence was committed against a background of “bad blood”.

Mr Dow said the man had looked through the window and asked Whigham if his brother lived at the flat.

The lawyer added: “He challenged him, and he jumped out of the window and punched him, and he fell to the ground. When he heard a bottle smash, he turned round and kicked him.

“He accepts the error of his ways, but there was a context here.

“The man was looking for his brother, and he took exception to that, and he wouldn’t have gone so far if a bottle hadn’t been thrown.

“This happened against an antagonising background.”

Whigham was imprisoned for a further 15 months.

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

Jul 25

Robber jailed for five years after Cardiff taxi driver hit with stick and kicked for £20

Michael Bratcher

A robber has been jailed for five years for his third offence against taxi drivers in the city.

In May this year Michael Bratcher, 25, and an accomplice escaped with £20 after terrifying a Cardiff cabbie in Riverside.

But he had done it twice before, Cardiff Crown Court heard.

The latest victim was attacked with a stick and with kicks and was said to have been left psychologically as well as physically damaged.

Sentencing Bratcher, the Recorder of Cardiff, Judge Eleri Rees, said the driver suffered injuries which fortunately were not serious but which did include a two-inch cut requiring hospital attention.

She said: “There seems to be a pattern here with you attacking drivers in the early hours. This time you got into the cab with another person and the robbery was started by you when you put your hand around the driver’s throat from behind.

“Threats were made and money demanded and he had to battle against two of you – one of you armed with a piece of wood.

“He was punched and kicked until other people intervened, bringing what was a sustained attack to an end.”

Bratcher, of Alwen Drive, Thornhill, Cardiff, was told his position was aggravated by the fact it was an attack by two people – the other never having been traced – it was late at night, wood and feet were used as weapons and drink was involved.

But particularly because of the two previous convictions for identical offences.

The judge added: “He was targeted because of his vulnerable occupation as he tried to serve the public.”

Derek Gooden, defending, said Bratcher lapsed into bad behaviour after drinking and he accepted such a vicious attack was abhorrent.

Now he just wanted to know his fate so that he could serve his sentence and return to his partner.

“He has a long-term relationship to come out to and he knows he can’t go on committing offences,” he said.

The court was told the best point which could be put forward for Bratcher was that he pleaded guilty within a week of it happening.

A manhunt remains under way for the accomplice involved in terrifying the Cardiff cabbie.

The second man was in the taxi and asked to be taken from the city centre to Pentrebane.

He is described as white, aged in his 20s, around 5ft 10in to 6ft tall, of stocky build, with short dark hair. He was wearing dark clothing and made off from the taxi in the direction of Craddock Street, Riverside.

Meanwhile, officer in the case Detective Constable Owain Morrison from Fairwater CID said: “I would like to thank the victim for his patience during this investigation and the members of public who intervened and potentially prevented his injuries from being a lot worse.

“Taxi drivers have a challenging job at times and we appreciate the work they do in taking people, who are often intoxicated, home from the city centre.

“These kinds of offences will not be tolerated and we carry out extensive inquiries to catch the perpetrators.”

Anyone with information about the second man is asked to contact DC Morrison at Fairwater CID on 02920 571 542 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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

Jul 25

Taxi driver who knocked down pedestrians ‘like bowling pins’ in central Cardiff has sentence appeal rejected

The aftermath of Majid Rehman’s taxi rampage in Wood Street, Cardiff The aftermath of Majid Rehman’s taxi rampage in Wood Street, Cardiff

A taxi driver who deliberately knocked down eight pedestrians “like bowling pins” in Cardiff city centre has had an appeal against the length of his sentence rejected.

On March 27 last year Majid Rehman drove his car at six rail workers and two “innocent bystanders” injuring them all.

One man was dragged under his cab and had to have skin grafts for burn and friction injuries to his body.

Following a trial at Cardiff Crown Court in November last year the 30-year-old married man was unanimously convicted of two counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, one count of wounding with intent and five charges of intending to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.

He had already pleaded guilty to one count of dangerous driving.

Judge Philips Richards subsequently jailed him for 15 years saying the lengthy term should act as a warning to any other person who considers using a car as a weapon.

Today, at the same court, three High Court judges listened to his appeal to have his sentenced reduced.

Lord Justice Pitchford QC, Mr Justice Macduff and Mr Justice Jeremy Baker were told by Rehman’s barrister the sentence was “simply too long”.

Nicholas Gareth Jones admitted there were aggravating factors which could have led the original judge to hand out the 15 year term – including that Rehman had a previous conviction for criminal damage after he rammed his car into his employers over a dispute over wages – but added there were also mitigating factors.

“It was a single act, it was in isolation and there was a lack of any significant premeditation,” he said.

Rehman’s trial head how he had been provoked after he was involved in a dispute with the rail workers in which he had suffered racial abuse and had been punched in the chest moments before mowing down the eight men.

Mr Jones also cited a case from 2001 in which a man who rammed his car into a number of police patrol cars, injuring six officers, was jailed for five years.

But the panel of High Court judges rejected the appeal saying while the 2001 case had similarities, it was significantly different.

Mr Justice Macduff said: “There was, albeit to a limited extent, premeditation as there was a gap in time between the attack and the offence.”

He added: “It could have easily been the case that one person, if not more, could have died in this act. That is the measure of how serious this case was.”

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

Jul 23

A third of Sheffield taxis failed spot checks by officials

More than one third of Sheffield taxi drivers inspected by council officers were found to have defective vehicles.

A report to Sheffield Council’s licensing board has revealed that of the 624 private hire and Hackney carriages checked, 210 were given defect notices for minor faults, such as brake lights not working properly.

A further seven vehicles were found to have more serious faults and their owners were sent warning letters by the council.

And two had defects so serious that their vehicles were suspended from the road until repairs were carried out – with problems spotted including tyres without sufficient tread to be safe.

The checks were carried out in the period between September 1 2012 and March 31 this year.

Sheffield Council said it had not prosecuted any taxi drivers during that period.

A total of 439 taxi drivers had their licences and conduct checked too – resulting in 201 of them being issued with warnings.

Most warnings related to drivers waiting to pick up passengers on Castle Street, where 118 warning letters were sent out for ‘causing a hazard or obstruction’ to pedestrians, cyclists and buses.

One driver, who has not been named, had his licence revoked after being jailed for six months in January for being involved in the production of cannabis.

Steve Lonnia, Sheffield Council’s chief licensing officer, said: “The taxi licensing section undertake 88 enforcement duties per year.

“The purpose of enforcement is to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of the public by ensuring relevant legislation is complied with to provide a good, safe, accessible means of public transport.”

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

Jul 23

France: New rules delay minicab firms

NEW-STYLE minicab companies face new laws in the autumn that will impose a 15 minute delay before they can pick up passengers.

The move by Social Economy Minister Benoît Hamon protects traditional taxis who have seen their business severely affected by the new, cheaper voitures de tourisme avec chauffeur VTC companies such as Chauffeur Privé, Le Cab, SnapCar and Uber.

Hamon said the move was to “rebalance the power between consumer and professional”.

In January thousands of taxi drivers went on three-day strike over plans to open up their business to outside competition – and many mounted opération escargot go-slows on motorways and main roads.

The new VTC minicabs came after changes by the previous government to increase competition. They do not have to abide by the strict rules for taxi drivers but are not allowed to pick up street fares and cannot use authorised ranks.

If approved, the new law will mean they have to impose a 15-minute waiting time on customers phoning for a minicab.

Taxi company bosses such as Nicolas Rousselet, of leading European firm G7 and the main company in Paris, have called for minicab companies to face a 60-minute waiting time.

Camille Richard, for the federation of VTC companies, said they hoped to convince the government to drop the 15-minute delay for company hires, where the company was an existing client of the VTC firm.

– See more at: http://connexionfrance.com/

Jul 23

Ipswich: Taxi drivers seek council support after “worst miscarriage of justice”

Metin Akin.

Taxi drivers and cabbies are calling for more support from councillors after a driver successfully appealed his three-month licence suspension.

Metin Akin, from Witnesham, was handed the suspension on his private hire drivers licence after appearing before Ipswich Borough Council’s Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Enforcement Sub-Committee in March.

It came after he pleaded guilty at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court in February to refusing to transport blind couple Martin Roberts and Clare Burman and their two guide dog labradors in Ipswich last July.

He was ordered to pay £1,413 in fines and court fees.

Akin successfully appealed Ipswich Borough Council’s three-month suspension on Friday, with magistrates agreeing to reduce the suspension to a month.

Eric Pearl, from Ipswich Taxi Drivers Association, said although Akin admitted his mistake, the three-month suspension imposed was unfair.

He said: “I have represented many drivers in Ipswich at council enforcement meetings and this is the worst miscarriage of justice I have seen attempted by the council.

“Mr Akin has agreed all the way through that he made a mistake and at the end of the day he pleaded guilty and has taken it on the chin.

“In court he showed verbal remorse for what he did.”

Mr Pearl added: “Councillors need to support Ipswich cabbies more as nearly one third of the town’s drivers have already taken or are now on disability awareness courses on a voluntary basis.

“All the town’s drivers are proud of their working relationship with the local disabled community and we are working hard to encourage new drivers coming into the trade to join us on the disability awareness course.”

Akin refused to drive Mr Roberts and Ms Burman and their dogs to their home in Bridgewater Road because he was concerned about the leather seats in his Volkswagen Passat after taking the booking from Ipswich Cabs 289 Ltd.

Taxi drivers can only refuse if they have an exemption certificate on medical grounds.

An Ipswich Borough Council spokesman said: “We are pleased that the courts have rejected Metin Akin’s assertion that we acted unlawfully and that a suspension of his licence has been upheld.

“We hope Mr Akin understands why the council took action.

“We regard refusal to transport a disabled person with their guide dog, in these circumstances, as completely unacceptable.”

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

Jul 22

Derby taxi drivers fear hike in cost of medicals after losing GP choice

TAXI drivers in Derby will be forced to have their regular medicals with their own GPs after councillors decided they could be putting public safety at risk by using other doctors.

Derby City Council’s taxi licensing and appeals committee decided on the change after it emerged that assessments were being carried out by GPs without the drivers’ medical records.

An officers’ report for the committee says one example of the problems this could cause emerged at a recent hearing to decide if a driver should get a licence.

Councillor Barbara Jackson, chairman of the committee, said: “It became apparent that they [the driver] had a drinking-related problem, which may not have been identified by the independent GP.”

The report states that one reason drivers gave for going to independent doctors was the high cost.

It lists the results of a survey which found six GP surgeries in the city where charges for a medical varied between £30 and £120.

Mrs Jackson said the 12-person committee had been split on whether or not to make the change, leaving her with the casting vote.

She said: “My feeling was and is that a person’s own doctor is able to make a better assessment of them. It’s our responsibility to make sure that licensed drivers are in safe vehicles and are safe drivers.”

Another who voted for the change was Councillor Ruth Skelton.

She said: “For the safety of everyone, they should go to their own GP as they have their medical records.”

Mohammed Yasin, director of Derby firm 75 Taxis, said the council decision should come with a pledge to put pressure on GPs to reduce their fees.

He said: “It’s not that these people are not fit, it’s just that they can be left paying extortionate fees.

“A driver’s own GP might charge more than double that of an independent doctor they can find for their examination.

“If the council is going to do this, it should work to persuade doctors to charge less than they do at the moment.”

Mr Yasin said drivers needed to have a medical every three years until they reach 60, when they become annual.

The officers’ report says that regular medicals, for the city’s 1,400 licensed taxi drivers, were introduced in 2005.

It says some medical assessments were being made “solely on the word of the applicant and often with no medical examination being taken”.

Asked why the change had been considered now, Mrs Jackson said: “The council constantly reviews its rules and procedures.

“Changes were last made in 2008 and it has become apparent recently that a review may be necessary in order to maintain public safety.”

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

Jul 21

Stockton Council plans to cut taxi licensing fees

A Teesside council is planning to drop its taxi licensing fees for the second time in a year.

In January Stockton Council reduced the yearly hackney and private hire vehicle owners fee by £30.

Now it is planning to cut the fee by a further £30 after finding the council taxi licensing account had a “greater income than expected”.

The council plans to charge £100 for wheelchair accessible vehicles and £275 for other taxis from 1 October.

Local authorities are required by law to maintain a separate taxi licensing account, funded from licensing fees, which has no impact on council tax.

The income raised cannot be used to subsidise other council services.

Councillor Steven Nelson, Stockton Council’s cabinet member for housing and community safety, said: “Due to our increasingly efficient way of working we have built up a surplus in the taxi licensing account.

“This means we are in a position to propose a further reduction in the level of fees. In the current economic climate we hope that both hackney and private hire vehicle owners will welcome these proposals.”

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

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