Half of Rossendale licensed cabbies driving outside the Valley as council pockets £783,000 from badges

Taxi driver David Lawrie

Around 1,200 cabbies are using Rossendale council licences to drive outside of the Valley, it’s been revealed.

There are currently 2,412 drivers licensed by the authority. But the council has confirmed that half of these are using their licences to drive passengers in neighbouring boroughs such as Rochdale, Bradford and Manchester.

Council papers also confirm that income from licensing fees has leapt eight fold from £92,000 in 2011 to £783,000 in 2014/15.

David Lawrie, chairman of Bacup Taxi Association, said the proliferation has occurred because Rossendale has no cap on the number of licences.

He said: “Other councils have a maximum number of licences they can issue. However, if you introduce a limit here it could potentially put some of our drivers out of work.”

Earlier this year a Rochdale council report claimed that its work to protect vulnerable residents was undermined by a ‘legal loophole’, allowing Hackney Carriage vehicles licensed by one authority to work in another area as a Private Hire vehicle. It claimed Rossendale council also adopted a ‘lower standard’ for its drivers in areas of language skills, area knowledge and safeguarding.

Rossendale council said it refuted various aspects of the report.

Conservative group leader Coun Darryl Smith raised concerns over the situation.

He said: “We can’t carry on the way we have been if it’s causing problems for us and neighbouring authorities. It must be very frustrating when you are focusing on safeguarding and then look at neighbouring boroughs issuing licences like confetti.”

Coun Smith said the council’s income of £783,000 from licences was “a massive amount of money.”

He added: “You’ve got to think there are people coming here because it is easy to get a licence.”

Licensing bosses last month recommended introducing a basic skills test for drivers. The assessment for Hackney Carriage and private hire drivers will establish skills, such as if drivers can give correct change or hold conversations with customers.

Licensing and enforcement manager Tracy Brzozowski told the Free Press the council would expect to see a decline in new applications if the basic skills test is approved by the full council.

She added: “Once a vehicle has been licensed as a hackney carriage by either a district council in England and Wales or by Transport for London (the Public Carriage Office) it is a hackney carriage for the duration of that licence, wherever it is currently located.”

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

Taxi drivers plead with council for right to skip Bangor’s one-way system

Taxi driver Paulo Oliveira says it is a concern among all his colleague.

ANGRY taxi drivers in Bangor have demanded permission to skip the city’s one-way system which they say is hurting their businesses and their customers.

Paulo Oliveira, a 31-year-old driver with City Cabs, complained that taxis travelling down Station Road cannot turn right straight into the train station using the bus lane, and must instead turn left, away from the station, and travel around the one way system.

Mr Oliveira said it is a big concern among all the taxi drivers who park at the train station due to the extra time it takes, the added cost to customers and the effect it has on congestion.

Gwynedd Council said it is not possible for taxi drivers to use the bus lane as it would add to congestion problems.

Mr Oliveira said: “Bus drivers are allowed to turn right using the bus lane and avoid the one way.

“Why can’t we? We are providing a service just the same.

“We are being pushed into Farrar Road and depending on the traffic we could be stuck there for 20 minutes, queuing to go around the one-way.

“We do this for a living and we have got a fair argument.”

Mr Oliveira, who has been in the job for 11 years, said some passengers miss their trains and end up with bigger fares because of the extra time taken to navigate the one-way system.

“All my colleagues and drivers in other firms are saying this,” he added.

Gwynedd Cllr June Marshall, for Bangor’s Menai Ward, wants to see a trial period where taxi drivers can use the bus lane.

“I think it can be done with some common sense,” she said.

“You shouldn’t have too many vehicles waiting in that bus lane because the road isn’t broad enough.

“But the number of busses actually turning into the station is so small I think it can be accommodated, and if you get some vehicles turning straight into the station, it would be helpful for the traffic situation.”

A Gwynedd Council spokesperson said: “An officer from the Council’s Transportation Service met with representatives from the local taxi companies and local members to discuss this matter.

“They explained that due to the design layout, it is not possible for the turning lane to accommodate additional vehicles other than single bus at any one time as it would cause significant congestion in what is already a busy area in the city.”

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

Robber Stephen Rowland jailed after trying to flag down taxi driver he had just mugged

Bungling robber Stephen Rowland, 30, caught after he tried to flag down cab driver he had just mugged

A dim-witted robber tried to flag down a taxi driver he had just mugged.

Stephen Rowland had terrorised the victim before robbing him of his takings.

The driver then pulled away, but Rowland was so drunk he seemed to forget what he had just done, and tried to hail the departing cab for a lift home.

This allowed the driver to stall Rowland until the police arrived and he was arrested.

He has now been jailed for 27 months at Manchester Crown Court after mugging his victim of £30.

The court heard the victim’s ordeal began after Rowland – of no fixed address – got into his car outside the Crown and Anchor in Ancoats at night and asked him to drive up Oldham Road to Miles Platting.

When the driver asked for a postcode, Rowland said: “You know what, don’t give me any bull****. I’m a United fan and my team lost today, just carry on and drive.”

The driver tried to get on the right side of Rowland by telling him that he too was a United fan, but was rewarded with abuse.

Concerned, the driver asked for the money upfront and was given £10.

But Rowland then continued to abuse the driver and refused to say where he was going.

Fearing he would be attacked, the man said: “Take your money, I don’t want to take you any more, I’m sorry’.

Rowland threatened to ‘smash’ him unless he carried on driving, leaving the victim ‘very scared indeed’.

On Oldham Road, opposite the Royal Mail depot, Rowland grabbed hold of the gear stick and tried to force the vehicle into reverse before taking a swing at the driver.

The driver managed to get control of the car and pulled over, pleading with him.

Rowland screamed ‘I will smash you’ and head butted him, keeping his head pressed against the terrified victim’s while he snatched £30 from his top pocket.

He then opened the car door, got out and kicked and punched the vehicle before walking away.

Then, as the victim’s car turned around, Rowland failed to recognise the cab he had just left and tried to flag it down.

The 30-year-old, who has 32 previous convictions, admitted robbery following the October 2013 incident.

Sentencing Rowland, whose lawyer appealed for a suspended sentence, Judge Patrick Field QC said: “A vulnerable victim was targeted – a taxi driver plying his trade at night.

“I take the view that this court must reflect that.”

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

Boris Johnson announces crackdown on minicab drivers who are ‘unable to speak English properly’

London’s minicab drivers may be forced to take English language tests under proposals announced by Boris Johnson today.

The Mayor of London wants Transport for London to bring in new rules to ensure private hire cab drivers have a “certain basic level” of English.

Speaking to the London Assembly today, he said: “I don’t think we can have a situation in which minicab drivers, who one way or another are regulated by this city, should be able to drive around and take fares without being able to speak English properly and without knowing the basics of geography of London.

“I have asked TfL to bring forward regulations to require a certain basic knowledge of English for all minicab drivers.”

The Standard understands TfL will launch a public consultation on the idea later this week.

Mr Johnson, who was speaking during Mayor’s Question Time at City Hall, also said he wants TfL to beef up rules requiring minicab drivers to have sufficient knowledge of London’s geography.

He made the announcement after London Assembly member Valerie Shawcross had called for more to be done to stop illegal touting by unlicensed cab drivers.

The Labour member said touts are “getting away with it all the time”, adding: “There are two cab-related sexual assaults a week and touting is all part and parcel of that risk.”

She complained the problem is “massively under-enforced” with only 14 TfL compliance officers on duty at night.

Mr Johnson said she made “a valid and powerful point” and insisted efforts would not just be redoubled but “multiplied many times” to improve matters.

“I’m going to put my hands up here and say we need to be doing more,” he added.

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

Minicab driver in court accused of raping young woman passenger

The high court trial continues at Stirling Sheriff Court.

A young woman tried to stop a taxi driver raping her when she got into his vehicle following an evening at a friend’s house, a court has heard.

The woman, who cannot be named, told the High Court in Stirling the driver took her down a badly lit dead end and had sex with her despite her protests.

A swab taken after the alleged incident on November 27, 2010 matched the DNA of 48-year-old Arshad Mohammed from Glasgow, who was later arrested.

After watching The X-Factor show at a friend’s house in Govan, the woman got the minicab to another friend’s home in Neilston, and was quoted a £15 fare.

She said she got into the minicab in Govan and Mohammed had driven her to the dead-end lane near Main Street in Neilston before dropping off near her destination.

On Tuesday, she told the court: “I was Sh****ing ‘please gonnae leave me’, but he wouldn’t leave me.”

She said she had been wearing pyjamas, trainers, underwear and a coat and said she was “scared” when the driver got stopped the minicab and got into the back seat with her.

She continued: “He put the locks on so I wouldn’t get out of the car. He tried to get my clothes off. He was trying to unfasten my jammie top. I tried to push him away.

“I was Sh****ing for somebody to come and help me, but nobody was around.”

The woman, who is now 24 years old, said she entered the minicab in Govan and he had driven her to the dead-end in Neilston, Renfrewshire.

After the alleged incident he dropped her off near her destination in Neilston, and told her “see you after, princess”.

She said: “I was terrified. I went round to my friend’s house and chapped the door and she let me in.

“I was breaking my heart, crying, when I got in her flat. I told her I just got raped, and she called the police.”

The jury were told it has been agreed Mohammed had been indicted to appear for trial at the High Court in Glasgow in April 2012 in connection with the allegation, but failed to appear.

He was arrested in Norway two years later and extradited back to the UK in August 2014.

Mohammed denies abducting the woman and raping her in the private hire car in the lane near Main Street, Neilston.

He lodged a special defence of consent, and told police after his arrest that the woman had asked him if he wanted to have sex with her, directed him to the dead end, thanked him afterwards, and said that she would now be able to get a good night’s sleep.

Mohammed also denies obtaining a fare by fraud and driving a private hire car without a Civic Government (Scotland) Act licence.

He is further accused of behaving in a threatening and abusive manner by uttering remarks of a sexual nature to two other women in the course of private hire journeys in Glasgow in March and April 2011. These allegations he also denies.

The trial, before judge Lord Matthews and jury, continues and is expected to last up to six days.

source: http://news.stv.tv/

Sep 01

South Tyneside: New rules over tinted taxi windows

MORE transparent policy is planned to tackle South Tyneside taxi cabs with excessively tinted windows, it has been revealed.

The borough council is the only local authority in Tyne and Wear which does not have an agreed limit on how dark windows can be tinted.

And licensing officers are increasingly encountering applications to licence vehicles with glass that is excessively tinted – and in some cases blacked out altogether.

That is seen by Northumbria Police as a potential safety issue with many passengers being vulnerable late in the evening due to having consumed alcohol.

The policy is intended to make both passengers and drivers feel safe while travelling around the borough.

In particular, passengers need to be visible to other motorists and police officers. Members of the council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee will next week be asked to endorse a minimum 75 per cent light transmittance for front windscreens on newly licensed Hackney Carriage or private hire vehicles.

In a report to the committee, David Cramond, the council’s corporate director of economic regeneration, said officers currently have no discretion to refuse an application due to the level of tint.

He adds: “They consider that it is now necessary to consider the introduction of a policy to specify a level of tint suitable for the trade but which also meets police, licensing officers and customer concerns.

“Northumbria Police consider that persons using taxis may on occasions be vulnerable due to having consumed alcohol and therefore should be visible to other motorists and police officers.”

The borough’s Hackney Carriage association supports the move. The council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee is to meet at South Shields Town Hall from 10am on Friday.

source: http://www.shieldsgazette.com/news/

Aug 31

Family and minicab firm in airport stranding row

Shaun and Adam Pimblett with Dawn Taylor of Worsley Mesnes who were left stranded at Manchester Airport

A ROW has developed after a holidaymaker complained the taxi he booked could not bring his family home from Manchester Airport.

Shaun Pimblett, from Poolstock, had to pay more than £80 for a taxi back to Wigan after returning from a holiday in the Spanish resort of Salou with his wife Dawn Taylor and 13-year-old son Aaron.

Mr Pimblett claims he booked a private hire car with Blue Star Taxis, but had to wait more than half an hour for the driver to arrive and find them.

When the car turned up the family’s luggage could not fit in the boot and the driver then left the airport, leaving them stranded.

However, the company has launched a vigorous defence of the driver, refuting the allegations concerning his conduct and saying the family were given the option to place the spare case on the front seat, which was refused.

Mr Pimblett, 40, said: “When we got out of the airport there was no sign of the taxi. We were sent a text message saying it had set off and another when it arrived, but it took a while for the driver to find us.

“We tried removing the parcel shelf from the boot but the case still wouldn’t go. We said we will have to phone head office and he got a ticket and left us, which left my wife and son both very upset.

“It cost me £87 for a taxi but I just had to get my family home. We had been up early to check out of our room then spent most of the day hanging around waiting to come back.

“I’ve never had any problems with taxi firms before but I was really annoyed and feel what happened was totally unacceptable.”

However, Blue Star has disputed Mr Pimblett’s version of events, saying the family had booked a saloon car rather than a slightly more expensive estate, which would have comfortably taken all their luggage.

The firm also strongly refuted Mr Pimblett’s allegations about the driver’s conduct towards them, and advised any customers who felt issues could not be resolved to speak to Taxi Licensing and Trading Standards.

Company director Peter Bailey said: “The driver has been with us for several years and we’ve never had any complaints about his driving, attitude or manner towards customers. As far as I am aware he explained the situation to the customer before he left the airport.

“The customer had booked a saloon car and when we sent it he couldn’t find all the cases in. The driver said he could put one on the front seat and the customer refused, which meant there was nothing the driver could do and he had to come away.

“We would have sent an estate car if he had booked one. I believe he rang and spoke to us, but we weren’t able to come to a conclusion.

“I have spoken to the office staff and the driver as we take all complaints extremely seriously, and I am quite happy they acted in a professional way.”

Mr Pimblett said he has now made a complaint to the taxi licensing department at Wigan Town Hall.

source: http://www.wigantoday.net/

Aug 31

Drunk City broker slammed taxi driver’s head in cab door after jumping fare

Aggressive: James Browning ‘was jumping up and down like Tarzan, ripping his shirt off and spoiling for a fight,’ a court heard
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2406620/City-broker-jumping-like-Tarzan-head-butted-taxi-driver-slammed-head-car-door-refusing-pay-25-fare.

A young City broker headbutted a taxi driver before slamming his head in the cab’s door after jumping the late-night fare.

University of Sussex graduate James Browning, 26, an associate on the London Metal Exchange, had consumed five pints and two vodka cocktails, but denied he was high on cocaine.

The victim suffered wounds that needed a total of 16 stitches.

Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court heard: “In the words of the driver, Browning was jumping up and down like Tarzan, ripping his shirt off and spoiling for a fight.”

Browning, from Southwark, south London, is employed by the Newedge Group in Bishopsgate and avoided jail after the probation service recommended an unpaid work order.

He pleaded guilty to assaulting Essex taxi driver Dean Wendleken, 49, causing him actual bodily harm, in Great Guildford Street, Southwark on April 5 and making off without paying his £24.80 fare.

Prosecutor Christian Wheeliker told the court Browning hailed the taxi in Stratford at 3am and asked to be taken to an address behind the Tate Modern.

“When asked if he had a good night the defendant replied: ‘No. I’ve had a crap night. I always do when my friends get me on charlie.’

“That is slang for cocaine,” Mr Wheeliker told the magistrates.

The driver did a u-turn outside a Shell petrol station cashpoint so Browning could withdraw money for the fare. But Browning returned to the cab claiming he had lost his wallet and bank cards.

“He then ran off down a one-way street that Mr Wendleken could not drive down, but the victim found him and after parking the cab walked over and held him by the coat to stop him running away.

“The taxi driver said: ‘Look this is stupid. Give me your details, give me a business card and let me have thirty pounds tomorrow.’

“Browning told Mr. Wendleken he worked at ten Bishops Square, then said: ‘I aint giving you f*** all.’

“Mr Wendleken says he was then headbutted by the defendant to the left side of his jaw and there was a scuffle, but he decided it was not worth it and returned to his cab.

“In the words of the driver Browning was jumping up and down like Tarzan, ripping his shirt off and spoiling for a fight.

“As he tried to get into his taxi the door was shut on his head between the door and the frame and he realised he was covered in blood.

“He says he felt dizzy and saw blood pouring.”

The court heard how police tracked Browning down after he left his coat and phone at the scene.

He told officers he was sorry and that he had been drunk – but denied using drugs.

In a victim impact statement Mr. Wendleken said: “I was a lot more apprehensive when I got back in the cab, but I have learned to cope with this even though I feel apprehensive at times.”

The court heard Browning has paid privately to see a psychotherapist since the attack and has addressed his drinking.

Browning was sentenced to 240 hours of community service and ordered to pay £725 compensation to the victim.

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

Aug 29

‘Taxi fare dodgers must be charged’ says Dundee cabbie

Jim says customers get into his cab with no intention of paying.

Angry Dundee taxi drivers say police need to charge fare-dodgers with fraud.

City cabbies say they’re sick of customers getting in with no intention of paying.

But attempts to get the police involved haven’t helped.

Jim Harris, a taxi driver with 10½ years’ experience in the city, said officers won’t intervene because “it’s a civil matter”.

The 36-year-old, who lives in Coupar Angus, said: “It’s taxi fraud. They get in the car with no intention of paying the fare.

“If your boss turned around and said you’ve worked the hour but you’re not getting paid for it, how would you react?

“What can I do? Am I meant to drive them into the middle of nowhere and tell them to find their own way back?

“I want them charged with fraud.

“But the police say it’s a ‘grey area’ or a ‘civil matter’ and there’s nothing they can do. It’s unbelievable the way they’re treating taxi drivers.”

Mr Harris said he was going to the chief of police and the council about the “worsening” situation.

He claimed drivers could get a fare-dodger three or four times a week but if someone in a pub or hotel refused to pay, the police would help.

“I had a pick-up on Arbroath Road,” said Mr Harris. “The lassie had £30 in her hand when she got in.

“I stopped for her to get some chips and juice for her tea.

“I drove her up and down the road and dropped her in the Hilltown. She then gave me £2 for a £6.80 fare.

“I told her to stay in the car, and that we’re going down to police HQ in Bell Street.

“I phoned and when we got there two officers came out.

“But they told me they couldn’t charge her and that it was a civil matter.”

Mark Mcrither, 41, a taxi driver of 20 years, lost a fare one night because his passenger was too drunk to pay.

He said: “It’s shocking. In the same night I lost another fare because I got a woman runner.

“I lost the money I spent on fuel and my time.

“I don’t think the police do enough to help. This is fraud and people are getting away with it.”

A police spokeswoman said: “While all incidents are looked at according to their own particular circumstances, it is a criminal offence for someone to deliberately attempt to evade payment of a taxi fare.

“Anyone who falls victim to such an offence should contact the police.”

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

Aug 29

St Ives taxi driver attacked by fare-dodging customer

Anisur Rahman, who was viciously attacked by a fare dodger he picked up from St Ives

A TAXI driver from St Ives has told how he was attacked by a ­fare-dodging customer who ­threatened to stab him.

Anisur Rahman, 31, said he still suffers from panic attacks and was unable to work for two weeks ­following the incident at 10.45pm on Saturday, August 10.

The attacker, believed to be about 20, repeatedly punched Mr Rahman and kicked him in the head while he lay on the floor.

The driver had taken the man and a woman 20 miles from St Ives to Lichfield Road, in Cambridge, but was attacked three times as he confronted the pair who had refused to pay the £30 fare.

Mr Rahman, of Redmoor Close, was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, with head, shoulder and arm injuries and was released the next day.

He said: “I got out of the car and said ‘where are you going? You need to pay’ and he said he had a knife and was going to stab me if I didn’t go.

“I told them that if they didn’t have money now they could pay later but they told me to go and then all of a sudden he punched me.”

Mr Rahman said he chased after the pair on foot and was attacked again. When Mr Rahman grabbed hold of the man, he agreed to pay the fare but as he walked back to his car he was attacked from behind and knocked to the floor.

“He stood over me and kept punching me. When I rolled over, because I couldn’t take any more, he kicked me in the back of the head,” said Mr Rahman.

The man was white, 5ft 10in, and was wearing a blue striped shirt. He ran away before another taxi driver arrived and called an ambulance.

Mr Rahman, who works for Tudor Taxis, in Huntingdon, said that the man and the woman – 5ft 5in with dark hair – may have been thrown out of a St Ives club that evening.

A police spokesman said: “We are investigating reports of an assault on a taxi driver in Lichfield Road, at about 11pm on August 10 and officers are carrying out local enquiries.”
INFORMATION: Witnesses can call officers on 101.

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

Aug 28

Passenger’s taxi attack on female cabbie

John Routledge assaulted a taxi driver and grabbed the steering wheel

A passenger threatened to kill a female taxi driver before assaulting her and grabbing the steering wheel, a court heard.

John Anderson Routledge assaulted Angela Featherstone as she drove him home.

The 26-year-old sheet metal worker was ‘heavily intoxicated’ after drinking all day at a wedding, Macclesfield Magistrates’ Court was told.

After passing out in the back of the taxi, Routledge woke up confused and began attacking Mrs Featherstone.

During the terrifying 15-minute ordeal, Routledge grabbed hold of the steering wheel, almost causing the car to crash, the court heard.

He then pinned Mrs Featherstone, who was working for Macclesfield Radio Cars, to the window with his forearm before threatening to kill her unless she stopped the taxi.

Routledge admitted assault and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to cause fear or provoke unlawful violence.

The court heard that he had been at a wedding at the Hilltop Country House near Butley Town.

Debbie Byrne, prosecuting, reading from the victim’s witness statement, said: “When I arrived, I was told by the manager and staff that the passenger needed to go to Heywood.

“He had no top on and was swaying.

“I was concerned about his demeanour.

“I was told that he would fall asleep in the back.

“He woke up. He was agitated and upset. He shouted ‘stop the ******* car’.

“He grabbed the steering wheel and tried to pull the car over.

“I had to use all my power to regain control of the vehicle and prevent it from driving into a hedge.

“He then used his forearm to pin my neck against the window and into the seat.

“He jumped into the front and shouted ‘let me out or I will kill you’.”

The court heard that the victim called the police and that after banging on the door of a house, Routledge walked back to her car with his tie wrapped around his hands.

The statement continued: “He said: ‘I will get you, I will kill you’.

“One female driver had to stop and he jumped onto the bonnet, lying across it to stop her driving off. The whole thing lasted 15 minutes. I was shocked by the sheer force of how he grabbed me. He put my life in danger. I don’t feel I can return to work.”

Anthony Derbyshire, defending, said Routledge had no recollection of the incident.

He said: “He had spent the day at a wedding of his best friend’s sister. He doesn’t drink normally but started drinking before the ceremony. He drank cider, whiskey and coke and had wine with the meal, drinking about a bottle.

“He was heavily intoxicated.

“He says he was assaulted at the venue beforehand and had suffered a head injury, which contributed to his semi-conscious demeanour.

“The owner of the premises took action to get him in a taxi.

“Clearly, there was concern about him and the venue even offered to pay the £70 for the taxi.

“He was frightened when he woke up. He was trying to get out of the vehicle, and when in the road he was trying to flag down members of the public.

“He was extremely upset when he realised he had hurt a female taxi driver.”

Routledge, of Peel Lane, Heywood, Manchester, will be sentenced on September 19.

The Hilltop Country House declined to comment.

source: http://www.macclesfield-express.co.uk/

Aug 28

Bradford’s cabbies get a smart new look

Mohammed M Khan, manager of Town Taxis, prepares to help sharpen up Bradford’s image

A large group of Bradford Hackney Carriage drivers have decided to start wearing uniforms as a way of portraying a better image of the city.

Seventy self-employed drivers who work from Bradford Interchange as Town Taxis will start wearing matching shirts and ties from Thursday morning.

Mohammed M Khan, the man behind the idea, says the drivers felt it was time that they started giving a more professional first impression of Bradford to people arriving at the Interchange via train and bus.

It is thought that the move will mark the first time in West Yorkshire that taxi drivers serving the public have adopted a uniform, and Mr Khan says all the drivers were happy to do so. It will include a white shirt, black tie and smart trousers, and items like baseball caps and traditional Asian clothing will no longer be permitted.

Mr Khan, manager of Town Taxis and a member of the Bradford Drivers Association, said word of the uniform has spread, and taxi groups as far afield as Glasgow and Edinburgh have asked for advice on adopting similar schemes.

He said: “We have a lot of business people, tourists and visitors coming into Bradford, so we want to promote the city in a professional way.

“The drivers can’t wait to start wearing the uniforms. They all want to do the best they can for where they work and live. We hope other drivers will follow. We’ve managed to sort all this in just a few weeks.”

He said that although he had nothing against the traditional Asian clothing many taxi drivers wear, he feels it is important they wore more neutral clothing. He said: “We want people to know that Bradford and the service isn’t just for the Asian community. When you’re dealing with the public you have to be neutral.

“If people dress more professionally then it means they will act more professionally on the road.”

Bradford-based clothing manufacturers were used to make the uniforms.

Coun Imran Hussain, responsible for taxis on Bradford Council, said: “Taxi drivers are some of the most hard-working people in our district and they provide a crucial front line service. They act as ambassadors for Bradford, and this is something the Council would very much welcome and support.”

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

Aug 28

Bradford Council urged to reconsider new rules for taxis

Call: Councillor Debbie Davies

A controversial ban on six and eight-seater taxis should be reconsidered, according to a councillor.

Bradford Council has decided that from now on, it will no longer be granting taxi licences to six or eight-seater vehicles because of safety fears.

Earlier this month, a Regulatory and Appeals Panel decided all passengers should be able to get out of taxis in an emergency without having to move or climb over a seat.

Officers have recommended cabbies remove one seat in such a vehicle if they want to get a licence to trade.

Vehicles which are already licensed will not be affected.

But Tory councillor Debbie Davies is calling for the decision to be reconsidered. She said the move would harm honest business people, giving the example of a cabbie featured in the Telegraph & Argus who said it would cost his firm thousands of pounds.

Michael Fryer, of Michael’s Private Hire in Baildon, said he would lose £10,000 a year in revenue if he had to run a seven-seater cab rather than an eight-seater.

Mr Fryer, who runs one vehicle, an eight-seater Mercedes Vito, said while he wouldn’t be forced to change his current vehicle, he would be affected when the time came to replace it.

Coun Davies has now written to the chairman of the panel, Councillor David Warburton, asking whether Mr Fryer could speak to them directly at their next meeting.

Coun Davies said: “Surely if a decision taken is wrong then it should be overturned at the earliest opportunity, as that shows that the Council is prepared to listen to genuine concerns from reputable people trying to make a living.”

She said the new rules made no sense, as such vehicles passed all safety checks and were also used by families as well as being used as taxis.

Coun Warburton said the decision had been taken after an in-depth consultation with taxi drivers.

He said: “I’ll be quite honest, so shortly after us going through a policy review – and it wasn’t just about this – I don’t feel it’s appropriate to bring it back to the panel.”

Coun Warburton said the panel did not just have to consider taxi firms, but also had a wider duty of care to the public.

He said: “It’s a two-edged sword. Yes, we try and support businesses, but yes we have that duty of care to the community.”

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

Aug 28

Cab firm boss says passengers ripped off by taxi drivers from outside city

TAXI customers are at risk of being overcharged because about 20 cabs operating in Derby at weekends are not registered in the city, a cab firm director has claimed. Mohammed Yasin, director of 75 Taxis, said it was because drivers sometimes did not know the best routes.

He spoke out as it was revealed Derby City Council plans to make a rules change that will make it easier for it to investigate complaints against such vehicles. The council has said that having non-Derby-registered private hire cabs operating in the city could “prejudice public safety”.

Mr Yasin said people were being “ripped off”. He said: “At a weekend, there can be more than 20 cars that aren’t registered here working in Derby.” Mr Yasin said he had heard of one out-of-town driver who was driving a woman across Chaddesden and ended up charging £6.40 when it should have been £3.50.

Mr Yasin said he did not employ drivers from outside Derby. Asked how people could tell whether a driver was from outside the city or not, he said many were already able to tell. He said: “The drivers don’t know the way and people will say ‘you’re not from Derby’. “Certain customers say don’t send me a car that’s not registered in Derby.”

The council’s taxi licensing and appeals committee is expected to decide on Thursday to make changes to the rules for private hire firms. One would mean city firms have to keep better records when they bring in vehicles for jobs in Derby that are not “licensed to the operator of the firm at the time of the booking”. This, an officers’ report on the matter says, will make it easier for complaints to be handled against this sort of vehicle.

Councillor Barbara Jackson, chairman of the committee, said the issue also meant a loss of potential licence fee cash for the city. She said: “The licence fees for vehicle and driver licences go to the authority where the licence is issued, even if they work in another authority’s area. “Some authorities have lower licence fees than Derby, usually because they carry out fewer safety and compliance checks.”

Asked how the issue could prejudice public safety, she said: “Whilst we carry out regular vehicle safety checks on our licensed vehicles and drivers, we have no powers to do so on vehicles or drivers licensed by another authority, even if they are working within our district.”

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

Aug 28

Taxi drivers condemn council over MOT test centre changes

“ARROGANT” decisions by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council are costing taxi drivers money and business.
The condemnation comes from cabbies after the authority ruled that MOTs for private hire vehicles and hackney carriages must only take place at the council’s own centre in Earlswood.

The decision was made last year by members of the council’s Regulatory Committee, who said it would ensure safety standards are maintained. But the ruling is still coming under fire from Reigate and Banstead Taxi Association, whose members claim delays between getting an MOT and having repairs carried out is costing drivers money.

There is also concern that drivers could be left open to prosecution or invalid insurance claims if their vehicle fails its MOT and then has to be driven out of the centre.

Before the ruling, drivers could get their car checked at any garage they wanted, which they said allowed them to have repairs done immediately, consequently enabling them to continue working. But because the council’s MOT test centre doesn’t have a garage, drivers have to go elsewhere for repairs before waiting for a retest.

According to some drivers they had heard of occasions when some cabbies had been unable to work for more than a week while waiting for the council to book a new test.

“The council’s arrangement is arrogant and anti-competitive and the council’s MOT test centre is an inadequate, inefficient, bureaucratic replacement to an efficient competitive free-market arrangement,” said one taxi driver, who asked not to be named. “I have had reports of taxis failing the initial MOT, undergoing immediate remedial work and then being told that a follow up test appointment wasn’t available for eight days. “The driver was apparently unable to work for eight days and thus had no income.”

Others said they were concerned about the extra cost of MOT re-tests and the potential loss of income while waiting, with the council said to be checking more than 500 vehicles in one centre. Further concern was raised about failed MOTs impacting on insurance claims, even with a valid certificate.

According to Confused.com, if a car fails an MOT test it should not be driven, irrespective of the certificate status, because “you’d be guilty of driving a car that has known faults”.

Ben Murray, licensing team leader at the council, defended the original decision, saying: “Our arrangements provide taxi drivers with a one-stop service for taxi licensing, MOT, vehicle inspection and licence renewal, all at one location. “By carrying out MOTs on our licensed taxis, we can ensure they are all done at a consistently high level. “Our main priority is for the safety of our residents – we need to ensure that when a resident uses a taxi in the borough, it is safe to do so.”

He added that if a vehicle fails an MOT, it can still be driven to a place of repair and back to a testing centre.

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

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