To regulate or not to regulate? EU to launch study on Uber

The European Commission will launch a study in September of the ride-hailing app Uber in an effort to settle legal disputes that have pitched the U.S. start-up against conventional taxis across Europe, three people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

Since opening in Paris in 2011, San Francisco-based Uber has run into vehement opposition from taxi drivers, who complain it competes unfairly by bypassing local laws on licensing and safety.

Uber has responded by submitting complaints to the European Commission against German and Spanish court bans, as well as a new French law on taxis.

The study will attempt to determine the legal instruments Brussels might use to decide whether Uber is a transport service or just a digital service, an EU official said.

Uber argues it is a digital platform that connects willing drivers with customers. Being considered a transport service might make it subject to stricter rules on licensing, insurance and safety.

The study will review the regulatory regimes for taxi services in all member states and assess if an EU-wide framework is needed. Currently, taxis and vehicle-with-chauffeur services are regulated at a national level.

“This investigation appears to indicate that the European Commission believes that the manner in which the taxi and private hire sectors are currently regulated in some member states is dysfunctional and is no longer fit for purpose, not to mention new barriers to entry for innovative, technology-based services such as ridesharing,” an Uber spokeswoman said.

The study will run in parallel with a case at the European Union’s top court that could set a precedent for legal battles across the continent. However, it is likely the European Court of Justice will rule before the completion of the study, expected around June next year.

In the meantime, the Commission will also continue assessing the complaints against France, Germany and Spain. In May, the Commission asked France for more information on its new taxi law, which Uber says favours regular taxis at its expense.

The Commission has previously said it welcomes innovative services such as Uber as part of the so-called sharing economy – where individuals are put in touch with others offering services, such as travel or accommodation.

However, businesses such as Uber should not circumvent national laws on taxation, safety and social aspects, EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said in a letter to a member of the European Parliament in February.

The sharing economy has flummoxed policymakers, torn between promoting innovative services and ensuring that incumbent industries can still compete on fair grounds. “There needs to be a middle way”, said an EU official.

(Reporting by Julia Fioretti; Editing by Dan Grebler)

source: http://uk.reuters.com/

Taxi driver’s licence revoked following sexual assault allegation

Warrington Crown Court

A COURT has upheld the council’s decision to revoke a taxi driver’s licence after he was accused of sexually assaulting a passenger.

Recorder David Williams ruled in favour of the council following an appeal at Warrington Crown Court on Friday.

The court heard how members of the Taxi Licensing Sub-Committee made the decision to suspend the licence of Shafiq Nadeem, of Jefferson Drive, Chapelford.

This was after two separate allegations of inappropriate behaviour came to light.

But Mr Nadeem denied both incidents and accused the passengers of being upset over the taxi fare.

The dad-of-four was accused of acting inappropriately towards a teenager while he drove her home on December 18, 2011, in the early hours of the morning.

Mr Nadeem allegedly told the complainant, who was aged 18 or 19 at the time, that she was beautiful, asked her if she had a boyfriend and asked her to get into the front seat of the car – making her feel uncomfortable.

No further action was taken by the council following the first complaint four years ago due to a lack of evidence.

A second incident was investigated in February 2014 after a woman accused the taxi driver of grabbing her breast.

While the Crown Prosecution Service ruled there was in sufficient evidence to take the matter to the criminal courts, the Taxi Licensing Sub-Committee made the decision to revoke his licence.

This decision was successfully appealed at Halton Magistrates’ Court by Mr Nadeem in October 2014.

But the council decided to appeal against the magistrates’ ruling as it was argued that the ‘wrong tests’ were applied.

Malcolm Hope, who was acting on behalf of the council, said that Mr Nadeem could no longer work as a taxi driver as he was not a ‘fit and proper person’ to hold the licence.

He said: “In both of these cases there were young ladies in your cab and you fancied them and fancied your chances.

“There was no consequence for the first complainant and no further action from the local authority and police so you tried again with another.”

Mr Hope also denied that there was a dispute over the fare as the money was paid in full by both complainants, who are not known to each other.

But Maria Muller, who was acting on behalf of Mr Nadeem, argued that on both occasions the women had been drinking and that the incidents did not happen.

She said: “Mr Nadeem has had his licence for a long time. Even since his licence has been reinstated, he has been driving for over a year with no complaints.

“He has no previous convictions and is a man of good character.”

But Recorder Williams ruled that Mr Nadeem was not a fit and proper person to hold a taxi licence.

He said: “Incidents of this nature automatically disqualify Mr Nadeem from driving a public vehicle.

“If he was to go before a taxi licensing authority he would not be issued with a licence.”

Note: The council refused to release details of Mr Nadeem’s age.

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

Judge makes an example of fake cabbie… with jail term

A judge made an example of a fake taxi driver by jailing him for 21 months.

He also banned Waseem Akhtar, 32, from sitting in the front seat of a taxi by imposing a criminal behaviour order, successor to the old-style Asbo.

Akhtar pleaded guilty to six counts of fraud relating to taxi licensing.

He passed off a car as a taxi on classified advertising website Gumtree and sold it for more than £2,000 with false documents.

He also posed as a taxi driver and used an Audi which had a false Gedling Borough Council plate.

And he defrauded a cab company into renting him a Skoda, because he claimed his taxi was damaged and in for repair.

He repeated the offence days later, Nottingham Crown Court heard yesterday.

Recorder Paul Manntold Akhtar: “You were posing as a taxi driver to innocent members of the public, who were not to know if you had an accident you were not insured, nor were there safety checks to your vehicle.

“I’m afraid it’s time to pay the price. This is a case where the court has to make an example of you, so legitimate taxi drivers can see why it is so important, so they stay on the right side of the law.”

Akhtar, of Dovedale Road, Bakersfield, had never been a taxi driver for Gedling Borough Council. But he sold his vehicle, claiming it was licensed with the council.

He tampered with the licence plate to change the date and produced a fake paper licence in order to make a profit.

Although the plates may have appeared convincing to the public, an alert member of staff from the borough council’s licensing department spotted something was wrong.

Akhtar was a repeat fraud offender. He had been jailed in 2013 for six months for falsely claiming he held a taxi licence, following previous convictions for the same offence.

Councillor John Clarke, leader of Gedling Borough Council, said: “Our staff spotted the fake plate immediately and this sentence will act as a deterrent to anyone thinking about doing something similar.

“When we get into a taxi, we trust them to be properly licensed, so we want to assure residents that we will continue to be vigilant against this. If anyone sees anything irregular, we ask them to report it to us.”

Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/

Taxi driver jailed for drugs offences

Anthony Patrick Davis of Rordin Heights, Brackenhall, who was jailed for 21 months at Leeds Crown Court for drugs offences.

60-year-old was desperately short of money

A taxi driver caught transporting drugs in his car has been jailed for 21 months.

Leeds Crown Court heard Anthony Patrick Davis was short of money before Christmas last year and would have received some cash for acting as a courier.

Louise Pryke, prosecuting, said police officers were in the Birkby area when they passed Davis who was returning to his taxi parked on the side of the road.

Because he looked shocked to see the officers they decided to go back to investigate but by the time they turned round he had driven off.

However, details of the vehicle were circulated and when it was spotted Davis and the vehicle were searched and a black pepper pot containing 48 individual drug wraps was found.

They were found to be 17 of heroin with a street value of £90 and 31 of crack cocaine worth around £390. He said he had been struggling for money for Christmas.

Simon Hustler, representing Davis, told the court he realised he had made a poor decision to act as a temporary courier for someone else when he was having financial difficulties.

He had consulted the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and discussed bankruptcy but there was a charge for doing that which he could not afford.

References showed he was a valued member of his community, that his actions were completely out of character and a jail sentence would impact greatly on his daughter.

Davis, 60, of Rordin Heights, Brackenhall, admitted possession with intent to supply heroin and crack cocaine.

Recorder Paul Miller told him there had to be an immediate jail term.

“It is clear from various testimonials you are highly regarded by many in your community but the inescapable fact is late last year you chose to involve yourself the carriage of Class A drugs for financial gain,” he said.

“You will realise the fact you were in financial difficulties at home is no excuse at all. I bear in mind your age and the likely impact of the loss of liberty on your family but there has to be a significant deterrent element.

“Addiction to class A drugs is the scourge of our time and a tragedy for thousands of mainly young people.”

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

Black cab passenger who broke driver’s jaw after refusing to pay £31 fare faces jail

Guilty: Antony Patsalos faces jail for the attack on the taxi driver

Ayanie Nageye told jurors he was left in tears and had to drive himself to hospital with a broken jaw after Antony Patsalos launched the assault

A drunk black cab passenger who got in a fight with his driver after refusing to pay a £31 fare punched him so hard he broke his door.

Antony Patsalos, 25, wept as he heard he could be jailed for the assault on experienced cabbie Ayanie Nageye.

Mr Nageye, who has held a Hackney Carriage licence for eight years, had picked up Patsalos and his pals from a boozy night out in Clapham, southwest London.

The passenger had run up £31 on the meter, but instead of paying he insulted his driver, saying: “You taxi drivers are d*** heads.”

He then barked: “F*** off, I’m not going to pay you anything,” before launching the assault, the Old Bailey heard.

Mr Nageye told jurors he was left in tears and had to drive himself to hospital with a broken jaw.

Patsalos claimed it was the taxi driver who was the aggressor during the scuffle in Balham, south London, in the early hours of 8 June last year.

But the jury found him guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm by unanimous verdict.

Mr Recorder Lawrence Cohen QC adjourned sentencing until 2 October.

The judge asked the prosecution to obtain a medical report on the victim’s injury before he decided whether to send Patsalos to prison.

Mr Recorder Cohen said: “If it is a category two [greater harm] case I don’t have a lot of choice but if it is a category three case [lesser harm] then I do.”

The court heard Mr Nageye picked up Patsalos and two friends after they flagged him down on Clapham High Street at around 1am.

He dropped off a male passenger before driving on with Patsalos and a woman, Eva Shields, to Old Bridge Road, in Balham, south London.

Mr Nageye said he was offered just £20 of the £31 fare by Ms Shields before he let them both out of the cab.

He told the court an argument erupted as all three stood on the street before Patsalos punched him in the face as he tried to get back into his taxi.

“I started to go back to my cab to leave,” said the driver.

“He went to the back of my taxi and I never thought he was going to do anything. I was not expecting anything.

“Then I found out that he was preparing to hit me deliberately while I was opening the door looking down.

“I was trying to get in my taxi and he hit me on my jaw on the left so that shows I was opening the door.”

“I was crying. Immediately I called 999, I drove by myself to the hospital and they told me I had a fractured jaw.”

But Patsalos, who admitted he was drunk at the time of the fight, insisted he had done nothing wrong.

He claimed there was due to be a third drop-off in Clapham and the £20 had been Ms Shields’ contribution to the full fare.

“As I was getting out of the cab I was aware the taxi man then got out of his cab and he was being slightly aggressive in the way he was talking,” said Patsalos.

“I said to him I’m not going to not pay you, I just want to say goodbye to my friend.”

The defendant continued: “I did see that he took off his shoes, sandal type shoes, and placed them neatly underneath the taxi.

“I felt threatened at that point, I felt completely threatened when he took his sandals off.

“It was all very strange to me at that time. Then he said: ‘Are you ready to do this?’
‘I was scared at that point. I was scared.”

Patsalos told how a scuffle started when Mr Nageye stepped forward and grabbed him around the throat.

“It was a choke, it was if I couldn’t breathe. All of a sudden my defence mechanisms came out in my body and I grabbed out as well.

“It was more like a wrestling match at that point.”

The defendant said the tussle ended up on the ground before a resident came out of his house and split up the fight.

“Maybe there were punches thrown by both of us, but I didn’t throw the first punch,” he added.

Patsalos, of Macaulay Road, Clapham, in south London denied a single count of inflicting grievous bodily harm but was convicted after a three-day trial.

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

Nov 26

Taxi drivers’ group backs Bath council satnav ban

David Dixon with taxi drivers Colin Butler and Rob Hollingdale

An association of Bath taxi drivers in Bath has supported council proposals to restrict the use of sat-navs.

Bath and North East Somerset Council has proposed a ban to improve the knowledge of drivers as well as the safety of passengers.

However, drivers would still be able to use them outside B&NES, and in special circumstances, for instance when they don’t recognise an address or are just given a postcode.

Chairman of Bath Taxi Association Rob Hollingdale said drivers had a good relationship with the council, and supported the proposals.

He said: “A Bath taxi driver doesn’t need a sat-nav to cross Bath.

“The majority of drivers agree with this decision.

“If you use sat-navs too much you start to rely on them, rather than learning where things are.”

Council cabinet member Councillor David Dixon (Lib Dem, Oldfield) said drivers should know their way around their local area.

However he said council officials would be flexible, with drivers found using a sat-nav asked to explain why

Mr Dixon said: “We have an excellent working relationship with taxi drivers. They agree with what we are saying about sat-navs.

“Sat-navs do not always show the best route, and do not make you aware of traffic issues at different times of the day, something that drivers should be aware of.”

Members of another group, region eight of the National Taxi Association, say it is important that the council’s policy is flexible.

It agrees that sat-navs on a windscreen that block views pose a safety issue, but says they should not be banned.

A spokesman said: “The overview of the regional committee is that B&NES is supported in its efforts in so far as safety is concerned, windscreens must not be obscured, but the total prohibition of modern sat-nav equipment is however, strongly objected to.”

He added: “On occasions passengers ask for a postcode as a destination and in this scenario, a sat-nav is a necessity not a nicety.

“Minor roads may be visited by drivers rarely or even never, passengers often ask for their destination and add that it is off a more major thoroughfare which will be known by the driver.

“On approach the sat-nav simply shows whether it is the eighth, ninth or tenth turning for example.”

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

 

Comment from NTA Administration Officer;

Nov 26

Street light switch off contributed to death, coroner finds

Switched off street lights in Warwickshire contributed to the death of a student, a coroner has concluded.

Badly lit: Coroner ruled that street lights being switched off contributed to Archie Wellbelove’s death

Archie Wellbelove died after being hit by a taxi along a stretch of the A452 near Leamington, five days after Warwickshire CC switched off a number of the region’s street lights in a bid to save funds.

In a narrative conclusion recorded following an inquest into the death, coroner Dr David Brittain said ‘the lack of street lighting’ was among ‘multiple factors’ which contributed to the collision.

Brittain also forced Warwickshire into an early review of its lighting policy along the stretch of the A452.

‘I do not believe the specifics of this case have been reviewed by those who have the power to do so sufficiently and I feel a delay until July is unacceptable,’ Brittain said. ‘I think a review will be helpful and I will be issuing a report to prevent future deaths.’

The inquest at Warwickshire Justice Centre heard Wellbelove was three and a half times over the drink drive limit when walking towards Warwick University in the early hours of December 7 2012. Police reported that he was facing away from traffic while walking in the road.

The taxi driver said he was unable to see Wellbelove and was used to the road being lit, describing the route as ‘very dark’.

A Warwickshire CC spokesperson said: ‘At the time of the incident, the lights were switched off on the road. It is a stretch of road where there is limited traffic during the hours of the switch off, and where there have historically been very few accidents.

‘We have closely examined all aspects of community safety both before and during the move to part-night lighting. Since the move, there has been no increase in the rates of road traffic accidents on roads where the lights have been switched off.

‘We will continue to work closely with all agencies involved and monitor all the data on accidents on roads, as well as all aspects of community safety, where part-night lighting is in operation.’

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

Nov 26

Councillor calls for investigation on ‘rip off taxi fares’

Avonmouth councillor said he has received “numerous complaints” over covert pricing practices constituents have encountered, particularly over the weekends

 

Wayne Harvey

A councillor in Avonmouth is calling for an urgent investigation into how some taxi drivers “rip off” passengers travelling out of the city centre.

Earlier this month, Bristol mayor George Ferguson approved an average 8% rise in the cost of a three-mile taxi journey made during the day within Bristol, after a review of rates by Bristol City Council.

But according to Conservative councillor Wayne Harvey, some Hackney Carriage drivers are “regularly ripping-off customers”.

He said he has received “numerous complaints” from constituents over covert pricing practices they have encountered, particularly over the weekends, including:

  • People being charged per head;
  • Meter’s not running in certain cabs;
  • Drivers deliberately not taking the most direct routes to destinations.

Cllr Harvey has said he wants Cllr Mark Bradshaw, the cabinet member with responsibility for transport, for a full investigation to be carried out by licensing officers.

“It is absolutely outrageous that customers, especially those who live on the fringes of the city, are regularly being fleeced by some cabbies in this way,” he said.

“For example, in one reported instance, instead of driving from the city centre to Shirehampton Green – via the A4 Portway – the blue cab driver chose to travel across Durdham Downs. This circuitous route was then used to justify charging passengers a whopping £35 fare. My constituents were ripped-off.

“Such behaviour gives all licenced operators a bad name and, if allowed to go unchecked, will end up simply killing the trade.

“Therefore, I am urging the cabinet councillor with responsibility for such regulatory matters to investigate and, where applicable, clamp down on these anti-competitive sharp practices.”

According to the council, for journeys outside the city boundary, taxi drivers do not need to use their meter. The council says it is up to the passenger to negotiate the fare with the driver before they set off. The driver must tell you the fare to be paid before you go and, if you can’t agree, you should find another taxi and negotiate with the driver there.

source: http://www.bristol247.com/

Nov 26

Family’s Facebook Appeal Over 1994 Taxi Murder

The mother of a man shot dead in his taxi 20 years ago says her only wish is to know why her son was “so evilly ripped away”.

Ethsham Ul-Haq Ghafoor was shot dead as he waited in his taxi in 1994

The family of a man shot dead as he sat in his taxi nearly 20 years ago have launched a Facebook page in a renewed bid to trace those responsible.

Ethsham Ul-Haq Ghafoor, known to his friends and family as Shami, was shot twice in his Ford Sierra while waiting in a car park in Gedling, Nottingham, at 4.30am on November 22, 1994.

Police branded the killing “cold-blooded, pre-meditated murder” but no-one has ever been charged over the 26-year-old’s death.

Now, Mr Ghafoor’s family have launched the Justice for Ethsham Shami Ghafoor page in the hope someone with key information will come forward.

In a statement on the website, Mr Ghafoor’s 76-year-old mother Walayat Begum said her only remaining wish was “to see those responsible for my son’s death brought to justice, in my lifetime”.

She added: “I am a mother who has suffered greatly for her loss for which you cannot begin to imagine.

“I need to know … why my son was so evilly ripped away from me.

“I plead to anyone with information to make my suffering lighter. My pain is never-ending. As long as we are here, we will demand justice.”

Detective Chief Inspector Tony Heydon, of Nottinghamshire Police, said there may be people who know who is responsible for Mr Ghafoor’s death but have never come forward.

He said: “Now is the time to put Shami’s family first and help them find closure. Their Facebook group shows just how desperate for justice they are, and if you know anything, you could help them.”

In 2005, officers and family members revisited the scene to launch a public appeal on what was the 11th anniversary of the killing.

The appeal page has had more than 350 likes since it was set up.

source: http://news.sky.com/

Nov 26

Minicab firm offers to chauffeur Derby Mayor if office is axed

A MINICAB firm has declared an interest in chauffeuring the Mayor of Derby after plans to axe the role’s office and driver caused alarm.

Derby Carz – which was officially launched by the city’s Mayor in August – said it was saddened to learn the Mayor’s Office faces the axe.

If the proposal goes ahead, the Mayor’s staff and chauffeur would be made redundant and the role would no longer involve attending public functions or engagements. The city council said the move could help offset Government-enforced cuts.

In announcing the proposal, leader Paul Bayliss said he hoped a minicab firm would offer to chauffeur the Mayor as part of a sponsorship deal, so the councillor in the role could carry on attending public functions.

Derby Carz owner Mohammed Hasham said that he would be interested in striking such a deal.

He said: “Yes, I’d be interested in that. It’s important the Mayor continues to attend functions and being the chauffeur would help promote my business.

“When the Mayor came to our opening in August, it brought us a lot of attention. Lots of customers said they saw us in the paper and that was because the Mayor agreed to come. The Mayor is a good thing to have in a city. It helps raise the profile of local businesses.”

The council said it could save £103,000 a year by scrapping the Mayor’s Office, which includes three full-time members of staff – including the chauffeur – who organises the Mayor’s schedule. A final decision on whether to axe the office will be made after a public consultation is carried out.

Mr Bayliss said the council would contact the minicab firm. He said: “I am pleased with this expression of interest. We will respond in due course.”

Meanwhile, opinion was mixed on how important the Mayor’s role is in Derby.

In an poll on the Derby Telegraph’s website, 60% of readers said the city needed a mayor and 40% said the role was not important.

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

Nov 25

Open Letter from Region 8 – National Taxi Association

National Taxi Association Region 8

Tel:                  01752 202728                                                                                                 35 Cardinal Avenue

Mob:                07766 053346                                                                                                 St Budeaux

E-Mail:            crwildman@blueyonder.co.uk                                                                          Plymouth,

                                                                                                                                                 PL5 1UN

 

 

Councillor D Dixon,                                                                                                                  25th November 2013

Bath and North East Somerset Council.

 

By Email david_dixon@bathnes.gov.uk

                                                                                                           

Proscription of SatNav Devices in BANES Licensed Vehicles

Dear Councillor Dixon,

The proposition before your Council (BANES) that SatNav Devices are to be banned in your Licensing Area in the near future was discussed in depth at our Regional meeting held on Tuesday 19th November 2013.

Bath Taxi Association (BTA) were represented by Mr Robin Hollingdale and he clarified what was understood of the proposition, several of the other Delegates also had looked into the situation prior to the meeting.  Discussion followed and whilst it was not put to a resolution, and R8 NTA does not have the power to set a National Policy, the feeling of the meeting was as follows:

The Committee felt that positioning of anything in the swept area of the windscreen is to be actively discouraged and is therefore supportive of the current enforceable legislation. Provision of vehicles with inbuilt SatNav equipment is becoming more and more prevalent and such systems are not screen mounted and are therefore fully legally compliant.

SatNavs, if banned, could end up being much more dangerous by being used surreptitiously, they are for example, already available in wristwatches and virtually no mobile phone is without the facility. To this end it is considered that BANES are attempting to “Shut the Stable Door after the Horse has bolted”.  Would a passenger be safer if a Driver glanced at a properly sited SatNav, studied a wristwatch or even consulted a book format A to Z, so taking his attention from the Road?

Local Authorities are at liberty to set the Topographical Knowledge tests at the level that they consider necessary and a fine line exists between being so onerous that no new Drivers are ever recruited and so lax that no new Drivers can negotiate the Licensing District in a professional manner.  Unfortunately BANES have slightly painted themselves into a corner on this possibility by issuing only a combined Taxi/PH Licence. Consultation of the DfT publication “Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing: Best Practice Guide” (March 2010) (Current)(Link,), shows at paras 75 and 76 that PH levels of Topographical Knowledge can be set at a lower standard than that for the Taxi Driver. (Note 1.)

The “Knowledge” sensibly required of a Taxi Driver is backed up by the use of a SatNav and is not a replacement for it.  On occasion Passengers ask for a Postcode as a destination and in this scenario a SatNav is a necessity not a nicety.  Minor roads may be visited by Drivers rarely or even never, passengers often ask for their destination and add that it is off a more major thoroughfare which will be known by the Driver, on approach the SatNav simply shows whether it is the eighth, ninth or tenth turning for example.

The SatNav is preferable to the dog eared AtoZ favoured by our predecessors in the trade, though there is still a place for that venerable publication in the Taxi world.  

The overview of the Regional Committee in a nutshell is therefore that BANES is supported in its efforts in so far as safety is concerned, windscreens must not be obscured. The total prohibition of modern SatNav equipment is however, strongly objected to.

In your subsequent discussion with the Bath Delegate, Mr Robin Hollingdale, we think that the NTA R8 position was not made perfectly clear for you, as you erroneously claimed on BBC Radio Bristol the following morning that you had the support of Region 8 of the National Taxi Association.  This was correct only in the part directly concerning safety.  It is understood that it was not a deliberate error on your part.

You are aware that yours is the only Authority that has proposed this condition and so the National Taxi Association has not needed, nor indeed debated a position on this issue.  Region 8 has requested that our Regional Director take the steps required so that the NTA have policy put into place as soon as possible.  We will of course keep you appraised.

 Finally it must not be forgotten that the Law Commission are in the process of renewing all Taxi and Private Hire Legislation.  Their work is not complete but your attention is drawn to the interim statement that they produced earlier this year.  The document is the only clear notification of the intentions of the Commission.  This statement, (available here) is clear at para 12 that standard setting for the Private Hire Trade will be removed from Local Authority control.  This, if it goes through the relevant stages in the Houses of Parliament and receives Royal Assent unchanged, will negate much of the BANES proposal.  At Para 18, a Taxi Driver aggrieved at ban on his or her use of navigational aids will find it far more practical to challenge the Local Authority imposing such a prohibition than at present.  As a result much time and money may be wasted by implementing an unwarranted change in the lead up to the new Taxi and Private Hire Primary Legislation. 

 

Christopher R Wildman.

Secretary.

 

 

Note 1.

The BTA would like the opportunity to be licensed in compliance with the 1847 Town Police Clauses Act only. 

The separate Licence for Private Hire Drivers in accordance with the 1976 Miscellaneous Provisions Act should be also available separately and may be held alongside the Taxi Licence if required by individual applicants.

Both Licences should be made available for a period of three years, as preferred in the guidance quoted, this would, and should, result in financial savings for the licensees and a significant saving of time for BANES Officers charged with issuing Licences.

 

CC

Leader of BANES Council

All Members Licensing sub Committee BANES

Licensing Office BANES

Secretary NTA (for Directors & Website Publication)

Bath Chronicle

Radio Bristol

Private Hire & Taxi Monthly (for Publication)

Nov 25

Threat of court on illegal taxi trade in Pendle

TAXI drivers who illegally ply for hire outside pubs in Pendle could face prosecution.

The warning comes as Pendle Council launched a crackdown on both Hackney and private hire taxis picking up fares near the White Bear Inn, the George and Dragon and the Thatch and Thistle pub in Barrowford.

Taxi driver associations welcomed the action, but called for more immediate punishments for those who flout the law.

Prosecutions in these circumstances are carried out by local councils rather than police. Private hire taxis are only insured when booked through a rank and Hackney carriages are not allowed to wait in places other than designated spots to pick up trade.

Charlie Oakes, chairman of the Hackney Carriage Association, said: “The council should have a substantial crackdown on unlawful plying for hire. These people should be prosecuted. It has to stop.”

The council has agreed to carry out more plying for hire exercises to issue warnings to drivers.

A similar exercise carried out over two days in June in Barrowford, Fence and Colne saw nine private hire drivers and nine Hackney cab drivers issued warning notices.

Council leader Joe Cooney said councillors wanted to come to an agreement with drivers illegally picking up customers before it became necessary to prosecute.

He said: “We are going to try to work with both the Hackney trade and the private hire trade before we go down the route of prosecutions. We would rather work with them to find a solution. Members of the community are going to go out with officers on a Friday night to the hotspot areas so we can see for ourselves what the situation is.

“If they do not want to agree to anything, we will go down the route of prosecutions. Our concern is safety.”

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

Nov 25

Taxi driver to appeal in St George’s sticker row

A Newton Abbot taxi driver banned from having a St George’s Cross sticker in her cab is taking her case to appeal.

Patriotic Denise Said, 56, has three English flag signs stuck on the doors and boot of her vehicle with the words ‘Local Cabbie’.

But after one complaint from a rival cab firm she was stunned to receive a letter from the council accusing her of breaching equality laws.

Teignbridge Council said that residents, visitors and other drivers who were not ‘local’ could be put at a disadvantage by the stickers.

The case to retain the signage is due to go before Teignbridge Council’s regulatory and appeal’s committee tomorrow.

The committee can decide to grant permission for the signs or asked they are removed within 72 hours.

The authority says that adverts must adhere to its policy to promote equality irrespective of race, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation or religion.

Ms Said said in a letter to go before the committee: “I believe that my signs do not fail to comply with the licensing policy [and] I also do not believe my sign is likely to cause widespread or serious offence.”

In the past year, the authority has received 14 applications from EU nationals to be licensed as drivers in the district.

Documents due to go before the committee state that the authority liaised with a foreign embassy and consulate, the Department of Transport and other licensing authorities to formulate stringent medical and criminal conviction checks for foreign nationals.

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

 

 

Taxi driver vows to fight on after losing appeal in St George’s flag row

 

Denise Said with supporters at Forde House

A NEWTON Abbot cabbie has vowed to fight on after being told to remove ‘local’ St George’s Cross stickers from her taxi.

Patriotic Denise Said, 56, said she will take her case to the magistrates court after an appeals committee ruled that she has to remove the stickers by Friday or have her licence suspended.

But Denise, who runs Lady D Taxis, said she will not remove the stickers.

She said after the hearing: “They are staying on the car and I will do my best to appeal the decision.

“They are not derogatory and do not offend anyone.”

The appeal to retain the signage was heard at Teignbridge Council’s regulatory and appeals committee on Monday morning.

The committee deliberated for 50 minutes and decided that the signs did not meet requirements of its Hackney Carriage and Private Hire licensing policy or the Equality Act 2010.

Rod Peers, speaking on behalf of Mrs Said told the committee that the stickers were not discriminatory and had nothing to do with race or nationality.

He said: “It does not offend anybody or exclude anybody but merely gives the indication that the driver is from the locality.

“It is easy to know if the driver knows the local area if you have local written on the cab.”

Mrs Said said that she has driven a cab for 12 years and displayed the specially-made stickers for the past two years after being asked by passengers if she was local.

Cllr Klinkenberg said: “Anyone who works, sets up a business or is employee as a taxi driver would obviously be living here and they would , I would assume, would drive the area and get to know it so they could also be considered as local drivers irrespective of where they had come from.”

Cllr Beryl Austen asked Mrs Said: “Anyone resident locally whether English or not could display the sign?”

Mrs Said answered: “I don’t see why not.”

Licensing officer Hayley Carpenter said that it was the combination of the flag and the words that caused difficulty.

She said: “This is not about the St George’s Flag it is about the combination of the flag with the words ‘local driver’ across it that could be saying ‘British Driver’.

In the past year, the authority has received 14 applications from EU nationals to be licensed as drivers in the district.

The authority changed its policy in January this year to ensure EU nationals are subject to criminal conviction checks.

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

Nov 24

Addison Lee Minicab Driver Filmed Smoking Crack Cocaine

A minicab driver from Addison Lee, was secretly filmed inhaling crack cocaine as pedestrians passed by only inches away.

A shocked witness watched as he pulled kitchen foil from the boot, sprinkled on coke crystals and heated them from underneath.

He then used a makeshift tube to inhale the fumes.

The man described as Asian clean-shaven and aged about 30, leaned back as he felt the hit before driving off minutes later.

The Minicab filmed in Plastow East London, carried the Addison Lee livery on the roof and rear windscreen.

A spokesman from Addison Lee thanked the Sun on Sunday for drawing their attention to the video evidence.

He added “we have referred this matter to the police and transport for London. The driver has been suspended by Addison Lee and will no longer be providing his services.

source http://taxileaks.blogspot.co.uk/

(via Sun on Sunday)

Nov 23

Council crackdown on ‘bogus’ cabbies

An example of a registration plate that can be found on a taxi licensed by North Devon Council.

Some unlicensed taxi drivers are using Facebook to pick up fares, claim council.

COUNCIL bosses say they will prosecute unlicensed taxi drivers who illegally promote their services on Facebook.

North Devon Council is urging people to double-check that the taxi and private hire services they use are licensed, after being made aware of claims that some bogus cabbies had been using social media to pick up fares.

Councillor Joe Tucker, chairman of the council’s licensing committee, said: “Drivers who pick up fares without themselves being licensed or having their vehicles licensed are committing criminal offences.

“It’s unfair to other legitimate drivers and what’s more, if they take a payment for a journey and subsequently have an accident, their insurance could be invalidated, costing them money and potentially landing them in court.”

The council said it needed people to come forward with evidence so that action could be taken.

Lead licensing officer Katy Nicholls, said: “People who pay for rides in unlicensed cars are putting themselves at risk, with these drivers also unlikely to have been security checked.

“If anyone comes across cases on social media, where they suspect a driver doesn’t hold the right licences, I would urge them to report cases, get screen grabs of their Facebook or Twitter posts and pass them on to us.”

People can check that the taxi they use is licensed by making sure there is a licence plate on the back of the vehicle. Drivers should also have an official badge.

To report cases of unlicensed activity, call 01271 388870 or email licensing@northdevon.gov.uk

.

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

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