TAXI drivers have been fined for dropping elderly women off at the door to their local cafés for their daily cuppa.
Pearl Penhall gets a lift each day to Snax Cafe in Bedminster’s East Street which is now closed to through vehicles.
Cabbie John Shamis was given a ticket for using the street to drive the 73-year-old to the front of the cafV rather than making her walk round the corner from Warden Street with her zimmer frame.
Pensioner Mrs Penhall, who lives in a block of flats in Ashton, told the Evening Post she couldn’t walk from the end of the road and didn’t want to give up her daily routine.
The elderly lady uses the taxi company as a lifeline to get out of her flat and is well known by the drivers, who take time to help her and other elderly passengers out of their cars and escort them to the door of the café.
“We’ve been bringing elderly and disabled people down this stretch for years,” Mr Shamis told the Post. “I was taking this young lady Pearl down and the officer wasn’t interested and hit me with a £30 fine.”
Mr Shamis, from Bedminster, is not alone.
He told the Post three of his colleagues had also been fined in the past six weeks for the same thing – dropping elderly or disabled clients as close as they could to their destination.
The shopping street in Bedminster is now closed to cars, with only buses and cyclists allowed to use the road as a cut-through to avoid a detour around Malago Road.
“I said I’m not cutting through but he wasn’t interested,” Mr Shamis explained.
The 25-year-old cabbie for Club Cars said he paid the subsequent fine because “to appeal it would have cost more money”.
“That officer should have looked and seen I had a disabled passenger,” he added.
“It is restricted to service vehicles and buses, but as far as we’re concerned we are just servicing the community.”
A council spokesman confirmed to the Post there is a ‘prohibition of driving order’ in force in East Street between 7am and 7pm which only allows buses and pedal cycles to travel through, “so any taxis driving along to drop off passengers will be penalised”.
“There are various side roads which would mean that a driver could drop the passenger very close to where they needed to go without transgressing the order,” he said.
But he confirmed traffic enforcement officers have room for discretion.
“It would be down to individual circumstances,” he added.