Teenager pointed ‘gun’ at taxi driver to avoid £9 fare

David Arnott, 19, threatened the cabbie after travelling with two friends from South Bridge to the Craigour area of Edinburgh.


Edinburgh Sheriff: Taxi passenger pulled out fake gun.

A teenager who pointed an imitation gun at a taxi driver to avoid paying a £9 fare was ordered to carry out community service.

David Arnott, 19, took a cab with two friends from South Bridge, Edinburgh, to the Craigour area of the city on May 15 last year.

When the taxi stopped Arnott jumped out and pulled out a fake gun, which the driver, William Simpson, believed was real. He then forced him to unlock the doors and let his friends out.

Fiscal depute Melanie Ward told Edinburgh Sheriff Court: “They arrived at around 12.15am and Arnott got out of the car but the other two were still inside.

Arnott removed an imitation firearm and pointed it at Mr Simpson and demanded the driver open the doors. Mr Simpson told the court he did not know the gun was fake and was so alarmed he told them to leave.”

The court heard Mr Simpson was able to finish his shift and then contacted the police.

Arnott, of Willowdean, Bridgend, Linlithgow, admitted intending to not pay the fare and pointing an imitation firearm at the driver.
He also admitted intending to pervert the course of justice by asking a friend to hide the gun for him.

Defence agent Chris Fehilly said Arnott was a nice young man who had gotten into bother after leaving the family home.

He added that he had one previous conviction at Justice of the Peace level for having no licence and no insurance and also said Arnott was back living with his family.

Mr Fehilly said: “It was to be frank an act of breathtaking stupidity by a young man who was extremely inebriated. The imitation firearm was essentially a toy from the property he had been consuming alcohol at and he stupidly took it out with him.

“It is fortunate the gentleman was robust and was able to continue work for the rest of the evening. He is now back in the family home and there has been no offending in the interim. He has taken the offence seriously.”

Sheriff Elizabeth Jarvie QC said she was persuaded not to impose a custodial sentence due to the lack of a long record of offending.

She ordered Arnott to carry out 300 hours of community service and to pay his victim £1000 in compensation.

source: http://news.stv.tv/scotland/east-central/

“Was it worth it for £100?”… Dad-of-four speaks after terrifying taxi ordeal

THE taxi driver victim of a knifeman jailed indefinitely for attempted robbery has today asked “was it worth it for £100?”.

Andrew Michael Reed held a blade to the throat of Middlesbrough cabbie Mehrban Manga.

The would-be robber has since been told he will serve at least three years before being considered for parole.

And Mr Manga, who fought off the 31-year-old, said: “I think he should have got at least 10 years. Over the years he had been using knifes for his crimes.

“I’m pleased no one got seriously hurt. Is it worth doing that for £100? I was determined he was not going to get it.”

Dad-of-four Mr Manga finished off the last five hours of his shift following the terrifying incident last July.

And the 41-year-old said today: “I had to go back to work to calm down a bit. I did not want to go home and be upset.”

Having worked in the town for two decades, Mr Manga said he was just trying to earn a living when he was held up.

The self-employed family man was lured to a secluded spot in Aberdare Road, Grangetown, after picking Reed up in central Middlesbrough in the early hours.

Reed then put the blade to Mr Manga’s neck and demanded cash, but the cabbie grabbed the weapon and wrestled it away. The driver said: “There’s nothing brave about it, it was just reflex that’s all, it was instinct.”

Mr Manga said Reed’s shifty behaviour when he got in the taxi had made him wary. He said: “I was suspicious when he got in; a young lad normally gets in the front.

“He sat in the back. He slid over behind me which I did not like so I told him to move to the left and can you put your seatbelt on.”

Mr Manga said Reed did not specify where he wanted to be, before guiding the driver to a stop. “Towards the end of the cul-de-sac there were boarded-up houses and I said where do you want to be?” he said.

“I never kept my eye on him at the end because I thought he was getting out from the back. He had his legs behind me and he slid over and opened the back door behind me and he said ‘give us what you got’.

“I said ‘what do you mean? and next thing I knew something cold was touching my throat. Next thing, my hands were round the knife. With my right hand I grabbed hold of his knife and with the left hand, I’m sure, I grabbed hold of his wrist.”

Mr Manga used such force that he bent the knife, pictured inset, at a 90 degree angle, before his thwarted attacker fled the scene after about 40 seconds.

He said: “I don’t know whether he wanted to stab me, but he wanted to overpower me to get the money off me. At that time I didn’t think of anything. You either face potentially being stabbed or you take it off them.”

A police chase ensued and Reed was tracked down in St Nicholas Court, Grangetown, where he was living. He was hauled before Teesside Crown Court this week, where he was locked up indefinitely for the protection of the public after pleading guilty to attempted robbery and possessing heroin.

The court heard Reed had a history of offences where he used knives to threaten people. In August 2005 he was jailed for a total of nine years for two aggravated burglaries involving knives in Grangetown the previous December.

He was released on June 22 last year.

source; http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/

Vital maintenance for Edinburgh Waverley station’s south ramp

Vital maintenance for Waverley station’s south ramp

By A. Samuel · February 25, 2011 · Refurbishments, Stations

Waverley Station Edinburgh

Edinburgh Waverley station’s south ramp is to undergo a programme of essential refurbishment between March and May as part of the £130m project to renew the station’s roof and enhance its passenger facilities.

From Friday March 4 until the end of May no taxis or private vehicles will be able to access the station while the structure is excavated, waterproofed and resurfaced.

To help reduce disruption for passengers an additional taxi rank, accommodating up to 12 taxis, will be created on Market Street for the start of the works and the existing taxi rank on Waverley Bridge will also remain available.

For passengers with restricted mobility, step-free access will be available via New Street car park where free, time limited, pick-up and drop-off by taxis and private vehicles will be permitted.

In addition, a dedicated phone-line will be installed close to the existing taxi rank for passengers with restricted mobility to contact customer support at East Coast trains. They will provide assistance and arrange taxi pick-up from New Street car park.

Ron McAulay, Network Rail director Scotland, said: “This project is vital to the long-term future of one of Scotland’s busiest stations and disruption for motorists cannot be avoided.

“We have done everything possible to minimise the length of time the ramp will be unavailable and to put in place a range of measures to limit inconvenience for passengers.”

Network Rail’s £130m upgrade to Edinburgh Waverley will see the station’s 34,000m2 roof entirely replaced by 2014. Funded through Network Rail’s renewals budget, the project will see 28,000 clear glass panels installed over the next three years, flooding the station with natural light and improving the environment for passengers.

The improvements to Waverley will also result in new fully-accessible entrances from Market Street and from Princes Street. The concourse will be resurfaced, furniture will be cleaned or removed and building exteriors will get a makeover. Work will progress in phases with minimum disruption to train services and the operation of the station.

The project to enhance Waverley Steps began two weeks ago. The government-funded scheme will improve accessibility to Princes Street by creating a new covered step and escalator access between Princes Street and the north entrance to Waverley as well as lift access from the station to Princes Street via the roof of Princes Mall.

The first phase of the works will take around 10 months with the steps reopening in December 2011. The second phase of the works to install lifts will completed by July 2012.

source: http://www.rail.co/2011/02/25/

Is Weston-super-Mare train station right to double licence fee for taxi drivers?

TAXI drivers operating at Weston-super-Mare train station say they may stop running taxis from the destination in the future after their licence fee was doubled.

First Great Western used to grant the permits to self-employed drivers wanting to pick up passengers from the town centre station at a cost of £300 a year.

Image

However, from this month the licences will be granted by Cabfind, a supplier of taxi management services, which has stated the fee will rise to £600 a year.

Drivers at Weston station are outraged at the massive hike and are refusing to pay the amount saying it is far too expensive, particularly with the majority of passengers walking to town instead of using taxis.

They have held talks with Cabfind, who said it was prepared to drop the figure to £480 but said all drivers must may the amount in full by February 28.

Richard Hopkins, 40, a taxi driver of 12 years, who has operated from Weston railway station for the past three years, says it is unfair and the drivers are not prepared to pay the huge fee.

He said: “Up until now First Great Western have issued the licences but Cabfind take over at the end of the month.

“They are coming in and putting up the licence fee by 100 per cent, which is doubling it from £300 to £600.

“The firm says the reason for the hike is because they base the licence fee on footfall of passengers departing at Weston but they cannot go on that.

“Most people leave the station on foot as we are only five minutes’ walk to the town centre and the beach.

“I have spoken to all the other drivers and they are not willing to pay £600.

“Cabfind has since said it will give us a discount of 20 per cent bringing it down to £480 but this is on the basis of us renewing our licence by the end of the month but this is still too much.

“At the end of the day we are in a recession and we should be getting a discount if anything.

“If drivers are not prepared to pay it, passengers may find no taxis waiting at Weston station.

“One of the longest serving drivers at the station, of 25 years, says he will not bother at that sort of price.”

Mr Hopkins said drivers are also angered by the news Cabfind has awarded a contract to Apple Cars to transport passengers elsewhere in the event of trains stopping, which is a service they have always provided.

He added: “We were under the impression we would still get the work if a train stopped working or there were delays and passengers needed transporting to Bristol Temple Meads by taxi, but we have now heard that has been given to Apple.

“We may as well go and work from another rank for free.”

The Evening Post contacted Cabfind but they declined the opportunity to comment.

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

Fury as Manchester Airport prayer room closes after fire

Taxi drivers have reacted with anger – claiming around 500 people use the site every week and that it forms a crucial part of their daily routine.
Taxi drivers have reacted with anger – claiming around 500 people use the site every week and that it forms a crucial part of their daily routine.

An islamic prayer room at Manchester Airport which was damaged in a suspected arson attack has been shut – for ‘health and safety’ reasons. The cabin was used by taxi drivers and airport staff for worship but was closed suddenly by airport bosses earlier this week.

Two ceremonial garments inside the room were deliberately set ablaze on September 11 last year – the ninth anniversary of the attacks on New York’s Twin Towers.

Now the centre, on the airport’s taxi feeder park in Ringway Road, has been axed permanently – because chiefs say the building is dangerous and would cost too much to repair. But taxi drivers have reacted with anger – claiming around 500 people use the site every week and that it forms a crucial part of their daily routine.

One driver, a member of the Manchester Airport Taxi Drivers’ Association who are National Taxi Association members, said: “Everyone is furious that we were not consulted. We went to use it as normal and found it was locked up with a sign on the door saying it had been closed.

“Many Muslims go there five times a day to pray – we’ve used it for about a decade and are disgusted that it has shut without warning. We were all very upset when it was set on fire on September 11 and this feels like another kick in the teeth.”

The site is separate from the five prayer rooms in the airport terminals, which are part of the airport’s multi-faith chaplaincy.

Airport bosses say the cabin is unsafe and have told the drivers that they can now use their other prayer rooms.

Detectives said they were uncertain whether the blaze on September 11 last year was ‘religiously or racially motivated’.

An airport spokesman said: “Having had an independent health and safety assessment conducted, we were informed that the building had reached the end of its serviceable life and was beyond repair. We continue to provide other prayer rooms that are easily accessible.”

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

Taxi Drivers Protest Over Proposed Changes

Taxi drivers in Durham took to the streets in protest yesterday. 60 drivers attended the protest against plans for a shake up in their trade. The County Council is looking at plans to deregulate the service by removing zones and lifting limits on vehicle operation numbers.

Durham City drivers said they fear that there isn’t enough business or space in order to cope with extra vehivles operating and offering services. The council has said a decision on any changes won’t be made until next month, plans were made after a consultation on the future of trade.

Spark FM’s Sam Willey spoke with the chairman of the North East and Cumbria region of the National Taxi association Bob Sneddon, about the protest, this is what he had to say:

 Bob Smedon [0:24]

source: http://sparksunderland.com/2011/02/24/taxi-drivers-protest-over-proposed-changes/

Steep fines for NYC hacks who refuse to take passengers where they want to go

New York City cabbies who refuse to take passengers to the airport or other faraway destinations are about to face increased penalties for their dereliction.

The New York Post reports that incidents of refusal of service, which rank among the most egregious nonviolent offenses a driver can commit, have risen dramatically, prompting the Taxi and Limousine Commission to crack down. The paper reports that from 2009 to 2010, the number of incidences of service refusal jumped from 1,963 to 2,341, a 38 percent increase.

Currently, the penalty for refusing to pick up a passenger ranges from $200 to $350 for a first offense, and $350 to $500 plus a possible 30-day license suspension for a second offense. The new fines would be $500 for a first offense, and $750 and a 30-day suspension for a second offense within 24 months.

Penalties for a third strike will remain the same: a mandatory revocation of the driver’s license for a third offense with a 36-month period.

By way of explaining the stringent new rulings, David Yassky, TLC Commissioner and Chair is quoted as saying:

A core component of taxi service is that the passenger chooses where to go in the five boroughs. Unfortunately, it is getting to be like the bad old days when taxis wouldn’t go to Brooklyn.

In the drivers’ defense, it should be noted that New York City covers 330 square miles. Driving a passenger to the southermost point in Brooklyn, where fares are few and between, can be a costly proposition in lost time and wages. A second factor is driver safety. Being required to drive a passenger to a remote location, especially after dark, could cost a driver his life.

Before the new rulings go into effect, the City Council will need to vote on the fine schedule.

source: http://www.examiner.com/

Stevenage taxi driver guilty of rape


Mahmood will be sentenced on April 1.

A taxi driver has been found guilty of raping a 19-year-old woman in his cab.

Tariq Mahmood, 48, of Archer Road, Stevenage, was found guilty at Luton Crown Court on Thursday of the assault in Ripon Road, Stevenage, in the early hours of October 31, 2009.

The jury heard how he had picked the woman up from Stevenage Leisure Park, but stopped en route to her home and assaulted her. She fled the cab after the attack and called police.

“This case has been particularly traumatic and very stressful for the victim who has been incredibly brave in the lead up and throughout this court case,” said Det Insp Steve Keating from Herts Constabulary sexual offence investigation team.

“We hope that she will now be able to put this behind her and move forward with her life.”

He added that Mahmood may have attacked other women and called on anyone with information to come forward.

“The case does date back to October 2009 and we are appealing to anyone who may feel they may have also been a victim of assault by this man. If you think you may have information, please get in touch by calling 0845 33 00 222. All calls will be treated with the strictest confidence.”

Stevenage Chief Inspector Richard Liversidge added: “This was clearly a very traumatic incident for the victim, particularly as the offence was committed by someone who was entrusted by the community. It must be remembered that these offences are not common in Stevenage, but I would always ask members of the public to report any concerns.”

Mahmood, who was at the time licensed by Stevenage Borough Council, had his licence revoked while awaiting trial.

He will be sentenced on April 1.

source: http://www.thecomet.net/news/

Robbers slash taxi driver’s throat and leave him lying in street

A TAXI driver who was held at knifepoint by robbers has spoken of his relief after late-night bin men came to his rescue.

Grandfather Thomas Newton’s throat was slashed and his head was cut during a scuffle with two men in his cab on Monday night.

Despite his injuries, the 66-year-old refused to hand over his takings and the thieves fled with his mobile phone.

Speaking exclusively to the Daily Echo, Mr Newton said: “There was no-one else about and if the dustcart hadn’t arrived I dread to think what could have happened. I may owe my life to the bin collectors who gave chase.”

The father-of-four’s terrifying ordeal began after he picked up two men at a taxi rank on Meyrick Road, Bournemouth.

The pair asked to be taken to Boscombe and when the cab pulled up in Adeline Road, one restrained Mr Newton, threatening him and demanding money.

He said: “The one sitting behind me put his arm around my throat. I tried to press my emergency button and phone for help but they were having none of it.

“They said: ‘We want all your money’ but I refused to hand it over, not realising that they had a knife. I managed to tumble out of the cab and was lying in the road when the men in the dustcart gave chase.

“One noticed that one of the robbers had a knife. I didn’t realised I’d been injured until I put my hand to my throat and it was covered in blood.”

Mr Newton, who lives in Bournemouth, needed hospital treatment, receiving three stitches to his neck wound.

He has not worked since but is planning to work a shift tonight. He said: “It’s made me nervous and I keep looking over my shoulder. When you work in the taxi trade you are always aware that this sort of thing can happen but when it happens to you it makes you a bit wary.

“I want these men caught and also want to make other taxi drivers aware of the very real dangers they face.”

Both robbers are white, in their late 20s or early 30s and were wearing brown puffa-style jackets with fluffy hoods.

DC Phillip Read from Bournemouth CID described the 9.18pm attack as “cowardly and shocking”, adding: “I am appealing for witnesses and anyone with any information about those responsible to contact me as soon as possible.

“It may be that someone saw these two men either getting into a taxi in the Lansdowne area or running away towards Grosvenor Road.”

• Detectives can be contacted on 01202 222222, quoting incident number 21:448

source:

http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/

Notice of Regional meeting regions 5 & 6 NTA (The North West inc Staffs)

All Regional Officers                                                                         

National Taxi Association                                                

22nd February 2011          

E-mail:   secretary@national-taxi-association.co.uk

Dear Sir/Madam

NOTICE OF REGIONAL MEETING

Arrangements have been made for a meeting of No’s 5 & 6 Region’s, and this will take place on Wednesday 2nd  March 2011. The venue for the meeting is;

CAB SOLUTIONS LTD, 27-29 MAINE ROAD M14 4FS MANCHESTER , LANCASHIRE

I’m sure you all have ‘google’ or ‘Sat Nav’s’ so I won’t trouble you with directions!

Parking is available at the premises.

Delegates are requested to assemble from 10.30 a.m. onwards, to enable the meeting to commence at 11.00 a.m. prompt. A buffet lunch has been organised by Cab Solutions and will be served at approximately 12.30 p.m.

Looking forward to a good attendance from your Association,

Yours sincerely,

Wayne Casey

NTA Administration Officer

NATIONAL TAXI ASSOCIATION

REGIONAL MEETING

NUMBER 5 & 6 REGION

(The North West)

 WEDNESDAY 2ND MARCH 2011

CAB SOLUTIONS LTD

27-29 MAINE ROAD

MANCHESTER  

M14 4FS

 

AGENDA 

  • Chairman’s Opening Remarks
  • Apologies for Absence
  • Minutes of the last Regional Meeting
  • Matters Arising from the Minutes
  • Regional Director’s Report
  • Local Licensing Issues
  • Transport Select Committee
  • NTA Conference
  • Correspondence
  • Financial Report
  • Special Items
  • Any Other Business
  • Date, Time & Venue of Next Meeting