A driver who drove his hackney carriage whilst he was suspended from driving taxis has been ordered to pay £265, following a successful prosecution by Rossendale Council.
Mahboob Hussain (30) of North Road, Rawtenstall was observed driving a taxi in the Staghills area of Rossendale in July 2010, despite having his license to drive a taxi suspended earlier that year.
Following a trial at Reedley Magistrates Court, on 1st February 2011, he was convicted of the offence of driving a licensed hackney carriage whilst suspended from driving.
Chair of Licensing at Rossendale Council, Councillor Jimmy Eaton said:
“Public safety is our number one priority. Mr Hussain continued to drive a taxi after we had suspended his license. The court has found him guilty and fined him. This is a positive outcome. Rossendale Council takes a very dim view on unlicensed taxi drivers as the safety of people using taxis is paramount.”
CABBIES in Liskeard say they are furious after the council banned them from using a space in one of their designated ranks.
Drivers believe the facility on The Parade was intended for use by three cars, but in order to get into the third space, vehicles have to mount the pavement.
Cornwall Council has now banned cabbies from driving on the curb, stating the rank was never meant for three vehicles.
The move leaves the taxi fleet of more than 30 vehicles with just four spaces in the town centre, on The Parade and Bay Tree Hill.
Leon Hughes, proprietor of Quick Kabs which has four taxis, said the town desperately needs more rank space.
He said: “Cornwall Council have now told us we cannot use the third space. It is causing animosity between firms and friction in the town. To add insult to injury Cornwall Council has landed us with a new charge of £200 per vehicle plate licence without notifying us. They are putting up licence fees and they’ve taken a rank space away from us, it is so frustrating.
“There must be more than 30 taxis operating in the town and we have four official taxi spaces.”
Taxi drivers in Saltash are also angered by the rate rise. Bill Cotton, who runs Cottons Taxi Service, said: “The council adjusted the fees in December when they usually do it April to April. The increase has been a significant amount of money for us as we have ten drivers and a handful of cars. It is frustrating as we usually have a consultation, but we didn’t have that this time.”
Despite Mr Hughes’ best efforts, he has been unable to locate any information detailing the specifications of the rank on The Parade.
The council had planned to plough £10,000 into extending the rank in 2009, but plans were put off.
The issue is one of many problems taxi drivers in Liskeard are facing. According to the operators, motorists are continuing to clog up their ranks, which cannot currently be enforced due to signage and incorrect lines.
A forum is now due to be set up with members of the taxi trade and licensing representatives to try and iron out issues.
A spokesperson from Cornwall Council said: “When the rank was designated, it was designated for two vehicles only. It has never been designated as a three-vehicle rank.
“To access what is being referred to as the ‘third space’ the taxi has to cross over a pavement, or wait partly on the pavement until one of the two designated spaces are available, which is why drivers are being advised that they cannot operate in this way. In relation to the fees and charges, a public notice was given for the recent increase in charges. There were no objections and as a result the new fees were implemented.”
Five private hire drivers could lose their licences after they were caught illegally plying for trade.
During a three hour operation conducted by police and Watford Borough Council, drivers picking up passengers without first booking them through their operator were pulled over.
They were then questioned by officers and council workers, who checked their vehicle documents such as road tax, insurance and MOT.
All five vehicles were then impounded as officers were not satisfied they were being driven in accordance with their insurance. Only hackney carriages licensed by Watford Borough Council can pick up passengers without pre-booking.
The drivers, who work for companies in London, Hertsmere and Three Rivers, will now be considered for prosecution by the council. Seven other drivers are also currently being considered for legal action.
Councillor Jan Brown, chairman of the council’s licensing committee, said: “This is the latest in a series of operations under the banner of ‘Altogether..a good night out in Watford’.
“People going out at night should make sure they only use licensed taxis, or genuinely pre-booked private hire vehicles. Passengers who might have used any of the vehicles caught in last week’s operation might not have been insured in the event of an accident, and – particularly in the case of the driver from London – ripped off by drivers who in all likelihood do not know the local area as well as Watford drivers.”
For more information telephone Jeffrey Leib, Watford Borough Council Licensing Manager, on 01923 278503 or email
CARLISLE’S oldest taxi is still carrying passengers, despite an attempt by city council officers to take it off the road.
Self-employed driver David Carlile’s 1991 Metrocab will be 20 years old in June, making it five years older than the next-oldest taxi plying for trade in the city.
All taxis over 10 years of age have to undergo six-monthly inspections.
The black Metrocab failed an inspection last September. Checks found no mechanical problems but there were paint and bodywork defects, a corroded rear bumper, a torn rear seat and gaps where the doors closed.
Licensing officers decided it could never be brought up to standard but Mr Carlile, an engineer, disagreed. He spent hours on the bodywork, working in freezing temperatures at his home at Hopesyke, Longtown.
And the council’s regulatory panel upheld his appeal last week after councillors inspected the renovated vehicle, which was parked outside the Civic Centre in Rickergate.
Brian McCullough, secretary of Carlisle Taxi Association, represented Mr Carlile at the hearing on Wednesday.
He told councillors: “This is not a safety issue. It’s a cosmetic issue.
“We admit that the vehicle is 20 years old but most of you have looked at the car today and have seen it is in really good condition. A lot of work has gone into it.”
Mr Carlile still has to replace the rear seat and roof lining, then present the car for re-inspection next month.
David Morton, who chairs the panel, said: “This is the first time we’ve had a matter of this nature before us.
“The public are entitled to travel in vehicles to a tip-top standard.
“We are going to allow you a further month to get the vehicle into tip-top condition. If there’s a further breach officers have delegated powers to revoke the licence.”
TAXI DRIVERS today blockaded council offices in a Shropshire town in protest at a shake-up of licensing laws in the county.
Members of Bridgnorth Drivers’ Action Group blocked the entrance and exit to the car park at Shropshire Council’s Westgate offices in Bridgnorth as part of the battle against controversial plans to remove licensing zones in the county.
Six drivers and two customers on horseback took part in the protest which started at 12.30pm and lasted about an hour. Drivers claim the move to remove the zones would destroy livelihoods and put people at risk.
Duncan Gordon-Wells, action group chairman, said: “We are opposed to what Shropshire Council is trying to bring in. We have support from drivers in Shrewsbury.
“We are looking at possible further action. We just want Shropshire Council to wake up to what’s going on.
“It is okay making big decisions in Shrewsbury but they’re not relevant to the rest of the county. Towns have got different characteristics and this should be recognised by the council.”
Mr Gordon-Wells said the planned changes could affect trade, with potential rises in fares putting people off using taxis.
Sheena Parry, a licensing consultant for the taxi drivers, supporting today’s protest, said there was a safety issue, as teenagers wanting to get to reach rural areas could find themselves being taken by drivers who did not know the area.
Currently the county is zoned into five areas — Bridgnorth, North Shropshire, Oswestry, Shrewsbury and Atcham and South Shropshire. Council bosses want to create one zone and set a single rate card.
Drivers claim fares in some areas could rocket by 300 per cent and some streets would be overrun by hundreds of taxis.
The council has previously said that there were “significantly inconsistent” approaches to taxi licensing which needed to be regulated.
Passengers doing ‘runners’ after taking a taxi ride have fuelled a fightback by Cambridge’s licensed drivers.
Hundreds of people have hired a taxi and then made off without paying after being driven to their destination, say taxi union leaders.
They are calling for a police crackdown on the problem after a News investigation uncovered a general increase in such offences.
In 2008, 41 ‘ride and run’ incidents were recorded by Cambridgeshire police, rising to 70 the following year and 60 last year, a Freedom of Information request by the News has revealed.
But taxi drivers say the true figure will be much higher, as many incidents are not reported.
Glenn Hall, chairman of Cambridge City Licensed Taxis, said: “We’ve always reckoned that about 40 per cent of these incidents are not reported to the police but they can make a big dent in our livelihoods.
“Until recently the police were saying it was a civil matter but it is in fact theft. It would be the same if you had a meal at a restaurant and didn’t have the means to pay. We would like the police to take this theft issue more seriously.”
He added: “It was this that stopped me from doing nights. I got tired of losing money from runners, as we call them in the trade. Often these things can lead to a driver being attacked.”
A police spokeswoman said: “We take all reports of ride-and-run seriously and will always attend incidents.
“Last month two people were charged in connection with ride-and-run incidents in the city and officers attended another incident where two women were made to pay for their fare after hiding from their driver.
“We actively encourage drivers to report these incidents and ensure they get as much information as possible from the customers to ensure we can trace suspects.”
She added: “To reduce the risk of such incidents we would advise taxi drivers to ensure the address they are being asked to drive to is genuine, ask to see money up front and get a phone number from the person using the taxi.”
Taxi drivers in Shropshire today revealed plans to surround a council building in the latest protest at a shake up of licensing laws in the county.
Members of the Bridgnorth Drivers Action Group say they will stage the action outside Westgate Council Offices in Bridgnorth on Monday, which will see cars and tractors surrounding the building in protest at controversial plans to remove licensing zones throughout the county.
They today claimed the move to remove the zones would destroy livelihoods and put people at risk.
Action group bosses say dozens of vehicles will descend on the Shropshire Council building at 12.30pm and stay until mid-afternoon.
The Valentine’s Day blockade in Bridgnorth follows recent protests in Shrewsbury which saw about 100 angry drivers carry out a double loop of the town centre before honking horns outside the Shirehall.
TAXI drivers have called for urgent talks with council bosses after voicing fears their livelihoods are being threatened by overzealous parking wardens.
Since enforcement of parking rules were handed over to Redditch Borough Council from the police in 2009 taxi drivers say they have been unfairly targeted with tickets being issued for leaving their cab on the rank while going to the toilet, while helping elderly passengers in and out of their cars and in one case for parking on double yellow lines, even though they were clearly parked within the taxi rank.
The situation came to a head about 9.30pm last Friday (February 4) when Basharat Hussain was issued a ticket for parking on double yellow lines outside Steps Bar and Bistro on Evesham Road in Headless Cross. Although there is a taxi rank nearby it only holds space for three cars but drivers say in the past officials have always allowed taxis to park elsewhere to avoid large numbers of people hanging around late at night.
Mr Hussain told the Standard if the situation continued it would force drivers out of business.
“I have been parking there for the last 10 or 11 years and have had no problems. There were two or three other cars parked up there, that weren’t taxis, but he only issued me with a ticket.”
In response drivers decided to leave the area and stop working for the evening for fear of being penalised further. When news spread enforcement was taking place drivers in the town centre, who are forced to park outside the Unicorn Hill taxi rank at busy times due to a lack of space, followed suit.
It left hundreds of late night revellers stranded on one of the busiest nights of the week.
Safder Hussain, chairman of Redditch Taxi Association, apologised to the public for getting caught up in the dispute and said they wanted to meet with the council to find a solution.
“Some tickets are overturned, but it takes months and is a lot of hassle and running around,” he said.
“We’re not asking for preferential treatment. But if the signs are clearly visible and drivers are working offering a valuable service to the residents of Redditch, at least be sensible about it.
“The council have acknowledged there is a problem in Headless Cross, which is why they have agreed to extend the rank, so why take this action?”
A spokeswoman for the council said they had organised a late night patrol involving parking officers and a police officer in response to concerns from residents about drivers parking in front of crossings and causing an obstruction.
“Any driver who contravenes Traffic Regulation Orders will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice. Taxi Drivers are treated exactly the same as any other motorist, and of course are not targeted,” she said.
“It would be totally unacceptable for the council to ignore such matters.”