Brighton Station taxi rank to close for three months

Taxi drivers are predicting a “spring time of chaos” after being told the rank at Brighton Station will be closed for up to three months.

Cabbies, who pay £410 a year to use the rank, said they were only given a week’s warning that it will close during improvement works.

Southern Rail, which manages the station, is repainting the canopy as part of a £140,000 programme.

However taxi drivers are furious only eight spaces will be provided for them at the back of the station and say the work will leave them out of pocket.

A Southern spokesman said: “We apologise for any inconvenience caused to passengers while the work takes place but we are sure that the end result will be well worth any inconvenience caused.

“The canopy stretches across the entire face of the station and covers the taxi rank.

“To ensure the safety of passengers, taxi drivers and workmen, the taxi drivers are required to vacate the rank from next Monday for the duration of the job. They have been offered an alternative site at the rear of the station where a number of parking bays have been allocated exclusively for their use.”


Montreal cabbie fined for decorating taxi with personal, religious items

Arieh Perecowicz

A Montreal cabbie learned on Thursday that his taxi isn’t a vehicle for freedom of expression and religion.

Arieh Perecowicz lost his court challenge against Montreal taxi authorities who fined him for filling his cab with an assortment of personal and religious objects.

Mr. Perecowicz, who’s driven a cab for over four decades, had decorated his dashboard and other parts of his taxi with family photos, a Canadian flag, and articles of his Jewish faith.

But a municipal court judge ruled that Mr. Perecowicz was guilty of violating city bylaws and fined him a total of about $1,000.

Mr. Perecowicz said he will appeal and is ready to take the case as far as the Supreme Court. He says it’s unfair that he cannot display his Jewish prayer scroll in his cab, while a crucifix hangs over the speaker’s chair in Quebec’s National Assembly.

The case is the latest flare-up in Quebec in the debate over the display of religion in public spaces.

Mr. Perecowicz decided to take on the Montreal taxi bureau on the basis of his charter rights. He received a series of tickets for a total of $1,400 from the Bureau du taxi.

The taxi agency countered that inspectors were merely applying municipal regulations, which stipulate that cabs in Montreal should carry no items unrelated to the operation of the taxis.

Mr. Perecowicz said Thursday he was disappointed with the ruling, and that in some 45 years driving the streets of Montreal, he never received any complaints from customers about his taxi’s interior décor.

Shropshire taxi drivers’ anger over blanket fares

Taxi drivers across Shropshire have reacted angrily to new blanket fares which have been welcomed by councillors – in a development billed as the first battle of a long war.

Moves to bring in a unified fare structure and overhaul licenses of all Hackney carriages in Shropshire were backed by the council’s strategic licensing committee yesterday and will come into force if backed by Shropshire council’s cabinet next month.

But the steps to bring about a “common set of conditions” have been met with fierce opposition from cab drivers who claim the zones need to remain to protect the unique conditions of each area.

Under the proposals, five operating areas based on the former borough and district councils would be abolished in favour of one zone.

The new fee card will be introduced on March 5 – providing no representations are made to the committee in the next 14 days.


(Illegal) Taxi driver slammed by judge

Found guilty: Bangladeshi-born Zamal Uddin, who required an interpreter in court, grabbed a passenger's breasts

An unlicensed taxi driver who had not learned English despite living in Britain for 20 years has been criticised by a judge for failing to ‘integrate’.

Bangladeshi-born Zamal Uddin, 44, now faces a jail sentence and deportation for grabbing a passenger’s breasts after she got into his cab in Hoxton, east London.

The 44-year-old, who lives among one of Britain’s biggest Bangladeshi communities in nearby Bethnal Green, was yesterday found guilty of twice sexually assaulting the 26-year-old woman.

Uddin, who required a taxpayer-funded interpreter during the hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court, was told he would be liable for deportation after he finishes his sentence.

‘The authorities may consider your continued presence here undesirable,’ Judge Timothy King told him.

‘These are serious matters and custody appears to be appropriate in this case,’ said the judge.

‘Also what troubles me, although it’s not something that bears on sentence, [is that] he has been her for nigh on 20 years and he requires an interpreter.

‘I suspect he lives within his own community and has never bothered to learn English.

‘It is highly desirable that those who come to this country from abroad integrate, rather than live isolated within their own community.’

Prosecutor Helen Owen had told the court: ‘The taxi driver picked up a female who was intoxicated and then touched her breasts while she was in the cab.

‘She got out of the cab and he followed her before pushing her against the wall and grabbing her under her clothes.

‘She then screamed and he ran off.’

A day after the attack on October 23 last year, brazen Uddin was caught illegally touting for fares in nearby Dalston.

Uddin, who lived in a council flat after moving to the UK in 1992, admitted two charges of sexual assault and driving while disqualified.
He was remanded in custody pending sentence on February 23.

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Dumfries taxi driver left body in road

The court was told Brown drove off after hitting the man who had been lying in the roadway

A Dumfries taxi driver ran a man over and left his body lying in the street while he went to pick up a fare, a court has heard.

Andrew Brown, 47, admitted leaving the man lying injured in the town’s Newall Terrace to the danger of his life.

He thought he had hit a bag of rubbish but drove off even after finding out it had been a man lying in the road.

He was told to pay £5,000 compensation, given 10 points on his licence and also 300 hours community service.

Dumfries Sheriff Court heard how Brown pulled to a halt last August after striking something in road.

He checked to see what it was but when he found it was a body he drove off to pick up a passenger 10 miles away.

Depute fiscal Pamela Rhodes said it was only on his return from that journey that he went to the police station to report the incident.

Meanwhile, an off-duty policeman had come across David Woodward lying with critical injuries.

An anonymous caller had also phoned emergency services.

Mr Woodward, who had been heading home after being out for a drink, spent several weeks in hospital with multiple fractures and a tear to his spleen.

Brown, of West Riverside Drive, Dumfries, a taxi driver for 30 years with a clean licence, admitted culpably and recklessly leaving the injured man lying on the roadway.

He also admitted failing to report the accident as soon as reasonably practicable afterwards.

The depute fiscal stressed that there was no suggestion that Brown’s driving was at fault.

Crash investigators came to the conclusion that the victim had been lying on the roadway when he was hit.

Suspension completed

Solicitor Gavin Orr also pointed out that there was nothing to suggest that Brown’s driving in this incident was blameworthy in any way.

He said: “The driver had simply panicked after seeing the injured man.

“There were doors opening and people coming out and he believed the victim would be seen right away.

“There was just no rationality about his thoughts as he panicked although blameless.”

He appealed to the sheriff to deal with the case in a way in which his client would not lose his licence having already completed a four-month suspension imposed by the local authority.

Sheriff Kenneth Ross said he took all the factors into account but there was still a “callous disregard” in the way he had driven off.

However, in the circumstances he said he could step back from a custodial sentence.

source: … d-12486062

Driver at city centre taxi rank was three times drink-drive limit

Balwinder Singh

A taxi driver on duty and first in line to pick up passengers at a Wolverhampton city centre rank was three times the drink-drive limit when police spoke to him about ramshackle repairs holding together his cab, a court heard.

Police officers approached Balwinder Singh’s Mercedes Vito while he waited at the front of the rank in Market Street due to concerns over the safety of a sliding door on his cab — being held shut with computer cable. They immediately realised the father-of-two had been drinking.

A breathalyser test found he was almost three times the legal alcohol limit, Mr Roger Bleazard, prosecuting, told Wolverhampton Magistrates Court.

Singh, of Broadstone Close, Goldthorn Park, later refused to supply a second sample and when asked if there was any medical reason he did not wish to provide one he replied: “Only my liver”, the court was told.

Bench chairman Mrs Anne Morgan told 41-year-old Singh adjourned the case so the probation service can prepare a report, but warned him he faces jail. He pleaded guilty to failing to provide a specimen and using a motor vehicle in a condition likely to cause danger yesterday.

Mr Kevin Good, for Singh, said his client was the “major breadwinner” for his family. His wife worked part-time to help support their children, aged five and 15, but the family’s financial circumstances would be “drastically affected” by his disqualification from driving, Mr Good told the court.

The court heard Singh had been parked at the front of a rank in Market Street when police noticed damage to the door of his cab at around 1.10am on February 5.

Mrs Morgan told Singh, who was convicted of drink driving in 2003 and speeding in February 2008 there were many “aggravating features” including his previous convictions.

Singh was granted unconditional bail to appear for sentence on March 10.


Unlicensed Rawtenstall Taxi Driver Fined

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.”


Frustrations mount for Liskeard cabbies banned from using rank space

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.

Liskeard taxi drivers Brian Stoddon, Grayson Mitchell and Leon Hughes show there is room for three cars in the taxi rank on The Parade.

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.”


Private Hire Cars in Watford impounded after council and police operation

Five private hire drivers could lose their licences after they were caught illegally plying for trade in Watford.

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


Inspectors find problems with 33 Blackburn taxis

A CRACKDOWN on taxis found that the majority had faults and would not pass an MOT.

The investigation from Blackburn with Darwen Council also found that many of the 41 vehicles pulled over for spot checks had serious safety faults.

Problems included dangerous tyres and broken springs.

There were also issues with vehicles needing work to rectify inoperative lights, no water in screen washers, signage and valeting.

Only eight of the private hire and hackney carriage vehicles stopped passed the inspections with no faults.

Coun Dave Harling said: “The results show that there is a need to carry on with the spot checks. The majority of the taxis had faults of one kind or another.

“Safety is paramount and it is crucial that taxi drivers ensure that their vehicles are kept in correct working order. Eight of the taxis passed the safety checks but so should all of them.”

The safety operation took place on Friday night. The council said 12 of the cars were immediatley taken off the roads for serious faults which affected public safety.

An additional 21 taxis were given seven day notices for faults and breaches that needed rectifying.

The council, police and an officer from Department of Work and Pensions were involved in the operation which ran from 9pm until 2.30am.

Taxis were stopped and checked by a MOT inspector from the council’s transport services division.