Customers had made ‘catalogue’ of complaints to highland council
A Highland taxi driver had his operators licence suspended for three months yesterday after a “catalogue” of complaints from customers.
Four customers complained in just two months about Peter Worsfold, an Inverness taxi driver since 2007.
The Highland Licensing Committee was told that Paul Carpenter got into Mr Worsfold’s cab at about 1pm on August 10 last year and was told by Mr Worsfold that the short journey he requested and which would cost £3.90 was “a ridiculous fare”.
When asked if he wanted the fare, Mr Worsfold said “No, not really”.
Mr Carpenter got out and took another taxi instead and later complained to Highland Council’s trading standards unit.
Just weeks later on September 8, trading standards received a complaint from Hew Morrison who said he was ignored when he tried to engage in conversation with the taxi driver when he got into his cab at about 1.30am on September 5. He also claimed Mr Worsfold threw his change at him when he paid his fare, and nearly ran over his foot by driving off while he was getting out.
Mr Worsfold was interviewed by trading standards officers after both complaints and he was given “corrective advice” and told he would go before the licensing committee if there were any further complaints.
Mr Worsfold said he had no recollection of either incident.
The council received further complaints from Donna Dunbar and Marie Short, who got into Mr Worsfold’s taxi on October 4.
They were returning to Inverness from Glasgow by train and said Mr Worsfold threw their luggage into the boot of the car, possibly breaking a candle holder inside.
He then turned up the radio on their journey because he did not want to engage in conversation. They also complained that the back seat had a crumpled cover over it and that the car smelled “fusty”.
Vic Rawlins, chairman of Inverness Taxi Association, spoke on behalf of Mr Worsfold at the formal hearing yesterday.
He said: “It is not common to get a catalogue of complaints.
“Pete does not get out of his car and make conversation with a lot of the other drivers because of his hearing, probably because of his tinnitus – he just doesn’t hear.
“He does offer his sincere apologies if he was being unfair to them, but he can’t accept responsibility for the candle holder.”
Committee chairman and Inverness Central councillor Peter Corbett said: “I find it very sad to note three complaints in two months – some drivers don’t have complaints for years and years.
“This number of complaints is unusual.”
Culloden and Ardersier councillor Glynis Sinclair said: “Tourism is very important to this part of the world and I think it is a real shame if tourists are inflicted with this kind of bad manners.
“The very least we expect is good manners from the driver.”