Uber’s York licence to be reviewed, as complaints log is revealed

UBER drivers are coming from Leeds, Bradford and London to work in York, according to a council report.

City of York Council has received 72 complaints about Uber’s vehicles and drivers since the app-based service was allowed to operate in the city four months ago.

A union representing local drivers has now urged city leaders to rescind Uber’s licence, when it comes up for renewal later this month.

The company operates in 536 countries and works by customers ordering a taxi to their location on their smartphone.

It has proved controversial in other UK cities and York is no exception.

Thirty one complaints have been made about vehicles coming into the city from elsewhere, however investigations found 24 of the complaints were unfounded or could not be fully investigated due to insufficient evidence.

A council report said drivers of vehicles licensed by authorities in Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees and London appeared to have chosen to work in York.

Uber was reported 23 times for plying for hire – the process of a private hire car picking up passengers who flag them down instead of booking them – but 22 cases were deemed unfounded or could not be pursued.

Picking up people illegally means passengers would not be insured if the driver was involved in a crash.

Other complaints range from Uber cars not having the correct door signs and licence plates to no insurance and smoking in the cab.

Councillors will meet next week to discuss renewing the firm’s licence, which expires on Christmas Eve, but is facing strong calls from the GMB union to rescind it.

GMB, the trade union for Hackney and Private Hire drivers, met with Rachael Maskell MP, for York Central, on Friday.

Bill Chard, speaking on behalf of the GMB’s Professional Drivers’ Section, said: “These drivers have no connection with, and are not controlled or managed by City of York Council.

“GMB calls upon the council to withdraw Uber’s licence as they have proved that they are neither fit nor capable of operating safely in the city.

“GMB would like the council to confirm whether Uber’s operating licence was given on the basis of six licensed vehicles.”

A spokesman for Uber said: “Uber is fully licensed in York and abides by the same rules and regulations as other operators in the City.

“Uber is also licensed in surrounding areas and licensed private-hire drivers are not restricted from carrying out bookings in other areas provided the operator, driver and vehicle are properly licensed. Uber only uses licensed drivers and vehicles under its operating licences, and therefore such bookings are not illegal.

“York licensed drivers booked by other York private hire operators are also able to carry out booking in other areas, for instance picking up bookings from Selby.”

source: http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/

Minibus taxi safeguarding loophole must be fixed, councils urge

A “worrying” loophole that allows people to drive members of the public in minibuses without having a criminal record check must be solved by urgently updating taxi licensing laws, councils warned today.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils, says the safeguarding flaw is a huge loophole which is putting the public at an increased risk of harm, including those who may be more vulnerable after a night out.

Under current laws, drivers of Public Carriage Vehicles (PCVs) – those seating between nine and sixteen passengers – are licensed by the DVLA but are not subject to a criminal record check.

This contrasts with councils whose licensing of taxis – both hackney carriages and private hire vehicles (minicab) – requires drivers to produce an up-to-date enhanced criminal record check. Councils have the power to refuse or revoke a licence if a driver has convictions or cautions, or has behaved in a way that they believe renders the driver a risk to the public.

The loophole means that drivers refused a taxi or minicab licence, or whose licence has been revoked by councils, are obtaining a PCV licence and then continuing to operate in the same area – sometimes working for the same company. The drivers are effectively operating as licensed drivers by transporting members of the public around in larger vehicles, despite not having had the same checks or being deemed not ‘fit and proper’ to do so by the council.

The LGA says the loophole is undermining work to safeguard taxi passengers and is urging the Government to amend the law to ensure that 9-16 seater vehicles are licensed by councils in line with the requirements for taxis and minicabs. The Law Commission made recommendations on this in its 2014 report into taxi licensing, but the Government has yet to respond to the report or introduce a taxi reform Bill.

Examples of drivers who continue to drive members of the public despite councils determining that they pose a risk to passengers include:

A taxi driver whose licence was revoked following a conviction for harassment and further allegations of harassment and inappropriate conduct with a child was granted a PCV licence.

A taxi driver whose licence was refused for issues relating to misconduct – mainly with young female and vulnerable passengers – was granted a PCV licence within six months, working for the same company.

A taxi driver whose licence was revoked for inappropriate conduct with two young female passengers – specifically using data from booking and dispatch records to call and text them from his mobile phone – is working for the same taxi company as a PCV driver.

A man who, after being refused a taxi licence twice, drove his car through the barrier of the site where the councils’ officers were based in order to confront them, is now driving a 16-seat minibus taxi.

As larger minibus taxis become more commonplace, the LGA says that it is vital that the public receives the same level of protection regardless of whether they are using a standard sized taxi, minicab or minibus.

Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:

“The majority of PCV drivers will be people who the public can trust, but this loophole provides an opportunity for unscrupulous drivers to continue to work in close proximity to passengers, even when a council has determined that they are not safe to do so.

“Anyone who books or flags down a standard taxi has the reassurance that all drivers are vetted and licensed by councils. The same safeguarding checks should apply to anyone driving a nine to 16-seat minibus

“Larger minibuses are often sent in place of a regular taxi to pick up individuals or small parties, purely because they are nearest to the pick-up point rather than because there is a requirement for such a large vehicle. They are used to take groups of children to school, or to drive groups home after nights out.

“It is therefore extremely worrying that councils’ proactive work to protect taxi passengers from harm – and particularly those who may be most vulnerable – is being undermined by this loophole.

“We are urging the Government to act quickly to address this and bring PCVs into line with other local taxi licensing requirements.

“Two-and-a-half years after the Law Commission’s report into taxi licensing, this issue shows why it is vital that the Government introduces a Taxi Reform Bill to address this and the many other anomalies hindering our taxi licensing system.”

source: http://www.local.gov.uk/

Commons Questions: Tourism Action Plan

Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, in reference to page 11 of the Tourism Action Plan, published in August 2016, whether deregulating an element of private hire vehicle licences will be carried out through primary legislation.

Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The deregulation of private hire vehicles licensing where transportation is an ancillary element of the service provided will require primary legislation.

Daniel Zeichner Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, in reference to page 11 of the Tourism Action Plan, published in August 2016, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on consumer safety of deregulating an element of private hire vehicle licences for owners of hotels to collect visitors from ports of entry.

Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Department for Transport is working with other departments including the Home Office and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to consider how common sense regulation can be introduce where transport is an ancillary element of the service provided. Consumer safety remains the primary concern.

Uber driver murdered wife

Jose Leonardo was found guilty of murder
Jose Leonardo was found guilty of murder

Jose Leonardo, 56, knifed mum-of-three Maria Mbombo, 52, multiple times then left her to die at their home

An Uber driver who knifed his wife to death after googling “the most painful place to stab someone” has been convicted of her murder .

Jose Leonardo, 56, stabbed Maria Mbombo, 52, multiple times at their home in Belsize Park, west London, in May.

The mum-of-three died at the scene, a trial at the Old Bailey heard.

Prosecutor John Price QC said there was no dispute that Leonardo killed her , but he has claimed it was manslaughter by “loss of control”.

The taxi driver was found guilty of one count of murder, but cleared of one charge of perverting the course of justice.

The couple met in Holland in 1988 and moved to north-west London in 1993.

At the time of her death, Ms Mbombo was working as a cleaner while the defendant was a driver for the internet-based company Uber.

Shortly before midnight on May 18, the couple’s 23-year-old son Carl dialled 999 in tears.

Paramedics arrived to find him trying to resuscitate his mother on the floor of a bedroom.

The victim, who was wearing a white top and black knickers, was covered in blood and had been dead for “some while”, Mr Price said.

She had been alone with the defendant until her children returned home shortly before the 999 call, the court heard.

Maria Mbombo was knifed to death

Earlier that afternoon, the defendant’s mobile phone was used to search Google for “can I survive stab in the eye” and “most painful place to stab someone”.

The defendant was in his flat with his dead or dying wife for an hour or so as his other son Jacques, 27, banged on the door and screamed to get in.

After slipping out, Leonardo tried to buy a bottle of beer in a nearby convenience store but was refused.

The shopkeeper noticed blood on his jacket and asked “what’s that?” and Leonardo allegedly replied: “Just call the police.”

Officers arrived to find Leonardo wearing a white vest drenched in blood and murmuring “my wife is dead”.

Mr Price told jurors: “For all his statements of grief to the police officers at the hospital, the defendant, who will have been with her in their home whilst she slowly died, did nothing to summon help.”

Leonardo will be sentenced to life imprisonment at the Old Bailey at 10am on Tuesday, with his minimum term to be determined.

source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/

Commons Questions

Taxis: Licensing

Department for Transport written question – answered on 7th November 2016.

Royston Smith Conservative, Southampton, Itchen

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what powers local authorities possess to effectively regulate private hire vehicles that operate outside of their primary licensing area.

Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

Local licensing authorities in England and Wales have a duty to ensure that any person or organisation to whom they grant a PHV operator’s licence is ‘fit and proper’ to hold such a licence. The same duty is required when granting a PHV driver licence. Furthermore, once a licence has been issued, licensing authorities should have systems in place, including links with the police and other licensing authorities, to ensure that drivers and operators continue to be ‘fit and proper’.

All PHV bookings, including those received by a sub-contracting arrangement, must be fulfilled by licensed PHV operators using licensed drivers and vehicles, all of whom have met their local licensing standards. The original operator who takes the booking will retain responsibility for the journey, and both the original operator and the operator who fulfils the booking will be under a duty to keep records of the booking and the relevant enforcement authorities will be able to check those records.

The sharing of information between licensing authorities is encouraged and the licence issuing authority can investigate complaints against a driver regardless of where the driver was working at the time. Local licensing authorities are also able to delegate powers to each other to help deal with issues such as taxis operating as private hire vehicles outside their licence area. For example, in Merseyside five licensing authorities have agreed a concordat allowing each other to enforce against all the vehicles and drivers licensed by the five areas.


Uber driver ‘murdered his wife after Googling “what is the most painful place to stab someone”‘

Jose Leonardo repeatedly knifed 52 year-old Maria Mbombo in the body and arms, jurors heard

AN UBER driver murdered his wife after searching on Google for ‘the most painful place to stab someone’, a court heard today.

Jose Leonardo repeatedly knifed 52 year-old Maria Mbombo in the body and arms and left her to bleed to death at their family home in north London, jurors heard.

Leonardo admits killing his wife Maria Mbombo claiming he lost ‘control’

He then went to buy beer from a local shop while his two sons discovered their mother lying lifeless on the floor of the bedroom, it is claimed.

Leonardo, 56, admits killing his wife but claims he should be cleared of murder because he suffered from a ‘loss of control’, jurors were told.

But prosecutor John Price QC revealed Leonardo’s phone had been used to search Google a few hours before the murder.

One read ‘can I survive stab in the eye’ and the other was ‘most painful place to stab someone’, the Old Bailey heard.

Websites related to these search terms were accessed between 2.41pm and 2.46pm.

Half an hour later Leonardo accessed a Camden Council parking permit website.

Mrs Mbombo, who worked as a cleaner, is last known to have used her phone to speak to a friend at 3.52pm.

Both her and Leonardo’s phones stopped being active from around 5pm.

Mr Price said: “Maria Mbombo died in her home at her husband’s hand.

“He attacked her and stabbed her many times with a knife.

“Because of the wounds he inflicted upon her, she bled to death. He was alone with her in their home while that happened.

“The prosecution allege that this is a clear case of murder.”

The couple met in 1988 and move to the UK from the Netherlands in 1990 with their two sons Carl, now 23, and Jacque, 27.

On 18 May this year Jacque returned to the family flat at Chestnut House, Maitland Park Villas, Belsize Park, to find the lights out and the door locked from the inside.

He got no answer despite buzzing and kicking the door and shouting ‘Open the Door’.

Mr Price said Leonardo must have been inside with his dead or dying wife at the time.

Leonardo left the flat an hour later without speaking to his sons and both Jacque and Carl ran inside to find their mother lying on her back on the bedroom floor.

She was wearing a white top and black knickers, her face was purple and she was not breathing.

Paramedics were called at 11.55pm and arrived to find her cold to the touch with rigor mortis in the jaw.

“It was confirmed she was dead and indeed must have been dead for some time,” said Mr Price.

Leonardo, who had cuts to his wrist, was arrested near the Super Choice Convenience Store in Queens Crescent after midnight.

He told officers: “My wife is killed.”

Leonardo, of Maitland Park Villas, Belsize Park, denies murder and perverting the course of justice.

The trial continues.

source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/

Uber loses right to classify UK drivers as self-employed

Landmark employment tribunal ruling states firm must also pay drivers national living wage and holiday pay with huge implications for gig economy

Uber drivers are not self-employed and should be paid the “national living wage”, a UK employment court has ruled in a landmark case which could affect tens of thousands of workers in the gig economy.

The ride-hailing app could now be open to claims from all of its 40,000 drivers in the UK, who are currently not entitled to holiday pay, pensions or other workers’ rights. Uber immediately said it would appeal against the ruling.

Employment experts said other firms with large self-employed workforces could now face scrutiny of their working practices and the UK’s biggest union, Unite, announced it was setting up a new unit to pursue cases of bogus self-employment.

Research by Citizens Advice has suggested that as many as 460,000 people could be falsely classified as self-employed, costing up to £314m a year in lost tax and employer national insurance contributions. Four courier firms are already facing legal action from cyclists who want similar recognition as staff employees and the rights that go with that status, while delivery firm Hermes is under investigation by HM Revenue & Customs.

The Uber ruling could force a rethink of the gig economy business model, where companies use apps and the internet to match customers with workers. The firms do not employ the workers, but take commission from their earnings, and many have become huge global enterprises. Uber now operates around the world, with the company valued at more than £50bn.

The decision of the employment tribunal comes amid mounting concern within government about the growing trend towards self-employed workforces. The government has recently announced a six-month review of modern working practices and HMRC is setting up a new unit, the employment status and intermediaries team, to investigate firms.

MPs launched an inquiry last week into pay and working conditions in the UK which will look at the status and rights of agency and casual workers and the self-employed for the purposes of tax, benefits and employment law, and how to protect them.

Friday’s ruling by a London employment tribunal involves a case taken by two drivers, James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam, on behalf of a group 19 Uber workers who argued that they were employed by the San Francisco-based firm, rather than working for themselves.

At a hearing in July, Farrar told how he was put under “tremendous pressure” to work long hours and accept jobs and said that there were “repercussions” from the company if he cancelled a pickup. He said some months he earned as little as £5 an hour – far below the £7.20 that employers are obliged to pay workers aged over 25.

Uber argued that it was a technology firm not a transport business and that its drivers were independent self-employed contractors who could choose where and when they worked.

The judges were scathing about Uber’s arguments, however, accusing the firm of “resorting in its documentation to fictions, twisted language and even brand new terminology” and even quoting Hamlet to suggest that the group’s UK boss was protesting too much about its position.

“The notion that Uber in London is a mosaic of 30,000 small businesses linked by a common ‘platform’ is to our minds faintly ridiculous,” the judges said. “Drivers do not and cannot negotiate with passengers … They are offered and accept trips strictly on Uber’s terms.”

Nigel Mackay from the employment team at law firm Leigh Day, which represented the drivers, said: “We are pleased that the employment tribunal has agreed with our arguments that drivers are entitled to the most basic workers’ rights, including to be paid the [national living wage] and to receive paid holiday, which were previously denied to them.

“This is a ground-breaking decision. It will impact not just on the thousands of Uber drivers working in this country, but on all workers in the so-called gig economy whose employers wrongly classify them as self-employed and deny them the rights to which they are entitled.”

The GMB union, which took up the case for the drivers, said that it was a “monumental victory” which would have an impact on thousands of workers in other industries “where bogus self-employment is rife”.

Maria Ludkin, GMB’s legal director, said: “Uber drivers and thousands of others caught in the bogus self-employment trap will now enjoy the same rights as employees. This outcome will be good for passengers, too. Properly rewarded drivers are the same side of the coin as drivers who are properly licensed and driving well-maintained and insured vehicles.”

Farrar said he was thrilled with the “emphatic” ruling. He said his industry had seen the deterioration in workers’ rights since Uber entered the market. “We’ve brought that to a halt,” he said.

Employment experts said that other firms with large self-employed workforces could now face similar action. “This judgment is likely to have massive implications, as we see an increasing number of start-up businesses effectively adopting Uber’s model,” said Tim Goodwin of law firm Winckworth Sherwood. “The effect of this judgment is that those kinds of business may owe a lot more to their workers, such as paid holiday and minimum wage, than they had bargained for.”
The ruling should be regarded as “ a salutary lesson by businesses who try to arbitrarily ‘classify’ workers as contractors to avoid affording them their full rights as workers,” Goodwin said.

The GMB’s Ludkin said employers should be “on notice” that it was reviewing similar contracts. “This is old-fashioned exploitation under new-fangled jargon, but the law will force you to pay GMB members what they are rightfully due,” she said.

There were calls for more clarity over employment status, with Citizens Advice pointing out that many people were locked out of employment tribunals by fees of up to £1,200.

“The fact it takes an employment tribunal to decide whether these drivers are self-employed shows that proving employment status is an extremely complicated and costly process,” said its chief executive, Gillian Guy. “For many people struggling at the sharp end of insecure work, such as in false self-employment, taking such a case is simply not an option.”

The ruling is not the end of the process for Uber. The firm will take the case to the employment appeal tribunal, and following its decision there could be further hearings in the court of appeal and then the supreme court. Any payments due to drivers will not be calculated until that process is over.

Other drivers with the firm will not automatically receive payouts but, if the firm accepts the ruling, it will have to change its contracts to avoid more cases being taken by drivers. Lawyers say that its terms and conditions are similar for all of its UK employees.

Jo Bertram, the regional general manager of Uber in the UK, said many of the firm’s drivers did not want to be classified as workers: “Tens of thousands of people in London drive with Uber precisely because they want to be self-employed and their own boss.

“The overwhelming majority of drivers who use the Uber app want to keep the freedom and flexibility of being able to drive when and where they want.”

Uber in numbers

40,000 The number of Uber drivers in the UK

£5 The hourly wage received in some months by one of the drivers who took the case.

$62.5bn Uber’s valuation based on its last round of funding.

Seven The years that Uber has been in operation.

460,000 The number of people who could be falsely classified as self-employed in the UK

£314m The yearly estimated cost in lost tax and employer national insurance contributions from falsely classified employees, according to Citizens Advice

source: https://www.theguardian.com/

Landmark ruling looms on basic workers’ rights for Uber drivers

A tribunal is going to decide whether Uber drivers are entitled to receive the minimum wage as well as sickness and holiday pay.

An employment tribunal in London will today make a landmark ruling that could set a precedent for the UK’s so-called gig economy.

Two Uber drivers have brought a case against the car hire service which strikes at the heart of the business model that helped the company grow to be worth billions of pounds worldwide in less than a decade.

The drivers claim that Uber is acting unlawfully by denying them basic workers’ rights such as the minimum wage along with sick and holiday pay.
Uber insists its 40,000 drivers are “partners” and self-employed, meaning they are not entitled to these benefits.

Sky News spoke to Henry, who has been working exclusively as an Uber driver for two years. He says he works 14-hour days in order to earn a weekly salary of about £300.

He explained: “Uber is a very big company and they are recruiting every single day so you can’t argue with them. That is what is worrying, you could lose your job at any time.”

Jason Moyer-Lee is the leader of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, and is calling for a change to employment law to ensure workers in the sector are treated fairly.

He said: “The so-called gig economy is a euphemism for exploitation.

“It’s basically a model that big profit-making companies have developed where they have realised, for the most part, they can get away with having lots of workers who work for them, often exclusively, and help them make their profits.

“But they don’t provide these people with the minimum wage, holiday and sick pay or pensions and everything that workers across the country have come to take for granted.”

But not everyone is unhappy with the kind of work that the likes of Uber, Deliveroo and TaskRabbit offer, and instead enjoy the flexibility.
Viktor is developing his own software company alongside being an Uber driver.

He said: “I think Uber is fantastic, I don’t work for anybody or serve anybody. In fact I use it to help me network and get extra money when I need it.”

The so-called gig or sharing economy has boomed in the UK.

Deliveroo is another company embroiled in the row over workers’ rights

According to official figures, the number of people registered as self-employed rose to 4.8 million in August this year – accounting for 15% of the UK population.

As for Uber, it has two million users in London alone and they make around one million trips a week.

For many people using the one-off, on-demand services for takeaways, odd jobs or taxi rides is a convenience but critics say it’s fuelling inequality, with big companies growing at the expense of others less fortunate.

The tribunal’s decision could have huge implications not just for Uber and its drivers but for all those invested in the UK’s gig economy.

If Uber loses, it may radically change how companies in the sector do business and how they treat those that work for them.

But if the case goes against the drivers, experts say it would validate this type of flexible working and encourage more on-demand services into the market.

source: http://news.sky.com/

Taxi drivers won’t be forced to take BTEC after all because courses ‘cost too much’

THE high cost of courses to improve the level of service from taxi drivers in Christchurch has led to councillors rejecting the idea.

At a meeting of the licensing committee on Monday, members discussed plans to ask drivers to complete BTEC and NVQ qualifications in a bid to raise the quality of service for passengers.

They also discussed whether to introduce a safeguarding module for drivers to complete.

However, members felt the fees involved in the BTEC and NVQ courses were too high.

The discussion came after Bournemouth council asked their drivers to complete BTEC and NVQ courses, which led to a concern that drivers were moving to Christchurch to work.

Officers warned that there could be strong opposition to the measure, especially with a lack of government funding.

Councillor Bernie Davis, portfolio holder for safe and healthy communities, said: “Members requested that officers investigate the feasibility of introducing BTEC and NVQ qualifications for hackney carriage and private hire drivers (taxi drivers).

“We were aware that other nearby local authorities required taxi drivers to complete such courses and that this may have resulted in a displacement of applications to Christchurch. It was also felt that such qualifications may improve the general level of service offered to the public.

“At the licensing committee meeting, members decided that the fees presented made it unreasonable to make the qualifications a requirement.

“However, we have requested further investigation into other providers to ensure best value.

“Members did agree to introduce a new safeguarding module, following high profile national case reviews relating to taxi drivers and the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults.”

The safeguarding module follows the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse in Rotherham.

A report to the committee said officers had considered an e-learning course and seminars, but had “reservations” they could be too in depth and irrelevant.

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

Coroner orders changes to taxi licensing after ‘unfit’ taxi driver killed motorcyclist in crash

A coroner has today ruled that the death of a motorcyclist killed in a head-on crash with a taxi was an ‘unlawful killing’.

Mark Buckley from Mansfield died after the crash in March 2014, having suffered “unsurvivable” injuries.

Nottinghamshire Coroner’s Court was told the taxi driver, Kevin Wiesztort, was unfit to be on the road due to lack of sleep – and the coroner has now demanded changes to licensing rules.

Mr Buckley’s partner Rachael Price told our reporter Charlotte Cross that she hopes those changes will save lives:

In a statement after the conclusion of the three-day inquest hearing, Ms Price said:

The last two and a half years have been incredibly difficult. Mark was such a positive, loving and funny man to be around and now we somehow have to rebuild our lives with only his memory.

My decision to pursue marks inquest to be resumed was because I believed that circumstances that occurred leading up to his death, if acted upon and monitored prior to the collision could have prevented it from happening.

Over the last three days the evidence I have heard has confirmed this.

To hear Dennis Lamb, the proprietor of Aaeron Cars, admit part responsibility into Mark’s tragic death was a bittersweet admission. I will be monitoring closely the outcome of his firm’s review in respects to his licensing conditions.

Mansfield District Council have worked closely with other licensing bodies across Nottinghamshire to implement changes to policies and procedures from the start of Mark’s inquest and I am hoping it will improve the future safety for the general public. I also hope other counties will look upon these changes in Nottinghamshire and review their practices to ensure this has national impact.

I hope to see safer practices enforced on taxi companies and their drivers in the hope that this can stop other people having to go through the pain and heartache we have been through.

I have offered to work closely with the licensing bodies to raise awareness in these matters and hope that going forward it can only be a positive step towards achieving this goal.

– Rachael Price

Mr Buckley, a father-of-three, was hit head-on in the crash with Wiesztort’s Fiat Doblò taxi, at around 5.30am on March 30, 2014 – Mother’s Day – as he travelled along the Derby Road in Kirkby-in-Ashfield.

Wiesztort had veered onto the wrong side of the road and smashed into Mr Buckley’s Yamaha, throwing him from the bike.

The court heard that less than two hours before the smash, Wiesztort’s customers David and Michelle Newton, who had been travelling from Mansfield to Birmingham Airport, had lodged a complaint with his employers Aaeron Cars.

They told the operator he should not be behind the wheel. He had been swerving between lanes, fluctuating speed without warning, and at one point took his jumper off over his head while on the M1, leaving them frightened for their lives.

The court heard that complaint was, in essence, ignored by the owners of Aaeron Cars, Dennis and Edna Lamb.

Mansfield District Council’s licensing chiefs have now launched an urgent, 28-day review into Aaeron Cars’ operating licence, after what the court heard were repeated failures to meet standards.

Officials from councils across Nottinghamshire have also joined together to overhaul licensing standards, introducing new guidelines to restrict who can get a taxi driver or operator licence.

These include stricter fitness to drive testing, tighter monitoring of drivers’ hours, and every taxi firm having a proper complaints handling procedure.

Nottinghamshire Coroner Máirín Casey said she hoped other councils would follow suit in raising standards.

Nottinghamshire Authorities Licensing Group are leading the way nationally in terms of the changes they have implemented in this case. This is much to be commended and is a fitting legacy for Mr Buckley.

– Máirín Casey, Coroner

In tribute, Mark’s family has described him as “thoughtful, funny and kind”.

source: http://www.itv.com