Taxi driver convicted of fraud and stripped of licence for not declaring conviction

The Lancashire Telegraph reports that a TAXI driver has been convicted of fraud and had his licence revoked after failing to declare a conviction.

Shahid Javaid, of Arnold Street, Huddersfield, pleaded guilty on August 19 at Burnley Magistrates Court to fraud by false representation.

He was fined £80 in total and was ordered to pay £150 costs.

His licence has also been cancelled.

Rossendale Borough Council’s Licensing department had previously granted a hackney carriage licence driver to Javaid.

He had failed to declare his conviction of driving without insurance on a previous hackney license with another licensing authority when he applied to Rossendale Council.

The enforcement team at Rossendale collated a vast amount of evidence for the case which resulted in the guilty plea.

Councillor Steve Hughes, chair of Rossendale Council’s licensing committee welcomed this conviction.

He said: “This shows the important work our enforcement officers are doing and how their work is monitoring and making sure that taxis are a safe transport option for the public.

“It is simply unacceptable to fail to declare convictions on your application form and this case shows our enforcement officers will find out.”


Taxi driver made nearly 400 trips without insurance

A taxi driver was banned from the roads after carrying out 382 trips without insurance.

Father-of-one Darren Hickling did the work although his cabbie’s licence had been suspended by Gedling Borough Council, a court heard.

When told he could not drive for six months, he told Nottingham magistrates: “I have got a problem. I did an airport run and came straight to court.

“The car is in the car park. I have not got someone to fetch it.”

Presiding magistrate Deborah White told him: “You will have to find someone to help you with that.

“You need to understand very clearly if you were to drive on a public road, you would commit an offence of driving while disqualified and that is an imprisonable offence.

“Please don’t drive,” added Ms White, who sat with two colleagues. Hickling was fined £600 and must pay the £550 council costs and a £60 government surcharge.

He admitted four counts of driving without insurance on December 31, January 5, 8 and 25. Hickling also pleaded guilty to using a hackney carriage without a licence between December 30 and January 26.

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Hickling of Wendling Gardens, Bestwood Park asked to be excused a ban, saying it would cause “exceptional hardship.” He told JPs that he needs to keep working as a cabbie to meet living expenses and look after his son.

“I could be homeless because I have a private landlord who would not accept DHS payments. It is just cash for him.

“I would not be able to afford food for myself,” he added. But the magistrates said there were no grounds for excusing the ban.

Hannah Cash, prosecuting, said Hickling was issued with a licence in February last year. This covered taxis and private hire work.

On December 8, he was called before the council’s Licensing Committee “after a complaint regarding his conduct towards a civil enforcement officer.

“He didn’t appeal and the suspension started on December 30 to January 26. He was made aware of the suspension and on January 4 called the council enforcement officer to say he had handed in his badge at reception.

“On February 24, the council received a further complaint regarding Mr Hickling’s conduct from a licensing enforcement officer from Broxtowe Borough Council,” said Mrs Cash.

When checks were made with a taxi firm, they said he began working for them on December 2.

“He undertook 382 jobs during the suspension and never informed them of the suspension. During the suspension, he drove members of the public while uninsured.

“He was aware of the suspension and took a conscious decision to drive anyway. He was driving the public for hire and was undertaking over 300 bookings.

“It was not practical to prosecute every journey,” said Mrs Cash. Checks with his insurance company indicated that they would not provide cover if they had known he had no taxi licence, she added.


Reducing waiting times: DVSA’s taxi driver assessments to end

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency have released this bulletin today:

Reducing waiting times: DVSA’s taxi driver assessments to end

From 31 December 2016 DVSA will no longer be offering a taxi driver assessment service.

We are committed to reducing waiting times for car practical driving tests.

To help us to reduce these, we’ve reviewed all our services and have decided to stop offering taxi driver assessments from 31 December 2016.

We currently provide this service to local authorities. We have contacted them to suggest alternative providers, such as road safety charities or representative bodies of driving instructors.


Chelmsford minicab boss wants The Knowledge test made easier to attract recruits

A Chelmsford minicab boss wants the city’s knowledge test made easier because potential recruits are put off by the current requirements.

But while private hire firm bosses want a relaxation of Chelmsford City Council’s exams to meet demand, others want the standard maintained and even made harder.

The proposals will be voted on at a meeting of the city council’s regulatory committee, chaired by Councillor Lance Millane, at the Civic Centre on Thursday evening (September 6).

Waqas Hussain, of Lister Tye, who has been working for family-run firm Happicabs for six years, feels potential drivers are put off joining the industry because of the lengthy qualification process.

“We were one of the taxi firms who first put this idea of making the test easier to the council,” said the 25-year-old.

“The demand for private hire cars in Chelmsford at this moment in time is growing and we are struggling to meet that demand and cater for the customers.

“We have got all the technology in the world, but we are having to turn down 30 per cent of our calls because we haven’t got enough cars on the road.

“The only thing holding us back is the knowledge test. It can take four months to pass and people don’t want to wait that long to get a job.

“Including our Stansted fleet, we have 45 drivers, but we need to get up to 65 to be able to meet the current demand.”

The two recommendations open to the committee are to either make no changes to the current licensing process for private hire drivers or to shorten the full knowledge test element of the application.

The test can take three months to pass and costs around £300, with applicants asked to identify streets or landmarks in Baddow, Danbury, South Woodham Ferrers and the city centre without referring to a map – similar to the famous knowledge test London’s taxi drivers must undertake.

Private hire companies say that journeys could be downloaded within car sat navs, without the need to know every road in the area.

Waqas claims he hasn’t got enough taxis to meet demand in Chelmsford

Waqas added: “We are not proposing anything radical. We still want drivers to be CRB checked, go on a disability awareness course, have a medical check and all of that.

“But we are proposing the points of interest pass rate should be five out of ten rather than six, and the knowledge test pass rate to be ten out of 25 rather than 18.

“I think that is fair because of the way we have operators taking calls first, so a driver has time to pre-plan his route rather than being put on the spot.

“The difference is black cabs can be hailed but private hire taxis have to be pre-booked. I would say 95 per cent of our fleet is private hire.”

But not all taxi bosses are supportive of the proposals.

Jane Rezaie, who runs Chelmsford taxi firm Ali’s Taxi’s, wrote to the committee ahead of Thursday’s meeting.

Her letter said: “The main problem, I believe, is new applicants do not want to put the effort in to learning the knowledge and they are looking for an easy way out.

“It appears people are forgetting that we are professional drivers providing a service to the public, it is our job to know where we are going.

“It is our job to give the customer the best and most comfortable ride for their journey, and that the customer feels we are doing our best and they feel sage and confident in our ability.

“There is undoubtedly a problem with a lack of drivers in Chelmsford, both Hackney carriage and private hire drivers.

“All professional drivers should have a comprehensive knowledge of the area they work in, as we are providing a public service.”

Last month, Uber, an app that connects drivers with passengers directly, said it is not currently looking to launch in Chelmsford but could consider branching into the city if the demand was there.


Taxi drivers in Nottingham could face penalty points and even have their licences revoked

Taxi drivers could be given penalty points for 10 offences including turning off the meter or parking badly in Nottingham.

The city council is considering introducing what it has dubbed a Driver Improvement Penalty Point Scheme.

Drivers say it would mean “double punishment” but the council says it will improve driving standards.

Councillors will debate the idea at Nottingham City Council’s regulatory and appeals committee on Tuesday September 6.

Kaleem Ashraf, chairman of the Nottingham branch of union Unite, represents unionised hackney carriage drivers. He said: “We haven’t been consulted yet, but we are happy to speak to the council and raise our concerns.

“They are trying to reduce the number of hackney drivers but are portraying it as improvement.

“And if they do bring it in they need to enforce it 24/7, unless it will just be targeting hackney drivers or develop into a game of cat and mouse.”

There are currently 411 hackney cabs and over 1,000 private hire vehicles licensed in Nottingham.

Mr Ashraf said: “There’s only about 80 or 90 hackney spaces, so if everyone came out at the same time it would be chaos. We’ve been asking for more spaces for years.

“And the night time economy is changing, so we need to move with that but the council need to work with us rather than making it as difficult as possible.”

Under the proposed scheme, drivers can receive up to twelve points over a three-year rolling period before their licence will be reviewed. If they exceed twelve points, action will be taken, up to and including suspending or revoking their licence.

Points could be given out for “driving a vehicle in an unroadworthy condition”, “failure to convey passengers in a safe and responsible manner”, “parking a vehicle in contravention of parking restrictions” or “failure to use taxi meter for journeys within prescribed distance”.

  • 4 pts – Failure to use Taxi Meter for journeys within prescribed distance
  • 4 pts – Refusal to accept hiring without reasonable cause
  • 4 pts – Failure to display driver badge and/or wear identification badge
  • 6 pts – Driving a vehicle in an unroadworthy condition
  • 4 pts – Parking a vehicle in contravention of parking restrictions
  • 4 pts – Failure to display signs or plates correctly, or displaying unauthorised signs
  • 6 pts – Obstruction / failure to comply with reasonable request made by Authorised Officers or Police Officers
  • 6 pts – Failure to convey passengers in a safe and responsible manner
  • 6 pts – Unacceptable behaviour towards members of public, Authorised Officers or Police Officers
  • 4 pts – Failure to comply with any other Nottingham City Council combined drivers and vehicle licence condition not included above

Kevin Clarke director at private hire firm NG11 Cars, said: “They are trying to make the city centre a completely car free zone.

“I don’t condone any drivers that fly around the roads but if they park badly or drive badly they will get points on their drivers licence. Giving them separate points on their taxi licence is a double punichment.”

As licensing authority, the council says it is “keen to see the sector survive and thrive as part of the city’s widely-admired sustainable transport network” and says the DIPP Scheme will help make that happen in the next five years.

Other ideas being considered include restriction of granting licences to potential cabbies with driving offences on their record and temporary licence suspensions if taxis enter restricted streets.

Portfolio holder for business, growth and transport, Councillor Nick McDonald, said: “Taxis are an important part of the city’s widely-acclaimed transport network and we need to be sure they are fit for purpose in the modern world.

“The proposal to introduce a Driver Improvement Penalty Point Scheme helps to reassure passengers that there are minimum standards among licensed taxis in Nottingham aimed primarily at ensuring they get a good, safe service, while reminding taxi drivers of the responsibilities and standards expected of them.

“This is part of a broader strategy to bring local taxis up to standards that the travelling public expect and connect them more effectively with other parts of our local transport network.”

A council spokesman added: “Taxi driver representatives came to us two years ago asking for us to consider introducing a points system and as we’ve looked into it we’ve had various discussions and meetings with them about it.

“However as the enforcing authority, it is appropriate that the we determine the details of the scheme.”


Uber driver found guilty of assaulting black cab driver at a taxi rank

AN Uber worker has been convicted of assaulting a black taxi driver in the latest outbreak of a hire-car war.

Uber app operator Mohammed Dalim, 40, smashed Jon Cox, 49, over the head after a prang at a taxi rank outside King’s Cross station, central London.

Last week Highbury Magistrates Court convicted Dalim of assault, which heard how a war is raging between traditional black taxi drivers and hi-tech Uber mini cabs.

The area where Dalim carried out the attack is one of the key battle spots between the warring cabbies.

Trouble flared when former bus driver Dalim, of East London, nearly swerved into black cabbie Mr Cox because he was setting up the Uber app for his next customer, the trial heard.

Mr Cox told the court “I pulled alongside him and asked him ‘Didn’t you see me, what do you think you are doing?’ I wasn’t happy.

“He wound down his window and just started a torrent of abuse.

“He started goading me, saying ‘You’re crying, Uber has f**ked you, you can’t pay your mortgage.’”

Dalim cancelled his next booking and then bumped into Mr Cox as he tried to pull away.

Mr Cox said : “We were so close he pulled forward and struck my cab which was stationary, I hadn’t moved.

“And then he went mad, he put his window down and went “What have you done, you have damaged my cab, I’m going to damage you, I’m going to beat you up.

“He then reversed his vehicle, jumps out and runs round the back of his car.

“I got out as well just to inspect if there was any damage.

“I went round the front and he was ranting and raving at me and I just said ‘Well give me your details we will let the insurance deal with it.’

“At that point he just attacks me, threw some punches at me.”

Mr Cox, who has been a Hackney Carriage driver for 22 years, went on : “As I turned around to get my phone he punched me from behind in the back of the head.

“He just punched me from behind, I fell over.

“I went forward on my knees and hit my head on the footwell of the taxi because the door was open.”

The Uber driver was arrested at the scene following the bust-up on March 23 this year and told cops Mr Cox punched him and then “dived like a footballer” when he pushed him away.

Dalim denied common assault and claimed in court he had been “framed” by black cab drivers intent on Uber’s downfall.
He said: “I get abused by black cabbies on a daily basis.

“If you ask me there’s a war going on between black cabs and Uber, it’s a known fact.

“I’m an Uber driver, that’s what got me into this mess.’

Dalim said the accusations from the black cab driver were a “complete lie.”

“He came in, he pulled to the right, he started abusing me and I couldn’t get out of the situation.

“To me it felt like when I watch football, a little dramatic.”

However, District Judge Nicholas Rimmer rejected Dalim’s evidence and gave him a 12-month community order and 150 hours of unpaid work.

Mr Rimmer also ordered Dalim to pay £620 prosecutions costs, £200 compensation to Mr Cox, and a £60 victim surcharge.

He said : “You felt everything was a conspiracy because, as you put it, there is a war going on between black cabs and Uber.

“I don’t accept your evidence as credible because you were inconsistent about a number of things.”

Judge Rimmer noted that Dalim ‘chopped and changed’ his account, adding: “The force you used went way beyond anything that could be described as lawful or reasonable.”

The attack happened yards away from an earlier incident between an Uber and black cab driver in June.

The black cab driver was caught on camera repeatedly punching the Uber man in the face in the film which went viral online across the world.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Cox said the taxi rank on Pancras Road has become a ‘mad house’ because Uber drivers are ‘flooding’ the drop-off points.

He said: ‘There’s a lot of trouble down there, there’s a lot of flash points at the place because of the situation of the drop-off bays.

“It’s a bit of a madhouse round there.”

He added: “The Uber drivers are flooding it, they are getting desperate because they are hanging round trying to get jobs round there when they are not supposed to.”

Black cabbies say the tensions are the result of TfL licensing 45,000 Uber drivers in the capital without adequate checks or training.

They are angry about being undercut by Uber while being restricted by a rigid fare structure imposed on them by Transport for London.

Marc Turner, from taxi magazine Call Sign, said: “There is a conflict between Uber and registered taxi drivers in every territory in the world.”

Sean Paul Day, from London Taxi Radio, said: “It’s a war, but I don’t see it as a straightforward war. It’s a state-assisted attempted takeover of a registered industry.”

Tom Elvidge, Uber’s general manager of its London operation, said : “There’s no excuse for aggressive behaviour on the roads.

“We’ve had many reports of licensed drivers who use our app being on the receiving end of threatening behaviour from black cab drivers and we take it very seriously.

“There’s room for both black taxis and private hire operators like Uber in London.”


Uber launches legal action over new London licensing rules

Uber has launched legal action against London’s transport regulator over new rules that threaten to limit its business in the capital, City A.M. can exclusively reveal.

The billion-dollar startup is seeking a judicial review to halt the introduction of new rules it claims are too strict.

Transport for London set out new regulations earlier this year after a wide-ranging consultation of the taxi and minicab industry following a long-standing feud between Uber and London’s black cab drivers.

The initial regulation was previously welcomed by Uber, but in recent months the details of the rules have become too onerous, Uber claims.

Now, Uber is pursuing legal action over the matter, filing official papers with the courts this week after sending a so-called letter before action to TfL.

TfL said it would defend the legality of the new regulations.

“We responded to Uber’s letter and will be robustly defending the legal proceedings brought by them in relation to the changes to private hire regulations,” a TfL spokesperson told City A.M.

“These have been introduced to enhance public safety when using private hire services and we are determined to create a vibrant taxi and private hire market with space for all providers to flourish.”

Uber is challenging four of the new rules; requiring written English tests for drivers, having to locate its customer service call centre in London, requiring insurance that covers drivers when they are not working and having to alert TfL of changes to its business model or app.

It last week rallied customers to contact the mayor of London urging him to review the regulation while business leaders and entrepreneurs have also written to Sadiq Khan asking him to rethink the rules, raising concerns that the red tape could stifle innovation and London’s digital economy in the wake of Brexit.

It comes as the mayor promised to make new plans for the future of the taxi and minicab industry in the capital.

A spokesperson for the mayor said: “Sadiq has asked his team to produce a comprehensive new strategy that will herald in a new era for the capital’s taxi and private hire trades.

“Further details will be released later this year of a plan that will deliver radical improvements for customers, a boost to safety, support for the taxi trade and further improve the quality of service offered by the private hire trade. There will also be a concerted effort to make London’s taxi fleet the greenest in the world.”

City Hall would not be drawn on whether this would include reviewing the new regulations, agreed under former mayor Boris Johnson.

Tom Elvidge, general manager at Uber London, said: “This legal action is very much a last resort. We’re particularly disappointed that, after a lengthy consultation process with Transport for London, the goalposts have moved at the last minute and new rules are now being introduced that will be bad for both drivers and tech companies like Uber.”

London’s cabbies, who believe the new rules do not go far enough, have also backed Uber’s call for a rethink, indicating the black cab trade stood to gain from a more favourable outcome.

The head of the London Taxi Drivers Association Steve McNamara on Monday said he was confident Khan would do “what’s right for London”.

Other minicab firms in the capital have backed the new regulation, however.

Addison Lee chief executive Andy Boland said: “Having previously backed the proposals it’s hard to understand Uber’s resistance to implementation of these new regulations. The whole industry was fully involved in the consultation and there is a strong belief that they will benefit both passengers and drivers.”

Gett managing director for Europe Remo Gerber called Uber’s U-turn on the regulations “baffling”.

“Frankly we’re surprised we’re wasting time on this. We should be focusing on the post Brexit needs of London, not minor operational details,” he said.



Minicab firms Addison Lee and Uber at war over Mayor’s private hire rules

The biggest minicab firm in Europe has written to Sadiq Khan attacking Uber’s bid to water down tough new private hire rules.

Addison Lee, which has 5,000 licensed drivers, told the Mayor it was “indefensible” that Uber has launched legal action against Transport for London’s new rules.

The regulations include written English tests for drivers and vehicles being insured even when they are not being used as minicabs.

Uber’s London general manager Tom Elvidge said: “The goalposts have moved at the last minute”, adding that the new rules would be “bad for both drivers and companies like Uber”.

Addison Lee chief Andy Boland said Uber was trying to “undermine” the new passenger safety rules.

Mr Boland has written to the Mayor to say he continued to support the new rules. TfL said it would defend its plans in court.


Delta private-hire driver pleads not guilty to raping male passenger

Private hire driver Khaldon Mohammed, 30, of Gwendoline Street in Toxteth has pleaded not guilty to raping a male passenger in Aigburth.

Khaldon Mohammed will stand trial in the new year

A Delta private hire driver has pleaded not guilty to raping a male passenger.

Khaldon Mohammed is alleged to have attacked the customer in his taxi in Aigburth late last year.

Mohammed, of Gwendoline Street in Toxteth , is alleged to have picked up the victim before attacking him near Sefton Park

The 30-year-old denied two counts of rape at Liverpool Crown Court today and is due to stand trial on January 12.

He was released on bail with conditions not to drive a taxi and not to contact the complainant.

He must also sign on at a police station three times a week.

Bootle-based Delta is one of the biggest minicab companies in the North West and employs more than 2,200 private hire drivers, according to its website.


Woman claims Uber driver called her a ‘slut’ and kicked her out of cab after going the wrong way

Frightened: Frances Carbines said her Uber driver threw her out of his car when she complained her was driving the wrong way

The Evening Standard reports that a young woman claims an Uber driver called her a “slut” and threw her out of his car after she pointed out he appeared to be driving her home in completely the wrong direction.

Frances Carbines, 27, went out for dinner at Dishoom in Shoreditch with friends last night she split from her fiancé, she said.

The British Council worker said she was feeling “fragile” but had gone out with her would-be bridesmaids, who were trying to console her following the break-up.

She said one of her bridesmaids called her an Uber after the meal, at about 11.30pm, and put the postcode for her home address in Crouch End into the app. However, she claims that instead of driving her home, the driver started taking her to the “opposite end” of London.

Miss Carbines claims that when she had told the driver he was going the wrong way he became aggressive, calling her a “slut” and commenting on her short skirt, before telling her to get out of the car on Waterloo Bridge.

An Uber spokesman said the firm was investigating the claims but denied the driver had been abusive towards Miss Carbines. He added that the passenger was taken in the direction of the address that had been entered into the app.

But Miss Carbines told the Standard: “He took the wrong address and tried to take me to Brixton. When I complained he said I must live in Brixton because the system couldn’t be wrong.

“He said ‘get out or something bad will happen to you’ and stopped on a busy dual carriageway. He didn’t even pull over, then he called me a slut.

“I was shaken and crying and the Uber driver made me get out at night miles from home. The Uber driver commented on my short skirt and said I must be easy.”

Miss Carbines, who works in cultural relations for the British Council for projects in Beirut and Pakistan, said she was left feeling “frightened” when she was asked to leave the car.

“I didn’t have cash for a taxi, which is why I got the Uber,” she said.

“I had no idea where I was, it was dark, I had had a beer and I couldn’t even get a bus as I have been overdrawn.

“I was especially fragile because that weekend my fiancé called off our engagement and cancelled our new shared ownership house.”

Miss Carbines said she was eventually picked up by a black cab driver, who agreed to take her to Crouch End.

She said her mother was at home and was able to pay the driver, but he only asked for £20 instead of the usual £30 fare.

She is now appealing for the taxi driver to come forward, so that she can thank him for his kindness.

Miss Carbines described him as a slim Londoner with grey hair, square framed glasses, and a “kindly face”, who had been working as a driver for 20 years.

She said: “I’d want to say thank you so much for saving me essentially when I couldn’t get home.

“Your kindly disposition and act of humanity really cheered me up, please meet me as I owe you £10 and a drink. I wish more drivers could be like you.”

Miss Carbines has also demanded an apology from Uber.

However, the company denied that the incident unfolded as Miss Carbines described.

An Uber spokesman said: “We have called the rider in question so we can investigate these allegations, but have yet to receive a response.

“The driver in question has confirmed he was going to Brixton to an address that was pre-entered into the rider app.

“The driver has told us that the rider became angry that they were going to the entered destination and requested to exit the car. He denies being abusive towards the rider and so we would ask her to get in touch with us so we can investigate further.”


Barrow taxi drivers banned from wearing hoodies or baseball caps

BARROW taxi drivers have been warned they could be sent home if council officers catch them wearing inappropriate clothes while on duty.

Barrow Borough Council’s licensing department is understood to be planning to enforce rules surrounding professional standards of taxi drivers working across Barrow, Dalton, Askam and Walney.

The Evening Mail understands council officers have confirmed they will begin enforcing a no smoking policy in taxis and a dress code while on duty.


Barrow Borough Council’s dress code for taxi drivers states: The Authority is committed to encouraging the professional image of the trade and it considers that drivers should conform to a minimum standard of dress, as set out below, in order to raise and maintain the profile of the licensed trade.

Whilst the Authority does not wish to impose such standards by way of conditions to any licence it expects, however, that such standards will be maintained at all times.

Acceptable Standards of Dress within this code:

Tops, shirts, blouses, T-shirts, or sweat tops should cover the shoulders and be capable of being worn inside trousers or shorts. Shirts or blouses can be worn with a tie or open necked. Trousers/Shorts/Skirts Trousers may be either full length or shorts if tailored. Short skirts should not be worn. Smart jean type trousers permitted.


Footwear should fit around the heel of feet.

Examples of Unacceptable Standards of Dress within this code:

Bare chests Unclean or damaged clothing or footwear Clothing with offensive words, logos or graphics Sportswear promoting sports teams Clothing with studs or sharp edges Beach type footwear (e.g. Flip flops and mules) Baseball caps, “hoodies”,or “woolly hats” Tracksuits or shellsuits.