Taxi Driver Online

News, comment and advice on the UK taxi and private hire trades

Taxi company fined for refusing to carry blind passenger with guide dog

Posted by admin on August 10th, 2015

Source: Leicester Mercury

A taxi company which refused to carry a blind passenger because he was accompanied by his guide dog has been fined £1,000 with more than £700 costs.

Prahlad Pandya (52) of Gwencole Crescent, Braunstone, owner of A1 Highfields Associates Ltd, also known as Highfields Taxis, was dealt with in absence at Leicester Magistrates’ Court, of failing to accept a booking by a disabled person accompanied by an assistance dog in Leicester on January 30 this year.

Nicola Birch, from Leicester City Council, told the court that two taxis had been booked to take Mahomed-Abraar Khatri from Leicester Railway Station for an interview at BBC Radio Leicester and back after the interview.

When the interview, due to finish at 3.30pm, overran by 20 minutes and the return taxi failed to arrive, Mr Khatri rang the company to ask why. “He was told that all the Indian drivers had gone home for the day and none would pick him up because of the dog.” Ms Birch said he had been taken back by another company, Circle Taxis.

The council received a complaint on February 5 and checked that the booking stated “Mo is blind and will be travelling with a guide dog.” When interviewed by the council on April 9 Pandya said he had stepped in to help because the usual bookings-handler had gone home ill. “I was confused and worried about Dave.”

The magistrates imposed the maximum fine, £1,000, with £665.50 costs and £100 victim surcharge, with a 28-day collection order.

Mike Broster, head of regulatory services for Leicester City Council said: “Disabled people may rely on the taxi services and the providers have a legal duty to comply with it. “The message I would give is that any people with disabilities who have difficulties such as this to come to us.

“There are legal requirements for taxi operators and they generally comply with them. “If not we will be there to ensure they will comply.”

After the hearing Pandya said: “Basically I did not refuse to take the man and his dog but did not have any drivers except one who was a bit awkward and would not take the dog.

“It was just one man who is self-employed, not an employee. What I said to the customer was ‘Can you hold your horses, wait a bit until I can get another driver. “I would have pleaded guilty and, with the fine and costs, will just have to pay them.”

Steve Payne, Community Services Manager at local sight loss charity Vista, said: “This case highlights the importance of educating people about sight loss, and the need to break down the social inclusion barriers that surround it.

“Being visually impaired affects people in different ways and it’s crucial to be able to provide the right support where needed. Visual impairment awareness training for individuals and businesses is just one of many services that Vista provides.”

Discuss this story on the TDO Forum

Posted in Disability issues, Fit and proper?, Operator licensing | Comments Off on Taxi company fined for refusing to carry blind passenger with guide dog

Police appeal six months after brutal attack on taxi driver over ‘vomit in cab’ row

Posted by admin on July 27th, 2015

Source: London Evening Standard

A 62-year-old taxi driver was left soaked in blood with a fractured skull after asking a couple to clean up their own vomit from his cab.

Six months on from the horrifying attack, detectives are releasing a photo of the man’s injuries in the hope those responsible will hand themselves over.

They believe the cabbie – who has no recollection of the incident and has only recently returned to work – was “repeatedly kicked or punched in the head” in the early hours of January 26 after confronting two of his passengers about the mess they had left in the back of his vehicle.

The pair had paid him £20 for the trip from Brompton Square to Addison Gardens, Kensington, when he noticed one of them had thrown up in the back.

“He suggested to the man that they should clear up the mess or give him an extra £45 to pay for the cleaning of the cab,” a Scotland Yard spokesman said. “The cab driver has no recollection of what happened next but when he regained consciousness he was badly injured and his clothing was covered in blood.

“He managed to drive home, where his son took him to hospital for treatment. He had sustained multiple fractures around his eye socket.”

Det Const Simon Jewell from the Met’s Kensington and Chelsea police team said: “The victim’s injuries are consistent with having been repeatedly kicked or punched in the head.

This would appear to be a vicious attack on a 62-year-old man who has only recently been able to return to work.

“We have released a photo of the cab driver in hospital in the hope it will encourage people to come forward with information. “We are appealing for anyone who can help us to identify the couple, a white man and woman in their early 20s, who caught the cab in the early hours on January 26.

“We’d particularly like to speak to the residents of Lower Addison Gardens and Addison Gardens who may have heard noise at approximately 2.30am or may even have witnessed the assault.”

Discuss this story on the TDO Forum

Posted in Crime and the trade, Security | Comments Off on Police appeal six months after brutal attack on taxi driver over ‘vomit in cab’ row

Harrogate taxi driver prosecuted for refusing to take blind woman’s assistance dog

Posted by admin on July 6th, 2015

Source: Harrogate News

A hackney carriage driver who refused to take a blind woman’s assistant dog has been fined £100 and ordered to pay £325 prosecution costs.

On Wednesday 1 July 2015 at Harrogate Magistrate Court, Mr Cemil Guclu pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to carry an assistance dog in his taxi contrary to section 168 of the Equality Act 2010.

The court heard that Mr Guclu, who had been parked on the Station Parade taxi rank in Harrogate, wouldn’t allow the assistance dog in his vehicle despite being told that the animal couldn’t be refused carriage. Both the dog’s owner and Mr Guclu subsequently reported the incident to Harrogate Borough Council’s Taxi Licensing team.

Mr Guclu’s actions broke the conditions of the licence he was granted by Harrogate Borough Council. Under the Equality Act 2010, taxi and private hire drivers must allow guide, hearing or assistance dogs to be carried in their vehicles.

Drivers may apply to the council for an exemption on medical grounds, but Mr Guclu had not done this. In mitigation, Mr Guclu told the court he was fearful of dogs and for this reason did not want to carry the animal.

Mr Guclu was fined £100, and ordered to pay a Victim Surcharge of £20 and £325 towards the council’s prosecution costs, making a total of £445.

Councillor John Ennis, Harrogate Borough Council’s Licensing Committee Chairman said:

“Assistance dogs enable people who are blind or partially sighted to travel independently and if a taxi driver refuses to carry such an animal it can have a serious impact on the owner’s freedom of movement.

I hope this conviction sends out a strong message to taxi drivers. Refusing to carry an assistance dog, unless you have a valid medical exemption certificate, is simply not an option. Anyone doing so will face a large fine and their action could have a serious impact on their livelihood.”

Discuss this story on the TDO Forum

Posted in Disability issues, Fit and proper? | Comments Off on Harrogate taxi driver prosecuted for refusing to take blind woman’s assistance dog

Summer Ramadan hits 25% of cab drivers who stop work at sun-down

Posted by admin on June 21st, 2015

Source: BBC Online

At least a quarter of minicab and taxi drivers in London are stopping work once the sun goes down to mark Ramadan. The holy month commemorates the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad, according to Islamic belief.

Organisations which represent drivers said at least 25% were finishing their shifts before sundown to return home and break their fasts with family. It is estimated about one million Londoners will fast from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan.

The Muslim holy month follows the lunar calendar and as such it is the first time in many years it has fallen at this point in the summer when daylight lasts for about 19 hours.

Steve Wright, chairman of the Licensed Private Hire Car Association, said: “We are aware that many private hire and taxi drivers won’t be working during Ramadan. It’s certainly very tight, it’s about 25%, but it doesn’t stop the world from turning. “There are lots of religious festivals which means there are less drivers available but we cope with it and others make hay – it’s a sort of counterbalance.”

He said the organisation arranged its trade shows around religious festivals and “there was a time when if a James Bond film was on TV a third of drivers would be at home watching it, so it’s nothing new”.

Steve McNamara from the Licensed Taxi Driver Association, which represents black cab drivers, said the number of drivers observing Ramadan and only choosing to work during daylight hours “will be high”. He said: “London taxi drivers are very representative of the community we serve, recent graduates from the Knowledge of London are almost an exact mirror of the breakdown and mix of our great city.”

In contrast retailers in the city are seeing a boom in sales due to the so-called Ramadan Rush with new products and fashions released in time for the Holy month. Nazmin Alim, the creative director at AAB Collection at East Shopping Centre in Green Street, said: “Ramadan is considered a key trading period and something we prepare for well in advance.

“It’s also a very communal month where family and friends come together. Inviting people to open fast with you is something which is highly regarded. “Spending is on the agenda for food and clothing as social activities tend to increase due to invites, and gifts are given meaning the overall spend is much more during this month.”

Discuss this story on the TDO Forum

Posted in Customer service, Driver licensing | Comments Off on Summer Ramadan hits 25% of cab drivers who stop work at sun-down

Former Redruth taxi driver has license revoked

Posted by admin on June 10th, 2015

Source: West Briton

A FORMER Redruth taxi driver has had licences for two of his vehicles revoked after authorities discovered them working in Birmingham as private hire cars.

Cornwall Council’s Miscellaneous Licensing Committee has cancelled two Hackney Carriage Licences held by Nadeem Ahmed for breach of the Council’s hackney carriage licence conditions.

At a meeting in May the Committee heard that earlier that month Cornwall Council’s Licensing Compliance team were notified by licensing enforcement for Birmingham City Council that two hackney carriages licensed with Cornwall Council were operating in the city.

Bob Mears, senior licensing compliance officer with Cornwall Council said: “We found that two Fiat Scudos which were licensed to operate within the Kerrier zone in Cornwall and the proprietor was Mr Nadeem Ahmed.

“We then confirmed with a private hire company in Birmingham that the vehicles had been operating for them.”

Mr Ahmed was asked to bring in the vehicles for a routine inspection, but despite initially agreeing to attend, he then telephoned back 30 minutes later to inform the officer that he was in Birmingham.

He said that he believed that he was perfectly entitled to operate as a private hire vehicle, but was advised that his vehicle must operate in Cornwall, principally from or within the taxi zone that it is licensed for.

Mr Ahmed had also provided Cornwall Council with an address in Redruth and clearly did not reside there as he currently lived in Birmingham. The council had not received any notification of a change of address from him.

In his defence Mr Ahmed stated that he had worked in Redruth but had had to move to Birmingham following his mother’s illness, however he was unable to provide a satisfactory explanation as to why he had two hackney carriages operating in Birmingham.

After due deliberation the Committee revoked both hackney carriage vehicle licences.

Cornwall Council cabinet member for communities Geoff Brown said: “It is important for the safety and well-being of passengers that we are able to maintain effective checks on our hackney carriages and breaches of the conditions may, as in this case, lead to revocation of the licence.”

Discuss this story on the TDO Forum

Posted in Driver licensing, Licensing administration | Comments Off on Former Redruth taxi driver has license revoked

Uber get the EU Commission to ask France for more information on taxi law

Posted by admin on June 1st, 2015

Source: Reuters

The European Commission said on Thursday it had asked Paris for more information on a new French law on taxis and chauffeured cars following a complaint from mobile phone taxi-booking service Uber.

Launched four years ago, the California-based company has expanded across Europe but has run into opposition from regular taxi drivers who say it breaks local taxi rules and violates licensing, insurance and safety regulations.

A number of European courts have banned Uber’s unlicensed taxi service, UberPOP. The latest ban came earlier this week in Milan. France’s so-called Thevenoud law requires chauffeured cars to return to a base between fares, restricts their use of software to find clients in the street and banned unlicensed service, among other measures.

In November Uber filed a complaint with the Commission against the French law, arguing it favoured regular taxis at Uber’s expense and that France should have notified Brussels of the new law. The Commission has written to the French government asking it for more information on the law, a Commission spokesman said.

“This latest letter is basically another nail in the coffin of an anti-consumer, anti-technology and archaically protectionist law,” Uber’s head of public policy Mark MacGann said on Thursday. Ultimately Brussels could take France to court if it finds that the law breaks the EU treaties.

The request for information, however, does not mean that the Commission will launch formal proceedings against France.

Discuss this story on the TDO Forum

Posted in Apps, Licensing administration, Vehicle licensing | Comments Off on Uber get the EU Commission to ask France for more information on taxi law