Drivers caught ‘plying for hire’
Written by Dean Churm on January 19, 2019
Four private hire drivers face action after picking up un-booked fares.
Telford & Wrekin Council has revealed that its Public Protection officers carried out an exercise earlier in December when they posed as customers in Newport, Madeley and Telford town centre. The Council says they tried to get into private hire vehicles that they hadn’t booked. It is illegal for a private hire vehicle to take an un-booked fare; if it’s not booked the vehicle may not be insured and the details of your journey cannot be traced. The Public Protection Officers found that four of the eight drivers approached during the operation refused to take the un-booked fares, the other four accepted them. The Council’s Licensing Officers are now investigating these incidents.
Meanwhile, Shropshire Magistrates, sitting in Telford in early December, heard a private hire driver from Go-Carz admit plying for hire earlier this year in Newport High Street. Yaw Mensah, of Bembridge, Brookside, was fined £500 for plying for hire and given six penalty points. He also admitted driving without insurance, for which the court imposed no separate penalty. He was also ordered to pay costs of £240.
The court heard he pulled his Vauxhall Zafira up in the bus stop at the side of the road at 11.24pm and two council officers got into the car. Mr Mensah agreed to take them to a pre-arranged location and took an upfront payment of £7.10, without making an attempt to book the journey. He was then stopped by a marked police car and was cautioned.
Cllr Richard Overton, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Enforcement, said: “The findings of this latest exercise are very serious and serve as a reminder to follow these simple but important rules when you need a lift home.”
- Always pre book your private hire vehicle or use a licensed taxi known as a Hackney Carriage that you can either hail in the street, pre-book or pick up at a taxi rank.
- Know where Taxi ranks and private hire pick up and drop points are
- Look for the drivers badge as this must be worn at all times. The badge has a photograph of the driver on and is issued by the council to licensed drivers once they have passed all the checks. If they are not wearing it – ask to see it to make sure that the driver is the licensed person.
- If you book via an app or ring using your mobile phone you can then forward your booking confirmation text a friend or relative so they know how you are getting home.”