Two Preston taxi drivers caught picking up fares illegally during undercover operation

Posted on - 9th January, 2016 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Crime, Friargate, Preston City Centre, Preston News
Taxi sign at Preston Bus Station Pic: Tony Worrall

Taxi sign at Preston Bus Station Pic: Tony Worrall

Two private hire taxi drivers in Preston have been fined for picking up customers without being prebooked.

Naveed Akhtar of Carr Road, Nelson and Muhammad Waseem of Cemetery Road, Preston, both pleaded guilty to plying for hire without a hackney carriage licence and using invalid vehicle insurance.

They were both caught during a Preston City Council sting operation.

Council licensing officers caught both drivers doing what is known as ‘flying’ where they picked up passengers without an advanced booking.

Private hire vehicles do not have insurance to pick up passengers who attempt to flag them down, only Hackney cabs can do this.

Cabinet member for planning and regulation, councillor John Swindells, said: “The City Council has a duty to ensure vehicles and the drivers it authorises to provide taxi and private hire services are safe to do so and act in accordance with their licence conditions and within the law.

“I don’t believe there is a major problem in Preston of private hire drivers picking up customers who hadn’t prebooked, but it is important that enforcement operations are carried out from time to time. It is the council’s policy to prosecute ‘flyers’ and I’m pleased the drivers concerned pleaded guilty to these offences.”

More than 24 private hire vehicles were flagged down during the undercover operation, with 22 refusing to take the fare.

Akhtar, who was flagged down in his vehicle on Friargate, and Waseem, who was parked on Lancaster Road, both accepted hires from the under- cover officers. Once the officers had agreed destination and fare arrangements and entered the vehicles, a third officer approached the vehicle and pointed out the offences to the drivers and cautioned them, informing that it would likely lead to legal proceedings.

Akhtar was fined and ordered to pay costs of £528, while Waseem was ordered to pay £488. Both drivers also now have six points on their licence.

What do you think about the fines? Have you ever had an issue getting a taxi? Let us know in the comments below

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