Taxi driver fined for ‘illegal pick-up’ bid

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A PRIVATE hire taxi driver who illegally tried to pick up passengers in Burnley has been fined by magistrates.

Muntazir Hussain Shah, of Beddington Street, Nelson, pleaded guilty to plying for hire in St James’s Street without a licence. He also admitted failing to wear a driver’s badge on the same day.

He was fined a total of £180 and ordered to pay £100 costs and a £15 victim surcharge at Reedley Magistrates’ Court after a prosecution brought by Burnley Council.

Shah was driving a private hire vehicle and held a private driver’s licence which allowed him to pick up passengers only if the journey had been pre-booked, unlike Hackney carriages or black cabs which can pick up passengers from the street or taxi ranks.

Peter Henderson, Burnley Council’s licensing manager, said: “Private hire drivers can’t pick up passengers from the street; the car has to be booked through the private hire operator. Any private hire driver who does pick up passengers without booking may not be covered by insurance. It’s also important drivers wear their badge so they are identifiable.

“This is about protecting members of the public. Unlike black cabs private hire cars look like any other car and late at night, when people are potentially in a vulnerable state and want to get home as quickly as possible, it’s very easy for them to get into a car by mistake. It’s important for their safety that they know it’s the car they’ve booked and the driver is identifiable.”