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Stepping up the fight against illegal mini-cabs

Archived press release

Date Published: 06/06/07

Aylesbury Vale District Council aims to clamp down on taxi and private hire drivers who ply for hire illegally in a bid to protect both passengers and licensed drivers. Licensing officers from the council will be undertaking a series of enforceme...

Aylesbury Vale District Council aims to clamp down on taxi and private hire drivers who ply for hire illegally in a bid to protect both passengers and licensed drivers.

Licensing officers from the council will be undertaking a series of enforcement operations in Aylesbury to check that drivers are not working illegally and putting passengers at risk.

Any driver found not to be complying with the conditions of their licence, for example private hire drivers who pick up passengers who have not booked in advance, will risk being prosecuted and face the possibility of having their licence suspended, or even revoked. A first unlawful ‘plying for hire’ offence would normally result in a formal caution.

AVDC’s licensing committee gave the go-ahead for officers to increase enforcement activities in Aylesbury at a meeting on 4 June. The decision to take action comes after complaints received by the district council’s licensing team that some private hire vehicles and red plated hackney carriages are picking up passengers around the streets of Aylesbury without a prior booking.

Hackney carriages (known as taxis) and private hire vehicles (often referred to as mini-cabs) are licensed by the district council. Under the terms of the licence, only white plated taxis can be hailed in the streets within Aylesbury’s boundaries. Red plated hackney carriages operate as taxis outside of Aylesbury but can only pick up passengers in the town if they have been pre-booked.

Private hire vehicles display a yellow plate and must be pre-booked through a licensed operator. Passengers can put themselves at risk by flagging down mini-cabs which have not been pre-booked as the vehicle’s insurance cover will not be valid.

The programme of enforcement operations will take place over the next three months. The council will also look at the possibility of using taxi marshals to direct people to taxi ranks and keep an eye on private hire vehicles in known unlawful plying for hire hot spots.

Councillor Judy Brandis, Chairman of the Licensing Committee, said: "The licensing committee recommends that offenders be prosecuted to safeguard and protect the rights of passengers but also to ensure the livelihood of licensed taxi and private hire drivers. Passengers who get into a private hire car that has not been booked in advance are not insured and so place themselves at considerable risk, while the driver is breaking the law. We also need to protect the rights of our legitimate taxi drivers."

Councillor Brandis also urged people not to get into unlicensed or unmarked cars as they are also operating illegally and are not subject to the same safety checks as licensed vehicles.

 

Contact information

Telephone:

01296 585099

Email:

communications@aylesburyvaledc.gov.uk