Four cab drivers fined for illegally plying for hire

    Four private hire cab drivers have been convicted at Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court of picking up passengers illegally (blagging).

    The fines were as a result of a joint enforcement operation carried out by Milton Keynes Council’s Taxi Enforcement team and Thames Valley Police in December 2016.

    Abdirahman Abdullahi Mohamed of North Tenth Street, Milton Keynes attended court and pleaded guilty to plying for hire and driving without valid motor insurance in December 2016.  He was fined £46 for plying for hire and £138 for having invalid motor insurance.  He was also given 6 DVLA penalty points and has to pay costs of £500, with a victim surcharge of £30.  Mr Mohamed’s vehicle was licensed by Aylesbury Vale District Council.

    Abdulgaffoor Ifthikar of Simnel, Beanhill, Milton Keynes attended court and pleaded guilty to plying for hire and driving without valid motor insurance in December 2016 .  He was fined £76 for plying for hire and £230 for having invalid motor insurance.  He was also given 6 DVLA penalty points and has to pay costs of £500, with a victim surcharge of £30.  Mr Ifthikar‘s vehicle was licensed by South Northants District Council.

    Mashahid Ali of Ethelbert Avenue, Luton attended court and pleaded guilty to plying for hire and driving without valid motor insurance in December 2016 .  He was fined £70 for plying for hire and £210 for having invalid motor insurance.  He was also given 6 DVLA penalty points and has to pay costs of £500, with a victim surcharge of £30.  Mr Ali’s vehicle was licensed by South Northants District Council. 

    Shanmuganthan Pratheepan of Downs Barn, Milton Keynes attended court and pleaded guilty to plying for hire and driving without valid motor insurance in December 2016 .  He was fined £172 for plying for hire and £518 for having invalid motor insurance.  He was also given 6 DVLA penalty points and has to pay costs of £500, with a victim surcharge of £30.  Mr Pratheepan’s vehicle was licensed by Aylesbury Vale District Council.

    Private hire vehicles can only pick up passengers by prior appointment only – and if a driver stops to pick up passengers on the street without pre-booking it also invalidates their car insurance.

    The court heard how officers, acting as members of the public, engaged the drivers on journeys which had not been pre-booked from one location to another in Milton Keynes. 

    At the completion of these journeys taxi enforcement officers from Milton Keynes Council and officers from Thames Valley Police were waiting.  Investigations by Council officers showed that the vehicles had not actually been officially pre-booked for these journeys.

    The vehicles involved were displaying private hire door signs for Private Hire Operator Speedline and were licensed by South Northants and Aylesbury Vale District Councils.  

    Milton Keynes Council and Thames Valley Police have on-going concerns over the public’s use of Private Hire vehicles (also known as minicabs) that have not been booked in advance.  Private Hire vehicle drivers are only allowed to pick up people who have pre-booked, unlike Hackney Carriages which are allowed to pick up fares on the street.  In case of an accident, neither the driver nor the passenger would be covered by the vehicle’s insurance policy.

    When enforcing taxi legislation, the Council’s main priority is the safety of the travelling public and other road users. 

    Cllr Catriona Morris, chair of the Regulatory Committee, said "Licensed drivers are in a position of trust and members of the public expect that anyone driving a licensed vehicle has the correct licence and insurance to do so."

    “These taxi drivers must take personal responsibility for the safety of everyone they carry in their private hire vehicles. Illegally plying for hire and driving without appropriate insurance cover means that passengers have little or no legal protection whilst travelling in these vehicles."

    "These cases will hopefully send a powerful message to the licensed trade and clearly show the consequences that await any licensed driver who fails to follow the law."

    "We would urge members of the public not to get into private hire vehicles without a pre-arranged booking for their own safety."

    "These operations by Milton Keynes Council and Thames Valley Police will continue and shall hopefully minimise, if not eliminate, those drivers carrying out illegal activities within Milton Keynes."

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