Taxi union calls for Private Hire drivers caught illegally plying for hire to face criminal charges

Taxi drivers in Glasgow are calling for tougher punishments to be enforced to private hire drivers who are caught illegally plying for hire. They say that the “pirating” needs to be treated as a criminal offence, which leads to court action rather than the offender just having to appear at the council’s licensing committee. In some other UK cities an enforcement officer works with local police to catch private hire drivers who are illegally plying for hire - taxi drivers in Glasgow are now asking the City Council to follow suit. As reported in the Evening Times, representatives from the local authority will attend the Taxi and PHV Licensing Policy Updates and Best Practices conference in London in the coming weeks to discuss how they can push forward with preventing the illegal trade of “pirating.” Steven Grant, secretary of Glasgow Cab Section of Unite the Union has said that they don’t believe a four-week suspension (the current punishment for illegally plying for hire) is enough of a deterrent and would like to see any offenders receive six penalty points on their licence. He believes that charging those caught with a criminal offence will act as more of a deterrent, leading to drivers to be less likely to consider plying for hire. Calum Anderson, Chairman of the Glasgow CAB Section added that they believe taking those who get caught pirating to court is the best way forward, although he admits its not likely to completely stamp it out of the trade. Councillor Alex Wilson will be amongst those who attend the London conference and has said that it is not the council’s job to limit the number of private hire drivers, but it is their job to protect public health and safety and will be looking to see what is currently working within the system and what isn’t.

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