A taxi driver in Blackpool has been stripped of their licence after a passenger reported them for expressing transphobic and homophobic views. The driver, who was not named, also handed out religious literature and tried to impose their faith on the passengers, according to the complaints.
The driver had previously received a verbal warning from the council's licensing service and had been fired by their former employer for sharing controversial views with another passenger. The driver denied any wrongdoing and claimed the complaints were malicious.
Mr Ryan Ratcliffe, Licensing Enforcement Officer, presented the case regarding a Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Driver's Licence holder named DSC to the Sub-Committee.
A complaint was received in April 2023 from a member of the public who had a journey with DSC and alleged that DSC had been expressing transphobic and homophobic views, using their position to impose their faith, and distributing religious literature while having signage within their vehicle expressing their religious views. The complainant described feeling distressed and expressed concern for their own and others' safety.
The Licensing Service received a similar complaint against DSC in October 2022, which resulted in their employer, C Cabs dismissing them as one of their drivers. The complaint was forwarded to the Licensing Service, and Mr Ratcliffe had issued a verbal warning to DSC. DSC's application was consequently considered for a number of previous convictions, and a severe warning letter had been issued in relation to future misconduct.
In light of evidence of repeated instances of misconduct, the Licensing Service recommended that the Sub-Committee consider a minimum suspension. However, DSC attended the meeting accompanied by a representative of the Blackpool Licensed Taxi Operators Association, who presented their case.
They stated that the first complaint received in October 2022 was one of DSC's first journeys as a licensed driver and denied saying anything offensive in the conversation where they expressed their religious views. They believed that the incident was minor, and their employer had acted inappropriately in dismissing them and passing the complaint to the Licensing Service. DSC's representative stated that they had no recollection of the second complaint.
The Sub-Committee raised concerns about transphobic and homophobic comments. DSC denied these accusations and stated that they did not hold such views. The Sub-Committee noted that DSC had allegedly used the phrase “you-know-whats” in reference to people living in the Midlands but had no recollection of using it.
After consideration, the Sub-Committee agreed that DSC was not a fit and proper person to hold a licence due to concerns regarding the nature of the complaints made against them and agreed to revoke their licence.