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COSTLY TAXI ISSUE: ‘Private PCNs are still the bane of many cabbies’ existence’ says trade rep

Private parking penalty charge notices (PCNs) have long been a thorn in the side of hardworking cabbies. These charges, issued by unscrupulous enforcement agencies, operate under contract law – a far cry from the governance of PCNs by local authorities or Transport for London (TfL).

Once a private PCN is issued and any appeal is rejected, it becomes a financial matter that can easily escalate to the County Court, like any other debt. This unfortunate reality, highlighted by Sam Houston of the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA), means that drivers who receive these tickets face a stressful and potentially costly ordeal.

Private PCNs often start at £60 but can balloon to as much as £350 if they end up in court. In light of this, Houston advises drivers to act promptly and not ignore these notices. Sometimes, simply returning to the venue and negotiating can resolve the issue. If that fails, and the driver is clearly in the wrong, paying at the discount level might be the wisest option to avoid prolonged harassment or a County Court Judgment.

Prevention, however, is always better than cure. Drivers are urged to keep a sharp eye out for signs of private land, such as illegible signage. Quick pick-ups and drop-offs without leaving the cab, and avoiding stopping on red lines, are all sensible precautions.   

In an ideal world, better legislation would protect law-abiding taxi drivers from these issues. Until then, drivers must navigate the murky waters of private PCNs with caution.

Sam Houston said in TAXI Newspaper: “Private PCNs are still the bane of many cabbies’ existence. These unscrupulous enforcement agencies operate using contract law, which is a completely different part of the law than that which governs PCNs issued by local authorities or TfL. This means that once the PCN is issued and any appeal is rejected, it essentially becomes a financial matter that might well end up in the County Court like any other debt.

“These PCNs often start at £60 but can escalate to £250 - £350 once they end up at court. So it is absolutely imperative that if you get one of these, you do not ignore it.

“In some cases they can be resolved by returning to the venue and asking nicely if anything can be done. If not though, and you are ‘bang to rights,’ it’s definitely worth considering paying at the discount level rather than be hounded for the next few years and end up with a CCJ.

“Of course the best way is to not get a ticket at all – keep an eagle eye out for the hallmarks of private land, the illegible signage etc. If you are there, don’t hang about, do your pick up or drop off double quick and don’t get out of the cab unless you have to; if there are red lines don’t stop on them.

“Hopefully soon there will be better legislation to protect law-abiding Taxi drivers from these rip-off merchants.”


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