A Transport for London (TfL) licensed private hire driver has been convicted of illegally plying for hire and driving without the right insurance at Henley Regatta.
On Friday 16 December, Oxford Magistrates’ Court heard how during the regatta, officers from South Oxfordshire District Council and neighbouring councils spotted Mr Mohammed Tula Miah’s vehicle parked on double yellow lines on Friday Street in Henley.
Officers were able to identify Mr Miah’s vehicle as a private hire vehicle licensed by Transport for London. Private hire vehicles are not permitted to pick customers up off the street without a booking through a licensed private hire operator.
Having witnessed the vehicle parked illegally in a prominent location, one officer approached and asked Mr Miah if he could take them to Reading Railway Station. Mr Miah replied saying he was available and could do the journey immediately for £50.
Further investigation revealed that Mr Miah was only insured to carry out pre-booked work through a licensed private hire operator.
In court, Magistrates found Mr Miah, 55, of Helen Avenue, Feltham in Middlesex, guilty in his absence of illegally picking up passengers outside of the district where his vehicle was licensed.
He was also found guilty of driving without the required insurance.
The Magistrates imposed fines totalling £880 for the two offences, imposed six points on Mr Miah’s DVLA licence for the offence of having no insurance and awarded costs to the district council of £900 with an additional £352 victim surcharge.
The fines and costs totalled a huge £2,132.
Cllr Kate Gregory, Cabinet Member for Legal and Democratic at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Unfortunately we do come across some hackney carriage and private hire drivers attempting to pick up passengers illegally, particularly at events such as Henley Regatta, so I’m pleased that our officers were able to carry out significant enforcement work to stop this illegal activity on the day.
“Illegally plying for hire has the potential to put people’s safety at risk because we’re not able to check if the driver and their vehicle are safe and suitable to transport passengers. It also undermines the vast majority of fully licensed and insured drivers who play by the rules.”