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Private hire driver suspended for 2 months & fined £300 after illegally accepting £7 fare

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A private hire driver licensed by Bristol City Council, has been handed a two month ban after illegally accepting a fare which was not pre-booked from undercover officers.

Details of the suspension were published on the council's public meetings calendar.

The unnamed driver, who is only referred to as AK in the documents, had just completed his shift and was no longer wearing his private hire identification when plain clothes officers asked if he was available for hire.

Initially the driver told them to try the taxi rank for any available cabs, but when they stressed they were running late and would miss their train, he agreed to take them for £7.

Once the journey started, police pulled the vehicle over and questioned the driver. He admitted unlawfully plying for hire.

He was issued with a £300 fine and six penalty points before being summoned to a closed session of Bristol City Council's public safety and protection sub-committee.

Councillors made the decision to suspend his private hire driver’s licence for two months on the grounds that he had a clean record and had received no complaints since becoming a private hire driver in 1995.

It was noted in the case file: “He thought he was helping someone who was in danger of missing a train but admitted he should not have charged them if this was a genuine act of charity.

“While AK has insurance cover generally, it was invalidated for that trip due to him plying for hire, which is a breach of the conditions.

“The officers had acted no differently to an ordinary member of the public and Mr K could have refused to transport them.

“The council takes a dim view of plying for hire because not only does it deprive properly licensed hackney carriage drivers of their legitimate trade but it also places the public at risk because plying for hire will normally mean that the insurance will be invalidated in respect of that particular use of the vehicle.

“However, given that Mr K put forward strong mitigation and was very remorseful, the committee decided that there were exceptional reasons for them to depart from council policy and impose a shorter period of suspension of two months of the private hire driver’s licence but to leave the hackney carriage driver’s licence intact, since hackney carriage drivers are permitted to ply for hire.”


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