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Telford & Wrekin target private hire drivers looking to illegally pick up street hailing passengers

Telford and Wrekin Council are to target private hire drivers looking to pick up passengers off the street as they ramp up their clampdown on illegal plying-for-hire.

The operation, conducted by the Telford & Wrekin Council in collaboration with neighbouring authorities and the police, has taken a stringent stance to ensure drivers adhere to the regulations surrounding private hire services.

According to legislation, it is a criminal offence for private hire drivers to ply-for-hire, meaning accepting passengers without a prior booking. Only hackney carriages are permitted to be hailed on the streets or at designated taxi ranks. The restriction on private hire cars picking up passengers off the street is intended to protect both the passengers and maintain a fair and regulated transport system.

During the recent operation, undercover officers posed as customers and approached drivers of private hire vehicles, inquiring if they could be taken to various destinations. In a positive turn of events, all but one driver refused the fare, showcasing that the majority of private hire drivers are conscious of the legal obligations and prioritise passenger safety. The lone driver who accepted the illicit fare was licensed by another authority and may face prosecution as a result.

Councillor Richard Overton (Labour), Deputy Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council and Cabinet Member for Homes and Enforcement, said: “Telford & Wrekin Council is working to protect the public and our officers are out at night targeting taxi drivers who illegally ply for hire and are prepared to transport people without insurance.

“We expect drivers licensed by us, and those licensed by other local authorities operating in Telford and Wrekin, to follow the law and maintain the highest standards. It is pleasing that during the latest operation drivers licensed by Telford & Wrekin said no to the fare advising the undercover customers to pre-book. They took the right action.

“The safest way to use a private hire taxi is to book directly with the operator. This means a customer will be driven by a licensed, insured driver and there will be a record of their journey.

“It’s not worth drivers breaking the terms of their licence as they face a fine and could have their licence revoked. We will not hesitate to prosecute those who ignore the rules designed to keep people safe which is our top priority. Not only this but drivers who operate illegally undermine legitimate drivers providing a safe service.”


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