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TEST PURCHASE: Taxi driver ordered to pay £670 in fines and costs after refusing to take passenger

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

A taxi driver who refused to take a passenger to Ernesettle has been ordered to pay a total of £670 in fines and costs by Plymouth Magistrates.

Sabastian Viorescu from Kepple Street, refused to carry passengers who were part of a Council test purchasing operation in the early hours of 30 July last summer at the taxi rank close to the Barbican Leisure complex.

Viorescu pleaded guilty at the Magistrate's Court on Monday 20 February 2023 to an offence under section 53 of the Town and Police Clauses Act 1847. Under the act any driver who refuses or neglects without reasonable excuse to drive a passenger within the city boundaries commits an offence.

The 46-year-old was fined £300, ordered to pay costs of £250 and a £120 victim surcharge.

A taxi driver for 11 years, he told the court he had always tried to do his best for Plymouth, but the job had become so stressful that he now only drives his taxi in the day. He did not remember the incident, however he accepts the officers’ evidence but said it was out of character.

Councillor Pat Patel, Cabinet Member with responsibility for taxi licensing, said: “We will not tolerate drivers who refuse customers without cause. The majority of our taxi drivers provide an excellent service and we need the public’s help to stop the minority who break the laws give our drivers a bad name.”

He added: “People should be able to get a taxi home anywhere within the city boundary without issues. This behaviour affects the trust of taxi services and people will take risks and walk home instead or worse, drive after drinking.”

The council added that test purchase operations will continue until drivers stop refusing multiple drops and fares to areas out of the city, such as Southway, Plympton and Plymstock to name a few.


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