York minicab firm who recruited drivers licensed in Wolverhampton has its operator's licence revoked

A private hire operator based in York has had his licence revoked by York City Council after he was deemed not to be "fit-and-proper".

Councillors agreed to revoke Mohammed Iqbal's private hire operator’s licence, who was trading under the name York Cars.

One of the council’s major concerns was that Mr Iqbal had recruited drivers licensed by Wolverhampton City Council to work in York, when they may not be considered ‘fit and proper’ under York’s licensing policy.

Although licensing drivers from other authorities is not against the law - the council licensing team stressed Mr Iqbal's motivations for doing so made him unfit to hold a licence.

The council also claims Mr Iqbal has been operating companies 690 Taxis and Street Cars in York without an operator’s licence, which would be a serious offence.

Speaking at a licensing meeting, which can be viewed on the council's website, Leo Charalambides, barrister for the council, said: “We are not saying Mr Iqbal has done anything unlawful, but that he effectively circumvents your own licensing policy.”

Charalambides said Mr Iqbal used a Facebook post to complain about the council’s stance on Uber and and state his intention to protest by licensing cars elsewhere, adding: “Your second largest operator is actively advertising that it’s going elsewhere, ignoring your local requirements in order to continue working in York.”

He said Mr Iqbal put his business needs above public safety.

But Gerald Gouriet QC, representing Mr Iqbal, told the meeting the law allows people licensed elsewhere to operate in York. He said: “It isn’t Mr Iqbal who enables those drivers to work in York, it is the law of the land.

“It’s widely recognised that there needs to be an amendment of that law. But until it is changed Mr Iqbal is perfectly entitled to take the best commercial advantage he can. He need not be ashamed of taking advantage of the law.”

Councilors made the decision to revoke Mr Iqbal's operator's licence on the grounds of public safety and maintaining high standards, although they did stress their concerns about the impact on the drivers who work for York Cars, who could lose their jobs due to their decision.

According to reports, Mr Iqbal is going to appeal the council's decision.