Harrogate Borough Council private hire driver, Ibrarh Khan, 29, has been successfully prosecuted for three offences including using a licensed private hire vehicle without valid insurance, illegally plying for hire and carrying more passengers than is lawful.
Council licensing officers investigated claims made to them that Mr Khan allowed five passengers to ride in his vehicle although he was only licensed to carry four.
During their investigation they found he was also plying for hire without a hackney carriage licence.
That offence alone means that his insurance became invalid because he's only covered to pick up passengers who have pre-booked through a licensed operator.
Mr Khan pleaded guilty to all three offences at Harrogate Magistrates Court on Tuesday 23 July, Harrogate News first reported.
As a result, he received eight penalty points, allocated for driving without insurance. He was also fined £290 and ordered to pay costs of £400 to Harrogate Borough Council along with a victim surcharge of £30.
Chairman of Harrogate Borough Council’s licensing committee, cllr Victoria Oldham, said:
"Valid insurance and adherence to the basic rules for taxi licensing are essential for keeping the public safe when they are using a licensed vehicle.
“We conduct regular inspections and investigate reports of non-compliance to ensure that drivers are adhering to the conditions of their licence. We will do all we can to ensure drivers abide by the legal requirements and that passengers are taking a safe journey. And if they don’t, we will do all that we can to ensure they are prosecuted for their actions."
The council took to Facebook to remind taxi and private hire vehicle users what to look for when requesting a ride.
They posted: 'Do you know what to look for when getting a taxi? Stay safe by making a few simple checks;
'Only hackney carriage vehicles (those with an official blue Harrogate Borough Council door sign and a roof light) can be hailed on the street or be picked up from a rank.
'Private hire vehicles (those with an official red Harrogate Borough Council door sign and no roof light) must be pre-booked before taking a journey.
'Drivers should also be wearing an official council-issued name-badge.
'We promote the highest standards of safety in all of our licensed taxis. Vehicles are subject to insurance checks and a full mechanical inspection, while licensed drivers must pass a knowledge test and regular medical and criminal record checks.
'If you have any problems, or have seen a suspicious vehicle, you can report it to email@example.com (please include as many details as you can such as registration or taxi licence number).'
Image: Source; Harrogate Borough Council