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..IN THE NEWS...IN THE NEWS


DUNDEE CABBIES DRAW UP PASSENGER BLACKLIST AFTER SPATE OF FARE-DODGING INCIDENTS


Dundee taxi drivers have been forced to draw up a blacklist of violent and abusive fare dodgers amid claims the police will not take them seriously. According to The Courier, a closed social media group has been set up list- ing names, descriptions, addresses and even pictures of individuals who have refused to pay for trips. In most of the incidents, passengers simply leave the vehicle but in the worst cases, can become aggressive. A recent incident saw a taxi vandalised by a passenger and another driver assaulted by a passenger. Drivers say when incidents occur, police take days to visit them to take a statement so many drivers now no longer report the more minor incidents. Ryan Todd, a taxi fleet operator, said fare dodging is happening daily. He


said: “In an ideal world, the police would turn up and treat incidents as being important but that’s not the case. “Word can spread that passengers don’t get in trouble for refusing to pay and being abusive.” One of Mr Todd’s drivers was recently abused by two young female passen- gers, with one throwing a vodka bottle at the car and smashing the back wind- screen. He said it was three days before the police took a statement. “On that occasion, the police did trace the girl and she agreed to pay £270 to fix the window but I would have expected officers to come and see the driver that night, ” Mr Todd said. Taxi driver Jim Harris said he founded the group after hearing of an anecdotal increase in runners. He said: “I thought it would be good to have a list like this.


It’s unofficial but it is helping.” Chief Inspector Ross Fitzgerald, of Police Scotland, said: “Taxi fraud is a crime taken seriously by Police Scot- land. I would ask anyone who has experienced instances of this nature to come forward and report it to us. “Further, we encourage anyone who is unsatisfied with the service they’ve received to make a formal complaint via an online form or by calling 101.” It is understood officers are contacting Mr Todd directly to discuss his concerns. NPHTA comment: In answer to concerns that this may be an illegal practise - it is NOT illegal; once a person commits an offence, they lose their right to data protection. Furthermore in this particu- lar case, as it is a closed group without general public access - it is not “pub- licly” sharing any details.


FEBRUARY 2021


67


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