Edinburgh cabbies have claimed a lack of enforcement on illegal street pickups made by private hire drivers could allow more oppor- tunists to target vulnerable customers - after a recording emerged of one driver admitting he wasn’t licensed. According to the Edinburgh Evening News, the city’s taxi driver union has made fresh calls for a dedicated team - set up by the city council and enforced by police - to clamp down on private hire drivers who ply for trade. It comes after one Edinburgh taxi driver, who has worked in the city for 20 years, recorded a recent Saturday night exchange in George Street with another driver who, when questioned, agreed that Uber had not allowed him to obtain a licence. The taxi driver said that, moments before recording the exchange last month, he spotted the driver making a U-turn in the street to pick up a fare, prompting him to go over and check his licence and badge. The taxi driver said: “This is not a one-off. I have been complaining about this for three years.” The taxi driver claimed that, just before the incident, he asked two police officers passing by if they would check whether several PHVs parked in the vicinity were operating legally, but was told they had been instructed to “walk away” by a superior officer and that he should “deal with the problem himself.” And he claimed that, on another occasion a year ago outside the Dome, he was told by a police officer it was more of a priority for them to get people home quickly at the end of a night. He added: “It’s not a concern for police until someone crashes a vehicle or someone is assaulted. What’s the point in having laws?”


Hackney carriage drivers can now use the experimental A4 bus and cycle lanes in Slough. Although the scheme was introduced in July, taxi drivers had been prevented from using the trial scheme. But now Slough Borough Council has reached a voluntary agreement with local licensed hackney carriage drivers following discussions with the Taxi Federation. Taxi drivers are now permitted to use the lanes all the time as well as being able to stop and pick up fares. They must however respect the rights of cyclists and e-scooter riders who will be able to use the lanes when the council embarks on its e-scooter rental trial. Cllr James Swindlehurst, council leader, said: “We want to encour- age as many residents as possible to use alternative and active means of transport for short journeys within Slough, but we too have to be mindful of the livelihoods of our taxi drivers. “This agreement will ensure Slough’s licensed hackney carriage drivers respect the rights and safety of cyclists in Slough while allowing them access to the experimental lanes.”


A police spokesper- son said “targeted operations” over the use of unlicensed vehicles have previ- ously been carried out and that these will continue. The spokesperson insisted both police and Edinburgh City Council’s licensing department work

together to ensure those in the trade comply with their licensing conditions, adding: “The safety of residents and visitors within our communities is paramount and robust action will be taken against those who do not adhere to the conditions of their licence as well as those seeking to operate a taxi service outside the licensing system.” Chairman of the Unite Edinburgh cab branch, Scott Blair, has repeatedly called for a dedicated enforcement team in the Scottish Capital, especially at weekends, and says he has “serious concerns” about illegal pick-ups. He said: “Anyone could be driving your family home. It’s not a mat- ter of if, it’s when. It could be a physical assault, and involve people who are under the influence.” Cllr Denis Dixon, vice-convenor of the Regulatory Committee, said their officers are working with police to monitor and inspect the pri- vate hire and taxi trades with periodic spot checks carried out and complaints investigated.


Several West Yorkshire taxi drivers have been subject to false com- plaints of dangerous driving, it’s been revealed. The Telegraph and Argus reports that a recent council meeting was told an unspecified number of “malicious” claims were lodged with Wakefield Council’s licensing team this summer by passengers. Council licensing officer Christopher Burnett said that since April: “We’ve had complaints of drivers driving at dangerously high speeds . Those have been investigated by the enforcement team. “Because of the GPS system in many of these vehicles now, we’ve been able to establish that those complaints have been made mali- ciously. No further action was taken. “We also had a complaint from a passenger who felt he was kept in a taxi when he shouldn’t have been, and that was also found to be malicious.” In separate developments, the committee was also told that nine local taxi drivers had had their licences either suspended or revoked following other complaints that had come to light. Mr Burnett said a number of those cases remained ongoing and therefore further information couldn’t be provided. However, he added that five written warnings had been issued to drivers over the last six months for smoking in vehicles. Others have also been reprimanded for driving away from the scene of an accident, “poor behaviour” towards a member of the public and failing to properly display licensing plates.


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