A Hertford taxi driver has been left “appalled” at the district council’s “ridiculous” decision to hand him a £70 fine for leaving his taxi in a taxi rank while he went to the toilet.
Simon Black was shocked to discover the parking ticket when he returned to his taxi - which is licensed by East Herts District Council. The 53-year-old, who has been working as a taxi driver in East Hertfordshire for 24 years and said he has “never had an issue like this before”, had gone into the Wetherspoon pub to use the toilet before purchasing a coffee on his way back to the vehicle.
He explained: “It’s a marked taxi, parked on the taxi stand - it’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Assuming the ticket had been issued in error, Simon wrote to the council immediately to explain what had happened.
However, he was amazed when the council rejected his appeal.
He continued: “You get 14 days to appeal so obviously I appealed that morning and stated what happened.
“They wrote back to me and said ‘yes you can park there to go to the toilet but not to get a coffee’. But the enforcement officer couldn’t even have known I was getting a coffee when they gave me the ticket.
"It seems that (council staff) can leave their desks for a comfort break and a drink but I cannot leave my taxi. Having served as a taxi driver for over 20 years, I am appalled at how I have been treated.
“I’ve paid the fine because I don’t want the hassle of a further appeal or tribunal, but if they do have the good sense to refund it I will donate it to a charity of the Hertfordshire Mercury’s choosing.”
Furious Simon has now accused the council of treating him and his fellow taxi drivers as “cash cows”, and labelled the episode a “farce”. “Basically the money comes out of our licence fee to uptake the taxi ranks and stands,” he said.
“These fees increase periodically but our fare rates have not been increased since 2011. We’re just not getting anything for our money apart from grief. Why don’t these enforcement officers start focusing more on ticketing the cars that they should be, the private hire cars and others who shouldn’t be using taxi ranks? They are not dealing with the real issues. A taxi parking in a rank is not an issue. It doesn’t warrant a ticket."
A spokeswoman for East Herts District Council said: “The driver challenged the Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) and has since paid which means that the matter is now closed.
“The council provided its reasons for issuing the PCN in its response to the driver.”