Passengers booking PHVs in Wakefield could soon be asked to disclose where they live, even if they’re not travelling to or from their home address.
Private hire firms are set to request the details from every customer under proposed new rules.
Wakefield Council, who are looking to implement the change as part of a review of its taxi policies, say the move is in the interests of safeguarding.
It will help them get in touch with passengers in the event of any incident that needs following up afterwards.
However, both the council and operators have accepted they are powerless to stop people giving false names and addresses, as passengers are under no obligation to comply.
The idea was discussed at the council’s licensing committee on Wednesday 28 July.
Representing one of the district’s taxi driver unions, licensing consultant Dave Wilson told the meeting he thought asking for customers’ addresses was “not unreasonable”.
But he cautioned: “The main issue is whether people will honestly tell you.
“I think there may well be a number of Mickey Mouses and Donald Ducks. And where do they live? Disneyland, presumably!
The council is also planning to introduce DBS checks for taxi office staff.
However, Mr Wilson expressed opposition to that idea, saying that forcing existing employees to undergo the checks may be “difficult” under employment law.
He said that firms could be forced to sack staff who refused to have the requirement written into a new contract, leaving them open to unfair dismissal claims.
He told the meeting: “I’m not suggesting that operators are opposed to the DBS checks.
“But if you’ve been employed by an operator for 15 or 20 years, you’ve had no trouble and they trust you implicitly, there’s a risk some people might take great offence.”
However, councillors voted in favour of the idea being included in the proposed new policy, which will eventually go out to public consultation before it’s put into practice.
Labour’s Cllr Clive Tennant said: “I can understand where Mr Wilson is coming from. They might be a first-class employee.
“But the only person who doesn’t want a DBS check is someone who’s got something to hide. That’s my opinion.”
Vale of White Horse District Council has successfully prosecuted a taxi driver from Oxford after he admitted driving a taxi when not licensed to do so, and failing to report damage to a licensed vehicle to the council.
Husaam Hussain, 27, pleaded guilty to the two charges at Oxford Magistrates’ Court at a hearing on 2 July.
The court heard that on 30 October 2020 Mr Hussain’s hackney carriage and private hire driver licence issued by Vale of White Horse district Council had expired. He had not yet been issued with a new licence as his application was incomplete, but continued to work driving his taxi and was involved in a road traffic collision involving another vehicle, near Shipton-under-Wychwood on 6 November.
Thankfully there were no reported injuries as a result of the collision.
The court also heard that when interviewed by the police in connection with this collision, he advised the police that he had notified the council’s licensing team, but when interviewed by the council as to why he hadn’t reported damage to his vehicle, he replied that he wasn’t aware that he had to.
The court heard that Mr Hussain had submitted his renewal application only a couple of weeks before the collision, in which he signed a declaration to confirm that he understood the council’s licensing policy and that he wasn’t entitled to drive any licensed vehicles until he had been issued with a new licence and badge.
In mitigation, Mr Hussain told the court that he had told the police officer that he had reported the collision to the council because he thought that he would get into even more trouble with the police, and he lied in a moment of panic.
He said that this was his first collision and he wasn’t aware of the 72-hour notification period for reporting a collision to the council.
He advised the court that he had reported the incident to his company. He had never been in trouble before and apologised for his actions.
In sentencing, magistrates took into account Mr Hussain’s early guilty plea and his limited means and imposed a £200 fine (£100 fine for each offence). They ordered him to pay £226 towards prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £34.
Councillor Helen Pighills, Vale of White Horse cabinet member for healthy communities, said: “As they are responsible for the safety of every person they convey in their vehicles, taxi drivers are legally required to have the correct licences before they start work.
“The fact that in this case the driver did not have a licence and subsequently was involved in a collision made the situation worse. It was very fortunate that nobody was injured.”
A Blackpool cabbie has had their licence suspended after being caught smoking in their taxi.
According to LancsLive, the driver, who has not been named, was spotted lighting up on June 10 this year by a town hall licensing officer.
Members of the council’s public protection sub-committee heard it was the third time the cabbie had been seen smoking in their hackney cab and previous warnings had gone unheeded.
The previous transgressions had been in September 2019 when a fixed penalty notice was issued, and July 2020 when a verbal warning was given.
But following the latest incident, the driver (referred to as J.S.) was hauled before the sub-committee which ruled their licence should be suspended for four weeks.
Council minutes from the meeting, setting out the decision, say: “Despite the previous interventions by the licensing service this had not deterred J.S. from continuing to smoke in their vehicle”.
The driver had “expressed their regret and acknowledged that such actions were unacceptable” and told councillors: “they did not smoke in front of customers”.
The smoking incidents had been their only indiscretion in more than 30 years of driving.
But the sub-committee “expressed concerns over the number of occasions J.S. had been caught smoking in their licensed vehicle and noted that previous warnings from the licensing service had not been heeded.
“Whilst the remorse of the driver was noted, members considered the behaviour fell well below the standards expected of a licensed driver and therefore agreed to impose a four week suspension.”
Serial burglar, Craig Chance, ransacked a vast number of homes during a campaign of break-ins across the city.
Derby Crown Court heard how Chance would catch a taxi to a specific area he chose to target and asked it to wait while he forced entry into people's properties.
The 45-year-old father would then jump in the same cab home with his booty of cash and jewellery after leaving his victim's homes strewn with the contents from drawers he had emptied.
The determined criminal's method of entry was by kicking in door panels then looting the homes.
And in victim impact statements read to the court, those whose houses he targeted told of the emotional and financial torment his spate of offending had left them in.
Jailing Chance for four years and five months, Recorder Stuart Sprawson said: "This was a campaign of burglaries carried out by you for your own gain.
"You are entirely responsible for affecting many, many, families and many, many, people.
"The impact of these offences has been outlined to me in victim impact statement after victim impact statement.
"They talk about the violation of their homes with some saying they feel like prisoners in their own properties.
"In each and every case you adopted the same method of entry, forcing a back door and then once inside undertaking what has best been described as a search and on other occasions ransacking.
"You purposefully went through people's belongings for what you could find for yourself.
"And there is undisputed evidence that you would hire a taxi to bring you to a particular area, it would park and when you had done what you had done, take you back again."
Sarah Slater, prosecuting, said the offence began with two house burglaries on the same day in Southall, West London, in October 2019.
She said exactly a year to the day from those break-ins, between October and December 2020, Chance began targeting homes in Derby.
Miss Slater said items taken included thousands of pounds in cash, jewellery and electronic items, none of the stolen items from any of the break-ins have been recovered.
Chance, from Nottingham, was snared after leaving his DNA at the scene of some of the crimes.
Detectives then linked him to the others through his identical method of entry.
He pleaded guilty to 12 burglaries and one count of attempted burglary.
He has previous convictions for the same crimes dating back to the 1990s.
A dispute over a £4 taxi fare ended up costing a man £200.
This is Lancashire reports that Blackburn Magistrates heard Ronald Straker punched a screen separating driver from passenger and caused it to smash.
Straker, 60, from Blackburn, pleaded guilty to criminal damage to a screen belonging to Mazhar Ali. He was fined £40 and ordered to pay £160 compensation.
Robin Lynch, prosecuting, said Straker was picked up by the taxi at 3.45pm.
"During the course of the journey he became agitated over the fare being charged," said Mr Lynch. "He punched the screen separating driver from passenger causing it to smash. He was taken back to the taxi office and the police called."
Zabair Afzal, defending, said his client had given the taxi driver £4 but he wanted £8.
"He felt he was being over charged," said Mr Afzal. "He accepts he lost his temper and punched the screen in a moment of frustration."