PuB­liC wArn­ing from cAb­bies

Safety risk over pri­vate hire driv­ers tout­ing for fares

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News - By Joel Lamy joel.lamy@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @PTJoelLamy

Peter­bor­ough cab­bies are warn­ing that the pub­lic’s safety is at risk from a rise in pri­vate hire driv­ers try­ing to take pas­sen­gers with­out a book­ing. The Peter­bor­ough Hack­ney Driv­ers says no ac­tion is be­ing taken de­spite the city cen­tre be­ing awash with pri­vate hire driv­ers in the early hours of the week­end.

Pas­sen­gers in taxis are in­sured if there is an ac­ci­dent, but those who pay to travel in a pri­vate hire car with­out pre­book­ing­maynot­be­pro­tected.

Am­ran Ma­sood, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Peter­bor­ough Hack­ney Driv­ers, said somepri­vate­hiredrivers­from Peter­bor­ough and­manyfrom a nearby area are at fault, al- though hes­tressed hewas­not blam­ing any com­pany.

He said: “This has been a prob­lem for so many years buthas­in­creasedinthe­last 18 months or more. The coun­cil used to come out but does not seem both­ered now.

“The­p­o­lice­turn­ablind­eye to it. Now the driv­ers are fear­less. There’s about 50 to 60 of the­mev­ery­week­end­morn­ing.

“We­would­likethep­ub­lic’s sup­port with this be­cause we are there for their ser­vice.”

Peter Gell, head of reg­u­la­to­ry­ser­vices­forPeter­bor­ough City Coun­cil, said there has not been a re­cent rise in the num­ber of calls from mem­bers of the pub­lic about pri­vate hire driv­ers pick­ing up fares with­out a book­ing.

He added: “We take these calls and com­plaints very se­ri­ously and carry out reg­u­lar test pur­chase op­er­a­tions with the po­lice to en­sure that driv­ers are op­er­at­ing within the law and only trans­port­ing those cus­tomers who have made a book­ing.

“Thep­ub­lic’s safety is paramoun­tandI’dlike­tostress­the dan­gers of get­ting into a pri­vate hire car when a book­ing has not been made.

“The driver’s in­sur­ance may be in­val­i­dated and there is no record of who picked them up and from where.”

A Cam­bridgeshire po­lice spokes­woman said: “Our lo­cal teamis aware of a prob­lem with pri­vate hire taxis tout­ing for busi­ness and as such of­fi­cers are given clear instruction to pre­vent and de­ter this by mov­ing any pri­vate hires parked around the city cen­tre, un­less they can­provethey have a named pick up.

“There is clear di­rec­tion for both PCs and PCSOs to deal with this is­sue by tak­ing de­tails and re­port­ing them through to the Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil li­cens­ing team.”

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