Taxis ‘re­fused to take woman home due to short dis­tance’

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - By ROBIN JENK­INS

TAXI driv­ers re­fused to take a young woman home late at night be­cause it would have been too short a jour­ney for them, it has been claimed.

It has come from Agata Cy­bul­ska, who said on Face­book that she could not be­lieve what hap­pened to her at Chel­tenham’s Prom­e­nade taxi rank.

She com­mented on a post on Chel­tenham Guardians’ page af­ter they said they were con­cerned that she had not been able to get a taxi shortly af­ter 5am on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 7.

It said: “Due to the fact that her home was ap­prox­i­mately one mile away, the driver(s) con­cerned re­fused the fare.

“The lady in ques­tion was not ex­ces­sively in drink and was in full con­trol of her fac­ul­ties. There was no rea­son not to take her.

“Taxi driv­ers are bound by law to take a fare as long as the re­quest is rea­son­able. This was a rea­son­able re­quest.”

It added that the queue of taxis on the Prom­e­nade rank had been huge and they ap­pre­ci­ated that any driver mak­ing the short jour­ney would have to re­join the back of the queue.

But they said this could never be a rea­son for re­fusal.

Af­ter re­veal­ing that Agata told them she was scared to be on her own and did not want to walk through the town cen­tre , they took her home.

Agata said: “I hon­estly can­not thank you enough es­pe­cially the lady and gent at Chel­tenham Guardians who took me home and made sure I was safe when they saw me walk­ing alone late at night through town.

“I tried two dif­fer­ent taxi driv­ers who all re­fused to take me be­cause the jour­ney was too short and they wouldn’t make much money and would have to re­join the queue.

She said she was glad that peo­ple com­ment­ing on the page were con­cerned for her safety but she had been sur­prised at the at­ti­tude of the driv­ers.

Other peo­ple com­ment­ing on the post said they had also ex­pe­ri­enced the same kind of thing in the past.

Chel­tenham Guardians added: “We have a pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ship with many of Chel­tenham’s taxi driv­ers and in the past we have been in a po­si­tion to help each other out. We have seen taxi driv­ers go above and be­yond what is re­quired of them at our re­quest and for this we’re very grate­ful. How­ever, we would like to re­mind driv­ers that they have a duty of care to ser­vice users and safety and se­cu­rity can never be com­pro­mised.

“It is our job to en­sure pa­trons of Chel­tenham’s night time econ­omy are safe and we will hold to ac­count those who fall short of good prac­tice in this re­spect.”

The vol­un­tary or­gan­i­sa­tion said it would be tak­ing the mat­ter up with the bor­ough coun­cil, which con­trols the li­cences is­sued to driv­ers us­ing taxi ranks in the town.

The coun­cil’s li­cens­ing team leader, Louis Krog, said: “Taxi driv­ers are not al­lowed to refuse a fare if the jour­ney starts and ends within the district, ir­re­spec­tive of how short a dis­tance a fare may be. We would en­cour­age the lady to con­tact us to as­sist us in iden­ti­fy­ing the taxi to en­able us to take ac­tion.

“We ex­pect all our li­censed taxis to op­er­ate in a way that is com­pli­ant with their le­gal obli­ga­tion and lo­cal poli­cies and byelaws.”

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