Taxi driver slapped with £765 after illegally targeting Manchester passengers without licence

By Mancunian Matters staff

A taxi driver has been slapped with a £765 fine after being caught illegally coming into Manchester and plying for hire.

Zameer Ahmed, 28, of Margaret Street, whose hackney carriage licence was granted by Rossendale Borough Council, pleaded guilty to the offence at Manchester Magistrates Court on January 11.

Under current law, Ahmed is allowed to accept pre-booked journeys through private hire operators licensed by Manchester, despite the fact that his driving and vehicle licences were issued by Rossendale. 

Executive member for the environment, Councillor Nigel Murphy, said: “Manchester has very high safety standards and our hackney carriage drivers are subject to thorough safety checks, as well as rigorous ‘knowledge’ tests. 

“Our officers will take action against those who break the law by coming into the city to work illegally.”

Ahmed Ashton-under-Lyne, was working at the ASDA supermarket on Princess Road in Hulme when council officers spotted him accepting passengers for a journey which had not been pre-booked. 

Enquiries showed that Ahmed was working for a Manchester-based operator, but on this occasion, he accepted a fare that had not been pre-booked through that operator.

Ahmed was fined £250 and ordered to pay £500 costs, plus a £15 victim surcharge.

A loophole exists which enables hackney carriage drivers licensed in other authorities – with less stringent criteria for drivers and vehicles – to take pre-booked jobs for Manchester private hire companies.

Manchester’s private hire vehicles must be easily recognisable by their white colour, must be less than seven years old and are regularly tested to meet high standards. Manchester’s licensed drivers also have to undergo language and knowledge tests.

In Manchester, only a handful of companies use ‘out of town’ drivers. Manchester City Council’s licensing department has written to operators asking them not to do this and many operators have contacted the authority saying they won’t do so, as they believe this could drive down their standards and damage their reputations.

The Law Commission has undertaken a consultation aimed at updating the current legislation – some of which dates back to the 19th century. Along with other authorities, Manchester has responded to this by making it clear this issue needs to be addressed.

Picture courtesy of stormcab, with thanks.

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