Six private taxi drivers have been caught illegally plying for hire in a Cambridge police sting.
Following a joint investigation by the Cambridge City Council and Cambridgeshire police, they have been convicted of illegally picking up passengers around the city when they are only licensed to pick up pre-booked fares.
Although Hackney Carriages are licensed by Cambridge City Council to ply for hire within the city, private taxis may not be flagged down or pick up from city taxi ranks.
Drivers Usman Akram and Sezgin Coskun both pleaded guilty to illegally plying for hire and allowing a vehicle to be used to ply for hire. They were fined £175 and £135 respectively.
John Bisset, Steward Massie and Kajol Miah all pleaded guilty to the same offences as well as to using a vehicle uninsured against third party risks. Sad Miah also pleaded guilty of plying for hire and using an uninsured vehicle. The drivers were fined and accrued six to eight penalty points each.
Chairman of Licensing Cllr Colin Rosenstiel told Cambridge News: “The licensing team from Cambridge City Council has a commitment to ensure that the trade keeps within the law.. We will always try to educate the taxi trade and provide guidance on appropriate practices, but where this approach fails we have no alternatives but to deal firmly with breaches.”
The accusations have raised concerns for student safety, especially for first-years that may be unfamiliar with Cambridge taxi legislation. The students that were contacted by The Cambridge Student however, do not seem particularly worried about illegal plying despite warnings issued to Murray Edwards College students last year.
Suyin Ch, a first year Geography student from Churchill, said: “I generally either get one from the taxi lines or call for one so I think it’s quite safe. Regarding freshers, I don’t think it’s such a big problem if they make sure that they only get into taxis with the Hackney Carriages logo.”
The investigation took place on February 24th and 25th. Three additional cases are still pending, and the private hire driver licenses of those convicted will be reviewed.
Sofia Christensen – News Reporter