Five taxi drivers are being investigated for allegedly plying for hire after a safety crackdown by Salford City Council.
Council licensing officers carried out a series of inspections over the summer, supported by Greater Manchester Police, after complaints from taxi drivers about private hire cars using taxi ranks meant only for hackney carriages, members of the public parking on ranks stopping cabs using them, illegal plying for hire and non compliance with Salford City Council’s taxi licensing policy.
Of the five drivers allegedly illegally plying for hire one was licensed by Salford City Council.
Councillor David Lancaster, lead member for environment and community safety, said: “We stopped and spoke to 82 drivers as part of this operation and the majority were complying with all the conditions required as part of their licence. That’s very reassuring.
“Some were not and action was taken against them, varying from advice to stopping them working that night or issuing them with internal penalty points.
“Private hire vehicles and hackney carriages are an important public service so we make no apology for demanding the highest standards of drivers and vehicles operating in the city.
“It’s also about reminding people that while you can flag down a hackney cab in the street, you must book your private hire taxi through the company’s head office. If you don’t, then the car’s insurance is not valid. If you are injured or involved in a crash in an uninsured car then you have no claim against them for any loss or damages. It’s that simple.”
Councillor Roger Jones, executive support member for transport, urged people – particularly students new to Salford or visitors – to make planning their journey home part of planning their night out.
“If you can’t use public transport, always pre-book a taxi or private hire, arrange to be collected at a landmark you know at an agreed time and make sure you know or have details of your home address on you,” he said.
The inspections focused on Monton Road, the road outside the Lowry and Chapel Street with mobile patrols touring the city. Licensing officers checked that drivers and vehicles had all the correct signs and identity badges, that vehicles were carrying fire extinguishers and complying with the licensing policy while police cleared the taxi ranks of cars that should not have been there.
As a result:
Five full criminal investigations have been launched for alleged illegally plying for hire
Two drivers were given fixed penalty notices for smoking in vehicles
Two drivers were stopped from working for not having operator’s stickers or wearing an ID badge
One driver was stopped for non working sidelights
One driver’s plates were removed for being out of date and not wearing his ID badge
One driver was instructed to appear before the council’s licensing panel after clocking up 17 internal penalty points for non compliance.
In total 41 internal penalty points were issued. Internal penalty points are used by Salford City Council as part of its taxi licensing policy and are issued for non compliance with aspects of the policy.
Salford City Council licences 880 private hire vehicles and 1038 private hire drivers and 103 hackney cabs and 137 cab drivers