Fare warning after taxi driver fined

Taxi users have been warned to be scrupulous about the vehicles they use after a driver was fined for picking up a customer illegally.

Taxi users have been warned to be scrupulous about the vehicles they use after a driver was fined for picking up a customer illegally.

Passengers should not attempt to flag down a licensed private hire car unless it has been booked in advance - otherwise the driver will not be insured for the journey.

A taxi driver in Norwich was caught after he agreed to take a fare from a council enforcement officer who had approached his vehicle and asked for a lift.

Mark Bolton, 32, who was working for a local taxi firm, was fined £200.


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A trial at Norwich Crown Court heard Mr Bolton, of Rosetta Road, Spixworth, was parked on Prince of Wales Road on August 31 when he was approached by the council worker carrying out routine inspections of licensed premises and vehicles.

When asked if he was booked, he replied "Where do you want to go?", and when the officer suggested a destination Mr Bolton replied "Yeah, jump in mate."

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Under licensing regula-tions, only Hackney Carriages (black cabs) can be hailed in the street, private hire vehicles need to be pre-booked through the registered private hire office. If they are not pre-booked they are not insured to carry passengers.

Mr Bolton denied the offence and was unrepre-sented in court on Friday.

From a statement by the council officer, the magis-trates heard Mr Bolton believed he could take a passenger if he "called through" and booked it. He disputed the evidence from the council officer, who had made notes of the conversation at the time.

He will now have to appear before the council's regulatory committee in February to determine the continuation of his licence.

A council spokeman said: "Norwich City Council's licensing and enforcement teams have an important role to play in ensuring both private hire and Hackney Carriage drivers are operating in a bona fide way to ensure the public are protected.

"The teams regularly carry out inspections to ensure drivers are meeting legislation requirements and to stamp out bogus drivers.

"This case shows that if you do break the rules and you are caught the courts will take it seriously and you could even risk losing your licence and livelihood."

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