Reminder around taxi licensing issued after driver prosecuted

9 October 2017

Licensing bosses at South Cambridgeshire District Council are reminding taxi drivers to ensure their licences are up to date, after a driver was prosecuted when his paperwork expired.

Thomas James Carter-Pettit, from Ickleton Road in Duxford, appeared before Cambridge Magistrates’ Court last Thursday (5 October) when he pleaded guilty to operating without the appropriate licence.

The 29 year old’s offence came to light when a Council Enforcement Officer was investigating an unrelated complaint, and his name was mentioned.

Upon checking his details on the Council system, it emerged that Carter-Pettit had been operating as a private hire driver for more than a month after his licence had run out.

On most days during that time, he had fares totalling more than £100.

The court imposed a fine and victim surcharge, and awarded costs to the Council of £310.

Council bosses say they had no choice but to prosecute Carter-Pettit as he did not attend interviews with Officers that were arranged to discuss his situation when details of his offence emerged.

The private hire operator that he worked for has been issued with a written warning for not checking the driver was correctly licensed before giving him work.

However, they were not prosecuted because they co-operated fully throughout the investigation, and have now updated their systems to ensure the situation can’t be repeated in future.

The case has prompted the Council to remind taxi drivers that it is their responsibility to make sure their licences are current and valid.

Cllr Mark Howell, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “Licensing checks are important and are in place for a reason.

“They help to keep our residents safe by ensuring that anyone wishing to start or continue working as a taxi driver has been properly vetted.

“This case highlights that our Officers are always looking for drivers who are not following these rules.

“In this instance, we were left with no option but to follow a route of prosecution due to Carter-Pettit’s refusal to work with us in advance of court proceedings.”

The below tips surrounding taxi licensing have been issued by South Cambridgeshire District Council as a reminder:

How to tell if your taxi is licensed:

  • There are two types of taxi: a hackney carriage that can be flagged down in the street or pre-booked, and a private hire which can only be pre-booked through a licensed private hire operator.
  • All vehicles licensed by South Cambridgeshire have a plate fixed to the rear of the vehicle, which displays a unique licence number; White plates for hackney carriages and Yellow for private hire vehicles.
  • Drivers must wear or display their Driver ID Badge which details their name, licence number and expiry date of their council issued driver licence.

 General taxi tips for passengers:

Private Hire vehicle:

  • Book with a licensed operator (check the public registers on our website).
  • Ask if there’s a call back service.
  • Confirm your booking with the driver when s/he arrives. Note the licence number on the council plate on the rear of the vehicle.
  • Always sit in the back behind the driver.
  • Let your friends know when you are going home.

Hackney Carriage vehicle:

  • Fares are calculated using a meter. If the journey is outside the South Cambridgeshire area the driver is not obliged to use the meter, so negotiate the fare with the driver before you start your journey.
  • Will have a “TAXI” roof sign on top of the vehicle.