Three taxi drivers given fine and penalty points for 'blagging'

A local council has successfully prosecuted three taxi drivers for offering taxi rides to customers while they were not properly insured or licensed.

The cases followed an enforcement operation carried out by Aylesbury Vale District Council in November 2018.

The three men were operating private hire vehicles licensed by the council and they accepted journeys by council officers who were acting as members of the public.

Because these journeys were not pre-booked via their operator it meant that their insurance was invalidated, as the policy only covers the vehicle for journeys that are pre-booked.

All three pleaded guilty to plying for hire (also known as blagging) and driving without motor insurance.

Two were fined and given six points on their driving licence, while a third will be sentenced at a later date.

Aylesbury Vale District Council also said that it will now consider action regarding their Private Hire/Hackney Carriage driver licences.

An elderly man speaking to a taxi driver to ask for a lift

Commenting on the case, Councillor Susan Renshell, chair of the council’s Licensing Committee, said: “Unlawfully plying for hire is a serious offence. Apart from taking legitimate work from licensed hackney carriages whose livelihood depends on picking up passengers, it impacts significantly on public safety. The effect of unlawfully plying for hire is that it invalidates the drivers’ insurance and may leave customers and third party drivers without financial redress in the event of an accident.

These drivers must take responsibility for the safety of the passengers they carry in licensed vehicles.

“Licensed drivers are in a position of trust and the public expect that they have the appropriate licences in place with adequate insurance.

“We hope this will send a clear message to the licensed trade to show the consequences that await any licensed driver who fails to comply with the law. We urge members of the public to make sure that all journeys taken in a private hire vehicle are pre-booked via the operator to ensure their own safety.”

Aylesbury Vale District Council pledged to continue enforcement operations in a bid to eradicate illegal plying for hire in the district.

Looking for taxi insurance? At The Insurance Factory, we’ll help you find a policy that suits your work and your pocket.