Cardiff Council has successfully prosecuted a taxi driver who refused to take a fare to the Tremorfa area of Cardiff.
During a hearing at Cardiff Magistrates Court yesterday (January 15, 2013), Mohammed Nabi was found guilty of refusing to take a fare to Tremorfa on April 7, 2012. He was fined £200 and ordered to pay court costs of £525.
Under the Town and Police Clauses Act 1847, it is an offence for a Hackney Carriage driver (black and white taxi) to refuse a fare that starts and ends within the city boundary without reasonable excuse.
Mr Nabi’s defence was that he refused the fare because there had been a number of violent incidents against taxis in the Tremorfa area.
After hearing all the evidence, the Magistrates decided that it was only reasonable to refuse a fare if the circumstances of that particular fare were such that the driver could be in danger. It was not considered reasonable to refuse a fare on the off-chance that there could be a problem.
As such, the Magistrates deemed that it would be unlawful to operate a blanket ban on a whole area.
Councillor Derrick Morgan, Chair of Cardiff Council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “The council is supportive of any measures that protect the health and safety of drivers and passengers, including the installation of CCTV systems and radios in taxis and private hire vehicles. Indeed, such systems have already been approved for use by the Council’s Public Protection Committee.
“Other measures the Council has implemented to help enhance safety and protect drivers include the City Centre Ambassador scheme and taxi marshalling system, which operate in the city centre over busy weekend periods and at major events.
“However, the law is the law and the Council has a legal duty to ensure that drivers of licensed vehicles do not breach the regulations. We will therefore initiate legal proceedings against any hackney carriage driver that refuses a fare without reasonable grounds.”
Cllr Morgan added: “Drivers must weigh up their own perception of health and safety risks associated with each job. It is reasonable for drivers to refuse a fare in circumstances such as where the passenger is drunk or acting aggressively. However, it is not lawful for drivers to place a blanket ban on a particular area of the city.”