A Bolton based private hire driver has been ordered to pay more than £3,000 after refusing to cooperate with Manchester City Council officers at Manchester Airport.
William Williams, 60, of Cemetery Road, Kearsley, refused to show his private hire badge to council officers at Manchester Airport on 16 June 2016.
Council enforcement officers were undertaking routine checks, alongside colleagues from Greater Manchester Police, to ensure no unlicensed activity was taking place. Williams was asked to produce his private hire badge to confirm he was both licensed and insured to drive his vehicle. Mr Williams refused to show his credentials to council officers, believing they had no jurisdiction as he was licensed by Bolton Council. Williams refused to discuss the matter further, though he did eventually show his documentation to a Greater Manchester Police Office.
Subsequently Mr Williams was invited to attend a formal interview with Manchester council licensing officers. Mr Williams declined to attend.
Williams appeared at Manchester Magistrates Court on Tuesday 6 February 2018. After being found guilty of obstructing an authorised officer. He was fined £400, with costs of £3,000 and a sur charge of £40.
The case is part of Manchester Council’s ongoing crack-down on the violation of both private hire and hackney carriage regulations.
Between 1 September 2016 and 21 December 2017, 52 people have been prosecuted for private hire or hackney carriage offences – with fines and awarded costs totalling £39,428 and 198 endorsements (penalty points) handed out to drivers.
17 of the 52 drivers prosecuted were licenced by authorities other than Manchester City Council but had committed offences within the city.
36 of the offences related to plying-for-hire – which is when a private hire driver picks up passengers without a booking having been made. Plying-for-hire may invalidate a drivers insurance and so puts the public at risk.
Councillor Nigel Murphy, Manchester City Council executive member for neighbourhoods, said: “This should send a warning to all rogue drivers, the rules surrounding taxi and private hire drivers apply to everyone, no matter where they are based. We will pursue all contraventions that take place within our city either directly or through their licensing authority – the consequences can be both serious and costly.”
“Manchester has seen a huge increase in drivers and vehicles from other areas working in the city over the past 12 months. These drivers and vehicles are tested and checked to different standards than those licensed in Manchester.
“Manchester licensed Hackney carriage drivers all meet our high standards – allowing them to pick passengers up directly from the streets. However the public could be putting themselves at risk by getting into a private hire vehicle without a booking – the journey will not be logged and it is reasonable to question the competency of a driver willing to break the rules. “