Wellingborough taxi driver prosecuted for not using his meter

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File picture

A Wellingborough taxi driver has been prosecuted after overcharging a customer.

Seydi Vakas Colak was ordered to pay £845 after being found guilty of not using the meter in his cab, resulting in his passenger being charged too much.

It is essential that the public can trust a taxi driver

Amanda Wilcox

The action also invalidated his vehicle insurance.

Wellingborough Council’s licensing team received a complaint in October last year that Mr Colak, a licensed hackney carriage driver, had taken a passenger from the rank in Orient Way to an address in the town without turning on the meter in his cab.

At the end of the short journey, Mr Colak told his passenger the fare was £3.50.

As this was more than they usually paid, the passenger asked for a receipt and then contacted the council.

An investigation by licensing officers showed that because the meter wasn’t used, the fare charged was in excess of the maximum allowed under the set tariff prescribed by the council.

It was determined that not using the meter was contrary to the byelaws for hackney carriages and also meant the vehicle insurance was not valid.

A prosecution was taken against Mr Colak for one offence under the byelaws for not using the meter fitted in his car, and one offence under the Road Traffic Act for driving with invalidated insurance.

The case was first heard at Northampton Magistrates Court in April, where the Mr Colak pleaded not guilty.

The case was then listed for full trial at Kettering Magistrates Court and was heard last week.

After evidence from Mr Colak and council witnesses during the trial, Mr Colak was found guilty of both offences.

He was fined a total of £450, a victim surcharge of £45, and given eight points on his driving licence.

The court also awarded costs of £350 to the council.

Amanda Wilcox, licensing manager at Wellingborough Council, said: “This may seem like a small amount, but not using the meter and overcharging are serious offences no matter how much money is involved.

“It is essential that the public can trust a taxi driver.

“This case involved a driver clearly not complying with the conditions attached to his licence.

“It was only possible to take the case to court because the witness was prepared to give evidence.

“We’d advise anyone travelling by hackney carriage to ensure the driver sets the meter running at the start of the journey and if they believe they have been overcharged they should request a receipt from the driver.

“People should also make a note of the driver and vehicle details and contact the council’s licensing team on 01933 231 966.”

Mr Colak will now be referred to the council’s licensing sub-committee.