Cabbies’ anger at penalty system

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Taxi drivers have hit out at a new penalty points system which could see them appear before a licensing panel if they break licence conditions.

A number of drivers are upset at the scheme, which they believe is an unnecessary threat which will hang over their heads.

The new East Northamptonshire Council scheme will start on April 1 when Hackney Carriage and private hire taxi drivers will be handed penalty points for breaches of policy.

Once a driver has built up 12 points, they will be brought before a licensing panel, who could give a verbal warning or revoke their licence.

Lyn Cooper, a taxi driver for Alco Taxis, in Rushden, said the council must have ‘lost it’ when making its decision.

She said: “Under the penalty system it says we must pick up every fare, or face penalty points. But with known drunks, or abusive people, we should have the right to refuse their fare without the threat of points hanging over our heads.

“We all work hard and stick to the rules of our licence so there is no need for this.”

Tracey Young, manager of Blue Corner Cars, said she is unhappy with the system and thinks it is an extra worry for operators to deal with.

However, Cllr Glenn Harwood, chairman of the licensing committee for the council, said: “We have an obligation to ensure the public are protected whenever using taxi and private hire vehicles.

“We are therefore pleased this scheme is being introduced as it will go some way to achieving that aim and ensuring our taxi and private hire drivers are complying with relevant legislation.”