A Wellingborough taxi driver has pleaded guilty to one offence of not using the taxi meter fitted in his Hackney Carriage.
On December 9 last year, licensing officers employed by Wellingborough Council undertook a test purchase operation in conjunction with Northamptonshire Police.
During the operation, two special police constables in plain clothes approached a taxi driven by Tariq Ali of Stanley Road, Wellingborough.
Ali undertook a journey with the two special constables in his taxi, but contrary to the byelaws, he did not activate the meter before starting the journey.
A formal investigation was undertaken by the council, and Ali pleaded guilty to one offence of failing to activate his meter at Wellingborough Magistrates Court on September 18.
He was fined £246, with costs of £250 and a victim surcharge of £30; a total of £526.
Ali will now be referred to the council’s licensing sub-committee for a decision over whether he should keep his licence.
Cllr Graham Lawman, chairman of the council’s services committee, said: “Hackney Carriage drivers are required to use the meter for all journeys within the borough and must not charge more than the metered fare.
“If a driver does not use their meter for any journey, they will not know what the metered fare would have been and could potentially overcharge customers.
“This driver had previously been given a warning about not using his meter following a complaint in 2014.
“All other test purchase journeys undertaken on the evening in December were compliant with the byelaws.
“This provides reassurance that most taxi drivers adhere to what is required of them.”
The council’s licensing policy requires a tariff of fares to be displayed in all Hackney Carriages and passengers are advised to check that the meter has been activated at the start of any journey.
Anyone who has concerns about being overcharged, or any driver not using their meter, should ask the driver for a receipt and make a note of the vehicle registration or licence plate number, and ask the driver for their badge number or note the driver’s description.
Complaints can be made to the council licensing team on 01933 231966.