A Wellingborough hackney carriage driver has been found guilty of four offences of not using the taxi-meter in his Hackney Carriage.
Shafique Miah of Alexandra Road, Wellingborough pleaded not guilty to the offences at the first hearing in September, so the case was listed for full trial at Wellingborough Magistrates Court on 27th November 2017.
The court heard how a passenger had undertaken four separate journeys from the railway station in Wellingborough to the town centre in Miah’s hackney carriage in February 2017. On each occasion Miah failed to activate the taxi meter and upon reaching the destination charged the passenger £4.00 for the journey. The passenger obtained a receipt for three of the four journeys and complained to the borough council licensing team.
An investigation was undertaken and Miah was interviewed by council officers. During this interview Miah claimed the meter was activated and that the meter showed a fare in excess of £4.00 on each journey, so he had rounded it down. However, when giving evidence in court, Miah claimed the fare was less than £4.00 each time, but that he had been given a tip by the passenger to match the sum recorded on the receipts of £4.00.
In summing up, the Magistrates commented that Miah was inconsistent when giving evidence, and that his explanation in the interview with council officers did not accord with the evidence he gave in court.
The court found Miah guilty of all four offences. He was fined £200, with full costs of £1022.50 and a victim surcharge of £30. A total of £1252.50.
Miah had previously been prosecuted for not using his meter during a journey in 2014. He will now be referred to the Licensing Sub-Committee.
Councillor Graham Lawman, Chairman of the borough council’s Services Committee said ‘The outcome of this case should send a clear message to any driver who may be considering overcharging passengers or not using their meter. Hackney carriage drivers are required to use the meter for all journeys within the Borough and must not charge more than the metered fare.
The council does not receive many complaints about drivers not using their meters or overcharging, but we do investigate all complaints made. Officers also undertake test purchases and other operations to check compliance’.
A tariff of fares must be displayed in all hackney carriages and passengers are advised to check that the meter has been activated at the start of any journey. If you believe you have been overcharged, you are advised to request a receipt from the driver, note the vehicle registration or licence number and driver description, and contact the councils licensing team on (01933) 231966.