Crackdown on private hire drivers breaking the rules

Private hire drivers are being warned they could face a fine or prosecution if they pick up passengers who haven’t pre-booked the fare.

In the run up to Christmas undercover operations are being carried out by city council licensing officers and Merseyside Police to identify any private hire drivers who are picking up fares which are not pre-booked.

On a night operation last week (named Operation Inman), five private hire drivers were found to be plying for hire, another was found waiting in a hackney rank and two had no plates affixed to their vehicle.

The drivers will now go to court and may face prosecution, which could result in six to eight points on their driving licence and a heavy fine.

Councillor Christine Banks, Chair of the Licensing Committee, said: “We want to make sure that our taxi industry is fair, and we are determined to crack down on those private hire drivers who are flouting the rules and taking work from hackney cabs.

“The run up to Christmas is an incredibly busy time for drivers and unfortunately there is a very small minority who breach regulations to make extra money – we are committed to taking action and in doing so, send a clear message out that will stop this activity being commonplace over the next few weeks.”

During the operation, undercover officers approached an additional 60 private hire drivers – all of whom refused to accept the fare.