Private hire driver hit with fine for illegal fare
A LIVERPOOL private hire driver who picked up passengers illegally has been ordered to pay more than £1,000 in fines and court costs.
Driver Alpha Diakite took two passengers from Hanover Street in the city centre to Speke on an early morning journey in January of this year.
Liverpool Magistrates’ Court heard that the pair had approached Diakite’s parked Toyota car and asked to be taken to Speke. Diakite agreed saying that the journey would cost £30.
What Diakite didn’t realise was his two passengers were actually Merseyside Police special constables who were taking part in a joint police and Liverpool City Council operation to crackdown on private hire drivers who flaunt the rules.
The law says that private hire drivers are not allowed to pick people up off the street. All private hire journeys must be booked in advance, any that are not would not be covered by insurance.
Diakite, 33, of Deane Road, Kensington, denied the charges of plying for hire and driving without insurance. He denied picking anyone up on Hanover Street claiming that the officers must have been mistaken.
But magistrates rejected Diakite’s version of events and fined him a total of £945 with £300 costs. He also received eight penalty points on his licence.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Cllr James Noakes, said: “The city council and its partners are committed to making all forms of transport in our city as safe as possible. Plying for hire is an offence we take extremely seriously. Passengers who take a journey that has not been booked in an advance won’t be covered by insurance if there is an accident. There will also be no record of the journey making it more difficult for the council and police to trace the details should anything go wrong.”
“We conduct these undercover operations to identify the small minority of private hire drivers who do not play be the rules and as this case shows, we will take strong action against anyone we catch.”
For more information about licensing issues in Liverpool, visit the council’s website: liverpool.gov.uk and search for ‘licensing’.