Officials in Liverpool targeted more than 2,000 drivers in 2017 in a drive to enforce taxi licensing laws.
Operations by council officers and Merseyside Police took action against a total of 2,091 drivers – the vast majority (1,895) from Liverpool, but some from Sefton (94), Knowsley (76) , Wirral (9) and Halton (4) – and also one each from South Ribble, Bolton and Wolverhampton.
Around three quarters of the cases involved privately owned car drivers parking illegally in hackney taxi ranks (1,511) – a big concern for hackney drivers – while seven private hire drivers were also warned.
A total of 485 hackney and private hire drivers were issued with written warnings for a variety of offences, and 53 were prosecuted.
And 29 drivers were penalised for illegally plying for hire and associated insurance offences, while 13 cherry picking notices were issued to hackney drivers.
Other offences included 125 vehicles with illegal tyres, and 79 cases where drivers failed to wear or display their badge.
Over the last year, the council has stepped up its enforcement action, with nine staff working in conjunction with a number of police officers spotting vehicles which aren’t complying with the law.
In December alone, 241 defect notices or suspension orders were issued on taxis, 44 drivers were issued with written cautions, 118 fixed penalty notices were issued to private vehicles parked on taxi stands and four drivers were warned for cherry picking.
Councillor Christine Banks, Chair of the Licensing Committee, said: “I don’t believe that any other city outside of London is doing as we much as we are to crackdown on drivers who flout the law. The statistics speak for themselves and our message is that we are on the side of those drivers who play by the rules. We are determined to make the playing field as level as it can be and support the taxi trade as much as we can.
“It should be remembered that most drivers follow the rules and law abiding private hire and hackney owners have nothing to worry about. There are a very small minority who breach regulations, and we are committed to taking action and in doing so, send a clear message out that it is not acceptable.
“Passengers should always ensure they only use properly licensed taxis or pre-book private hire vehicles, otherwise they are placing themselves in danger.”