A TAXI driver who watched videos on his mobile phone while ferrying partially sighted passengers across Liverpool has been taken off the road.
Driver Nazeed Hyseni, 34, of Canon Road, Tue Brook, has had his Hackney Carriage Licence suspended for 28 days by Liverpool City Council after members of the Licensing Committee found that he had failed to ensure the safety of his passengers.
Hyseni picked up a party of four outside Lime Street Station in March of last year. Three of the party were registered blind, with one having a guide dog. The passengers, who are all in their 60s, were travelling to Old Swan.
Committee members heard that during the journey, the fully-sighted member of the party became aware that Hyseni had his mobile phone switched on and was watching videos on his lap as he drove.
The passengers claimed that when they urged Hyseni to concentrate on his driving he ignored them. When the party got out of the taxi they told Hyseni that he was not going to be given a tip because they were unhappy with his service, to which he replied: “It’s none of your business.”
One of the passengers immediately complained to the City Council’s Licensing Team.
Hyseni was asked to make a statement about the incident. He denied the allegation, claiming he was unaware that his phone was on his lap. He claimed that the passengers were rude to him.
The committee rejected Hyseni’s version of events, banning him from working as a taxi driver for 28 days.
Hyseni first appealed against the ruling to the City’s Magistrates Court. When this was rejected he appealed to the Crown Court, which again rejected his appeal.
Presiding over the appeal, Judge Brian Cummings, QC, said Hyseni should never have appealed the Committee’s decision.
Judge Cummings went on to describe Hyseni’s conduct as ‘disgraceful’, before telling him to: “wake up to his responsibilities as a taxi driver”.
The Judge also praised the passengers for their public spirit in complaining which would help protect other passengers from experiencing a similar journey.
As well as being taken off the road, Hyseni was ordered to pay the council’s full legal costs.
Welcoming the decision, Chair of Liverpool City Council’s Licensing Committee, Councillor Christine Banks said: “This was clearly a distressing ordeal for the passengers. Hyseni’s actions put their safety and the safety of other road users and pedestrians at risk. As a consequence he has lost his livelihood for 28 days and will be faced with a hefty legal bill.”
Cllr Banks added: “We take incidents such as this extremely seriously and we hope it sends the message that we will not tolerate this sort of behaviour.”