Cab driver fined for ‘blagging’ in Milton Keynes

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As a result of a joint enforcement operation carried out by Milton Keynes Council’s Taxi Enforcement team and Thames Valley Police in March 2017, a private hire cab driver was convicted at Milton Keynes Magistrates’ Court on Monday, of picking up passengers illegally.

Liyaqat Ali Ravjani of Coffee Hall, Milton Keynes, pleaded not guilty to illegally plying for hire (a practice known as blagging) and driving without valid motor insurance on 26 March 2017.

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Mr Ravjani argued that as he had made the booking on behalf of the customer the fare was lawful.

However, following a trial before Milton Keynes Magistrates,’ Mr Ravjani and was found guilty of plying for hire and driving without valid motor insurance. He was fined £75 for plying for hire and £225 for invalid insurance.

He was also given 6 DVLA penalty points and has to pay costs of £800, with a victim surcharge of £30.

The court heard how officers, acting as members of the public, engaged the driver on a journey which had not been pre-booked by the passenger from one location to another in Milton Keynes. At the completion of this journey officers from Milton Keynes Council and Thames Valley Police were waiting.

Investigations by council officers showed that the vehicle had not been lawfully pre-booked by the passengers for this journey. The vehicle involved was displaying door signs for Private Hire Operators Speedline and was licensed as private hire vehicle by South Northants Council.

Milton Keynes Council and Thames Valley Police have on-going concerns over the public’s use of private hire vehicles (also known as minicabs) and out of district hackney carriages that have not been booked in advance. When enforcing taxi legislation, the Council’s main priority is the safety of the travelling public and other road users.

Cllr Catriona Morris, chair of the Regulatory Committee, said: “This case will hopefully send a powerful message to the licensed trade and clearly show the consequences that await any licensed driver who fails to follow the law. We would urge members of the public not to get into private hire vehicles without a pre-arranged booking for their own safety.

“These operations by Milton Keynes Council and Thames Valley Police will continue and shall hopefully minimise, if not eliminate, those drivers carrying out illegal activities within Milton Keynes.”