Private hire driver left out of pocket after ‘blagging’

Civic Offices
Civic Offices

A private hire driver who was caught unlawfully picking up a fare off the street has been left £850 out of pocket.

Patrick Kahwa, a driver for Raffles in Milton Keynes, was caught plying for hire on 11th June last year as part of a test purchase operation by taxi licensing enforcement officers from Milton Keynes Council.

The practice – known as ‘blagging’ – is illegal and leaves potential customers at all sorts of risks – not least because it means that in the event of an accident, the vehicle is not correctly insured.

Mr Kahwa, 34, of Ramsons Avenue, Conniburrow, appeared before Milton Keynes Magistrates on Friday, and pleaded guilty to two charges - plying for hire without a licence contrary to Town and Police Clauses Act 1847 and having no insurance in contravention of Road Traffic Act 1998.

He was fined £250 for the offence of plying for hire and given six points on his licence for the insurance offence. He was also ordered to pay £600 prosecution costs to the council.

A taxi licensing spokesperson said: “Private hire drivers can only pick up pre-booked fares – they are not allowed to tout for business on the street in the same way that a Hackney Carriage driver can.

“Where cab drivers are picking up fares from the street, this immediately negates their insurance, which would be disastrous in the event of an accident.”