Private hire drivers face losing licence after being caught in Northampton picking up random passengers

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Sixteen private hire drivers were caught picking up random passengers rather than pre-bookings during a crackdown in Northampton town centre.

Northampton Borough Council and Northamptonshire Police Safer Roads Team have been working together to carry out successful enforcements activities to improve community safety in the town centre.

Checks were carried out over two weekends in September, between 8pm and 2am, to ensure drivers were licenced for private hire and to prevent members of the public from ‘flagging’ vehicles not covered for that purpose – that means, stopping private hire vehicles and getting in to them when they have not been pre-booked.

As a result of the operation, 16 private hire drivers were stopped and reported for offences of illegally plying for hire and having invalid insurance.

The drivers, whose actions were in breach of taxi law and borough council licensing conditions, now face further action from the licensing department which may include suspending or revoking their licences.

Cabinet member for Community Safety, Councillor Mike Hallam, said: “Participating in regular enforcement activities helps to monitor taxi and private hire car drivers and we hope that the resulting enforcement actions will encourage others to work within the regulations, set out to protect public safety.

“We would like to remind Northampton residents of the importance of booking private hire journeys ahead of time and that drivers cannot pick up fares from the street without a booking. If people haven’t booked a car in advance, there plenty of black cabs available for flagging or at ranks in the town centre.”