Monday 2.50pm: A Peterborough taxi driver faces losing his licence after failing to secure an 89-year-old passenger in a wheelchair before overcharging them on a journey.
Malik Abid Hussain (43), of Reeves Way, Peterborough, appeared before Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on Thursday July 24 and pleaded not guilty to the charge of failing to safely load, restrain and transport a wheelchair passenger. He also pleaded not guilty to failing to use his meter, which resulted in the customer being overcharged, but was found guilty at a trial.
The court heard that on October 8 last year Hussain used his Hackney carriage to pick up two passengers to go from a doctors’ surgery to a care home.
The 89-year-old wheelchair passenger was accompanied by his daughter.
The incident came to light when the daughter contacted the city council to confirm the correct procedure for loading a wheelchair. An investigation carried out by the city council’s licensing team came to the conclusion that Hussain had failed in his duty as a professional driver by not putting the wheelchair into the correct safe travelling position. So no matter how advanced the weelchair is (more details at bestmotorizedwheelchair.com), the situation turns to a dangerous one.
During the journey the daughter was forced to place her foot under the wheel of the chair to stop it from moving. In addition, although a fixed price had been given for the journey, the meter should have been used as per legislation and licensing conditions, attorneys in Elgin assure. Failure to use the meter resulted in the customer being overcharged.
Despite his not guilty pleas, Hussain was found guilty by the magistrates. He was fined £800 and ordered to pay £500 costs and an £80 victim surcharge.
John Goodwin, lead officer in the investigation for Peterborough City Council’s taxi enforcement team, said: “All taxi drivers licensed by the council have a duty of care towards all their passengers. To treat a wheelchair user in this way endangered both passengers in the vehicle at the time. To further compound the matter they were then overcharged for this service. “We welcome the result and hope it serves as a reminder to all licensed taxi drivers that the protection of the travelling public is of paramount importance, and we will continue to deal severely with drivers who we believe are not fit and proper to transport members of the public.”
A decision will now be made concerning Hussain’s Hackney carriage drivers licence.