In the UK, there are two types of taxi: Private Hire and Hackney Carriages. Hackney drivers can pick up fares by being flagged down in the street or approached at taxi ranks. However, it is illegal for Private Hire drivers to pick up passengers from the street or from a taxi rank. Private Hire fares must be pre-booked, either via an operator or an automated app such as Uber. For a Private Hire driver accepting fare without firstly being booked can result in serious consequences for the driver.
The local Council often employee under cover test-purchase officers to catch out Private Hire drivers who are Plying for Hire. If a driver is suspected of Plying for Hire they are likely to be interviewed under caution. Plying for Hire is a criminal offence and the consequences can be disastrous for a driver.
What are the penalties?
Local authorities treat cases of Plying for Hire seriously. Cases are dealt with by the Magistrates’ Court, who will decide if your actions amount to an offence.
Should this be the case, you can be dealt with as follows:-
- You may be fined (to a maximum of £2,500);
- You may have to pay the costs of bringing the case;
- You could be disqualified from driving;
- At the point at which the offence is said to have been committed, your vehicle insurance is invalidated. You will therefore be penalised for this in addition to the Plying for Hire offence. This can mean six to eight penalty points, or a period of disqualification;
- Problems in renewing your licence can occur. In Leeds, for example, you will usually need to wait for a year before you are able to make a fresh application for a licence.
How can you help me?
As experts in this area, we can review your case and objectively advise whether it is amounts to Plying for Hire.
We can help you to explain your situation by preparing written arguments to the local authority and we can attend any interview under caution to advise you on the law and procedure.
If you are charged with the offence we will represent you at court. If your licence is in jeopardy, this can have a dramatic effect upon your livelihood, and we understand this entirely. We can argue against a disqualification even if you have more than 11 points on your licence.
In the event that the case is proven, or a guilty plea is entered, we will advise you as to the likely penalty.
We will endeavour to ensure that any punishment imposed is minimal.
Advice on appeals is also available
We can advise you as to the merits of an appeal against a revocation or refusal of a taxi licence. Our service is comprehensive, prompt and cost effective.
To speak to us in relation to a taxi licensing matter, please call 0113 284 5000 today.