Public warning from cabbies
Peterborough cabbies are warning that the public's safety is at risk from a rise in private hire drivers trying to take passengers without a booking.
The Peterborough Hackney Drivers says no action is being taken despite the city centre being awash with private hire drivers in the early hours of the weekend.
Passengers in taxis are insured if there is an accident, but those who pay to travel in a private hire car without pre-booking may not be protected.
Amran Masood, a representative for the Peterborough Hackney Drivers, said some private hire drivers from Peterborough and many from a nearby area are at fault, although he stressed he was not blaming any company.
He said: “This has been a problem for so many years but has increased in the last 18 months or more. The council used to come out but does not seem bothered now.
“The police turn a blind eye to it. Now the drivers are fearless. There’s about 50 to 60 of them every weekend morning.
“We would like the public’s support with this because we are there for their service.”
Peter Gell, head of regulatory services for Peterborough City Council, said there has not been a recent rise in the number of calls from members of the public about private hire drivers picking up fares without a booking.
He added: “We take these calls and complaints very seriously and carry out regular test purchase operations with the police to ensure that drivers are operating within the law and only transporting those customers who have made a booking.
“The public’s safety is paramount and I’d like to stress the dangers of getting into a private hire car when a booking has not been made.
“The driver’s insurance may be invalidated and there is no record of who picked them up and from where.”
A Cambridgeshire police spokeswoman said: “Our local team is aware of a problem with private hire taxis touting for business and as such officers are given clear instruction to prevent and deter this by moving any private hires parked around the city centre, unless they can prove they have a named pick up.
“There is clear direction for both PCs and PCSOs to deal with this issue by taking details and reporting them through to the Peterborough City Council licensing team.”