Taxi driver fined for telling a student to walk home

By Julia Atherley

A taxi driver in Durham city centre has been ordered to pay a fine after the incident in October 2017.

The taxi driver, named as Ashfaq Ahmed, was waiting at the Prince Bishops taxi rank when the student approached the car and asked to be taken to Chapel Heights accommodation. Ahmed then told the student "it's up the street, just walk.”

Magistrates at Newton Aycliffe ordered Ahmed to pay a £50 fine, £292.12 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

In a separate case, taxi driver Stephen Raymond Williams was fined £340 for charging more than double the required fare.

Hannah Smith, a third-year psychology student said "I think it's really important that the council clamp down on this issue as having a reliable taxi service is important in keeping students safe.

"If we come to not trust the taxis it's likely that more students might put themselves in situations where they are at risk.

"The more these types of things happen the more students will turn to apps such as Uber which we tend to see as more trustworthy." Palatinate reported on Uber's launch in Durham last year.

Owen Cleugh, the council’s consumer protection manager, said "The aim of taxi licensing is to protect the public. In both of these cases, drivers broke these rules – either by refusing a fare or overcharging.

"Neither of these situations is acceptable. It is important that people know they can rely on taxis working in our county and we will do all we can to ensure this is the case."

Image: The Velvet Foxes via Flickr

One Response

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  1. Liv Cannon
    Apr 08, 2018 - 08:43 PM

    Glad to see action is being taken against this kind of behaviour. This exact same thing happened to me when I was at Durham back in 2015. Same taxi rank, except I was going up to Hild Bede. I have a spinal cord disability that causes neurological weakness in my legs which makes climbing hills a difficult, painful, and time-consuming activity.

    The first taxi driver at the rank refused to drive me, saying it was too close. I then explained my private medical reason for needing to be driven, he shrugged, and told me to try the next driver. I got inside the next car down before telling the driver my destination. When this next driver asked where I was going he also tried to tell me to walk, but I refused. He spent the rest of the ride mumbling to himself and ignored me when I thanked and tipped him (generously) at the end of the ride.

    I took the license plate number of the first car, and took a photo of the driver ID in the second car. I reported this to the number listed on the driver’s ID, leaving a message. I never heard anything back.

    Reply

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