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Aldershot Magistrates Court has upheld our decision to revoke a person's Private Hire Driver and Operator Licence.
In October 2019, Licensing Officers referred the driver to our Licensing Sub-Committee as they had not complied with licensing legislation and conditions. They did not provide their Private Hire Operator records when asked by officers during the investigation of a complaint. At the hearing, after considering the matter and the individual's submissions, the Sub-Committee revoked the License.
In November 2019, we also received a complaint about the taxi driver's conduct to passengers. The complainant alleged that after the taxi journey taken with her teenage daughter, the driver called her mobile phone and asked to speak with her daughter. Our licensing officers investigated, and the driver's license was revoked with immediate effect.
The licence holder appealed both decisions, and after several delays due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the District Judge dismissed the appeal at Aldershot Magistrates on 15 October. The individual was ordered to pay £500 towards costs within one month.
Cllr James Steel, Lead Councillor of Environment says: "We are pleased with the court's decision to dismiss these two appeals. The decision to revoke a licence is never taken lightly.
"We have a duty to protect our residents, visitors and those who work in Guildford so they can be confident that their journeys with our licensed taxis will be safe.
"If you are planning to enjoy a night out, please use one of our licensed taxis from a rank or book a private hire vehicle through a licensed operator. Guildford taxis and private hire vehicles are easy to recognise, with their distinctive teal colour or door sticker, so you can be confident they are a properly licensed, safe vehicle.
"We expect all taxi drivers and operators to adhere to the high standards set by the Council and expected by the public, and most provide a great service. However if you ever have cause for concern then please contact us and officers will investigate.
"The government still suggests we wear a face covering in enclosed areas where possible. You should open windows for ventilation and sanitise your hands before and after your journey."
The taxi trade helps contribute to a safe and vibrant night out in Guildford. Since 2014, Guildford is the only town Surrey to hold a Purple Flag accreditation. The Purple Flag award is for areas with a diverse mix of dining, entertainment and culture.
Earlier this year, we updated our licensing policy to improve standards and make services more efficient. All drivers need to sign up to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to be checked every six months, all licensed taxis will be fitted with CCTV equipment and there will be improved staff training and vetting for private hire operators. This follows new rules from the Department for Transport.