Taxi driver fined for illegally operating in Henley on Thames
A taxi driver is counting the cost of unlawfully plying for trade during the Henley Regatta.
Umar Ali, 36 of Manchester Road, Reading, must pay almost £1,000 and had six points added to his DVLA licence after not having the right licence and insurance and not wearing his private hire driver’s badge on July 1 last year (2023).
Appearing at a hearing at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on January 12, magistrates were told that Mr Ali was a licensed private hire driver with Reading Borough Council, but he was not licensed by South Oxfordshire District Council and not permitted to ply for hire within the district.
Mr Ali’s car insurance policy excluded public hire and when stopped by South Oxfordshire licensing officers he was not wearing his private hire badge, despite maintaining that he had just dropped off a fare and agreeing to take the undercover officer to Reading.
In mitigation, the court heard that Mr Ali was of previous good character and that if he lost his taxi driver’s licence with Reading Borough Council due to the prosecution/conviction, he would need to find alternative employment.
The court took into account Mr Ali’s early guilty plea and that he showed remorse.
As a result, Mr Ali was ordered to pay a total fine of £420, £168 victim surcharge and £400 costs and had six points added to his driving licence.
Cllr David Rouane, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said “Unlawfully plying for hire undermines public safety as we are not able to check that the driver and vehicle are safe and suitable to transport passengers. It puts other motorists at risk because without valid insurance, damage or injury to other road users would not be covered. It also takes business away from our licensed drivers who do follow the rules. Our officers work tirelessly to stop unlicenced taxis from operating in our district and if we find anyone breaking the rules, we will not hesitate to take the necessary action against them.”
Notes for editors
Breakdown of fines and costs for Mr Umair Ali
£200 was imposed for the unlawful plying for hire
£100 fine was imposed for not wearing the driver’s badge.
£120 was imposed for having no insurance
6 points were imposed on his DVLA licence.
£168 victim surcharge
£400 towards prosecution costs