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Mystery shoppers to crackdown on Bournemouth taxi drivers
MYSTERY shoppers will be deployed by Bournemouth council to crackdown on private hire vehicles and taxi drivers who are not following the rules.
Chairman of the licensing board, Councillor Andrew Morgan also announced plans to shut the taxi rank at Horseshoe Common at the licensing meeting.
An alternative site has been suggested around 500m away in the Lansdowne area and Bournemouth council is aiming for the new rank to be ready for May 2014. John Tye, Chairman of Bournemouth Taxi Drivers’ Association said the move would leave passengers in a “vulnerable” position at night.
He said: “There will be a huge number of drunken young women staggering up the hill in high heels and men fuelled with testosterone after a night out. We think this will create a flashpoint for trouble and I would love to be proved wrong.”
The licensing board unanimously voted in favour of working alongside the taxi trade to increase enforcement of private hire vehicles and taxi drivers from Poole and Christchurch.
Councillor Morgan said: “We are 100 per cent in favour of working alongside the trade to ensure there is greater enforcement of private hire vehicles, as they are not allowed to pick up from the street.
“Bournemouth taxi drivers are also concerned that drivers from Christchurch and Poole are stealing their businesses and they are not insured to pick up in Bournemouth.”
Bournemouth council and the Taxi Drivers Association plan to work together to introduce mystery shoppers who will try and hail private hire and uninsured vehicles from the street.
The Licensing Office received a total of 115 complaints and enquiries in relation to public carriages from 2012 to 2013.
Of these, 18 were complaints from passengers and 26 were about standards of driving from other road users.
Dorset Police referred eight incidents involving licensed drivers and five of these required immediate enforcement action.
During that period eight drivers were successfully prosecuted, three drivers’ licences were revoked and 22 drivers’ licences were suspended.
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