Wednesday, December 11, 2019

News: Council concerns lead to loss of licence for Rotherham taxi firm


The owner of Fast 4s taxi service has had his operating licence revoked, following a decision by Rotherham Council's Licensing Committee.

The committee made the decision to revoke Karamat Hussain's licence after investigations by the Council's licensing team found he had breached a number of licence conditions and that around 21,000 bookings were undertaken by vehicles licensed by other authorities.

Although the practice of sub-contracting is allowed the committee had concerns that the number of sub-contracted journeys, combined with his admission to other licence breaches, indicated that Mr Hussain was attempting to by-pass Rotherham Council’s stringent taxi licensing standards.

Rothbiz reported in October that, following his appearance before the Sub-Committee, Hussain pleaded guilty at Sheffield Magistrates Court to charges concerning an unlicensed silver Ford Transit being dispatched and driven by an unlicensed driver on over 600 separate occasions. A £1,300 fine was handed down after Hussain admitted that the journeys were carried out without the required licences, safeguarding checks and mechanical vehicle checks being made.


During the Sub-Committee hearing Mr Hussain also accepted breaching a number of other conditions attached to his Private Hire Operator Licence.

Tom Smith, Assistant Director of Community Safety and Street Scene at Rotherham Council, said: "Our taxi policy sets a standard that is amongst the highest in the country and the use of vehicles licensed within another district significantly undermines the work we’ve done across the borough to improve public safety. Drivers that are licensed by another authority have not undertaken the mandatory assessments to the same standard as drivers licensed by Rotherham Council and some vehicles licensed in other areas do not have taxi cameras installed.

"Mr Hussain should be fully aware of the extra measures taken by Rotherham Council to secure the safety of people using licensed vehicles in the borough and yet he has continued to use vehicles and drivers licensed by other authorities; an action which potentially exposes the travelling public to risks to their safety."

The revocation is subject to the appeals process before the Magistrates Court.

Rotherham Council regained its taxi licensing powers in 2016 following significant reforms of the service under the guidance of commissioners. Critical reports by Baroness Alexis Jay and Dame Louise Casey found significant failings at the council including poor policies and procedures with taxi licensing contributing to child sexual exploitation in Rotherham.

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