A TAXI driver who picked up an illegal fare has been handed a £680 court bill.
Yasser Hussain (31), of Aldred Street, Rotherham, picked up a customer in Barnsley town centre when he was not properly licenced.
Hussain appeared at Barnsley Magistrates Court last Monday and was order to pay a £150 fine, £500 court costs and £30 victim surcharge.
The court heard he was caught following an investigation by Barnsley Council’s licensing officers.
Hussain pleaded not guilty to plying for hire without a Hackney Carriage proprietors’ licence under the Town, Police and Clauses Act 1847 but was found guilty.
The court heard how a female member of the public reported that she believed she had been picked up from the Eldon Street, Hackney Rank in Barnsley in January 2017, by Hussain, who was licenced with Sheffield City Council and worked as a private hire driver for City Taxis in Sheffield.
A council spokeswoman said: “The court was told that it struck the customer as odd that the starting price showing on the taxi meter was £2.50 and she queried this with the driver as the usual starting amount for Barnsley Licensed Hackney vehicles is £3.10.
“He said that the fares were all the same.
“As she continued to direct the driver to her destination, she also thought it was odd that he did not know where the local garage was in Pogmoor.
“She noticed that the meter increased in price far more quickly than her usual fare and ended the journey early as the fare had increased more than normal price
“When she asked the driver for a receipt, he gave her a City Taxi card and completed the card with the amount of the fare.
“As she left the taxi she noted down the driver’s and the vehicle’s licensing number plates, as well as the registration number.”
Hussain claimed the customer was mistaken and had written the registration number down incorrectly but data obtained from City Taxis showed that the driver had been given a job from Sheffield train station to Barnsley train station.
GPS information from the firm showed the driver’s route and that he had been in the vicinity of the of the Hackney Rank on Eldon Street, Barnsley at the time the customer was picked up.
Cllr Roy Miller, Barnsley Council’s’ Cabinet Spokesperson for Place, said: “If a taxi driver is picking up customers without the necessary licence from the relevant local authority to do so (in this case, Barnsley), they are committing an offence.
“It also leaves the vehicle without the correct insurance, putting the passenger at risk.
“I urge anyone stood at the Barnsley taxi rank to always check the taxi’s plates and stickers to make sure it is legal and licensed.”