A private hire driver who was operating illegally in Mid Sussex has been prosecuted.
Naser Bajwa, from Wimbledon in London, accepted customers in his private hire vehicle who had not made an advanced booking and carried passengers without insurance, Mid Sussex District Council said.
Mid Sussex District Council takes passenger safety very seriously.Councillor Norman Webster
He pleaded guilty to both offences at Crawley Magistrates Court on June 19,
The district council’s licensing team received a complaint that on December 25, Mr Bajwa accepted passengers who had not pre-booked.
An investigation revealed he had been parked outside bars in Church Road, Burgess Hill, when he was approached by two women who got into his vehicle before driving off. They had not pre-booked.
As a private hire driver licensed by Transport for London (TFL), Mr Bajwa can only take passengers that are pre-booked through his private hire operator otherwise he is plying for hire and his vehicle insurance is not valid for that trip.
Every taxi and private hire vehicle must clearly display its licensing information so residents can check to make sure it is fully licensed by the district council.
Councillor Norman Webster, cabinet member for community, said: “Mid Sussex District Council takes passenger safety very seriously. The laws and licensing standards that we enforce are in place to ensure that passengers are safe.
“People should be aware that if they use private hire vehicles without booking in advance then the vehicle will not be insured if an accident occurs and the drivers concerned risk prosecution.”
Mr Bajwa was fined £733, ordered to pay a £44 victim surcharge and was instructed to cover the council’s costs of £939.34. He also received six penalty points on his licence.
Residents who suspect something is wrong can contact the council’s licensing team on 01444 477344.