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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Hundreds of taxi driver complaints

Sexual allegations among 722 complaints last year

More than 700 complaints were made about the conduct of taxi drivers last year, resulting in written warnings and licence suspensions in some cases.

There were 722 complaints to the council about the taxi and private hire trade during 2023, up from 579 the previous year.

Leeds City Council’s annual licensing report said 35 of the complaints last year were over alleged inappropriate sexual behaviour.

Of those, 24 were in relation to conversations and comments from drivers and 11 were allegations of inappropriate sexual contact or assault.

Seven drivers were suspended following sexual complaints to the Taxi and Private Hire Licensing Service.

A council spokesperson said another four drivers were suspended after being arrested. They said: “In most of these cases no formal complaint is made to the service as the incident has not occurred whilst working as a driver.”

The licensing report said: “The largest number of complaints reported to the council in 2023 relate to driver conduct, driving standards and licence breaches which includes private hire drivers parking on hackney carriage ranks.

“In most of the cases, licensed drivers are given verbal or written warnings, a record of which is placed on their licensing file.”

Some drivers also faced immediate suspensions at the roadside when licensing officers and police carried out more than 1,600 vehicle inspections.

The report said: “Whilst most licensed taxi and private hire vehicles during these checks were found to be in good order, several were seen to fall short of requirements and 207 were immediately suspended from service for being in a dangerous condition, or licence breaches and public safety concerns.”

The report said 173 Leeds drivers were handed roadside suspensions. A further 34 of the suspensions were to drivers from neighbouring council areas who were stopped in Leeds.

The report said: “The staff at the Taxi and Private Hire Licensing service continue to work closely with the licensing committee to ensure that members of public travelling in taxi and private hire vehicles are protected.

“This last year we have improved our communication and engagement with the trade and other stakeholders through regular trade meetings and with the trade’s representatives.”

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