Agenda item

Review of a Hackney Carriage Driver's Licence


 Mr Samir Jamshidi - HCD076


Review of Hackney Carriage Driver’s licence


The Chair explained to the applicant how consideration of his application would proceed.


Officer introduction


The Licensing Team Leader explained that the applicant’s hackney carriage driver’s licence is due for renewal in January 2021, but CBC received a complaint on 9th January 2020, the nature of which is outlined in the background papers of the officer’s report.  Officers felt that this was serious enough to warrant a review.  Options are set out at 1.4.1-1.4.4 in the officer report.  Members were reminded that the decision as to whether the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold a hackney carriage drivers licence is based on the civil standard of proof, i.e on the balance of probabilities.


In response to Members’ questions, the Licensing Team Leader confirmed:

-           the first image in the background papers accompanying the officer’s report shows the depth gauge, which the applicant says he did not see, above the windscreen, and was the best picture available on the night;

-           two of the photos were taken on the night of the incident, the other two the morning after.


Applicant’s address


The applicant stated that the job, to pick up a customer from The Merryfellow on School Road in Charlton Kings, was booked for 10.30pm. He stated that it was raining.  After the pick-up, he tried to go a short-cut route and, arriving at the river, didn’t see the warning sign or think the water looked dangerous.  He has been using the road for 10 years, and had no problems before, and the customer did not complain about him using this shortcut route.  He has never noticed the sign not allowing cars down this road, other than for access, before.


In response to Members’ questions, the applicant confirmed that:

-           he has been driving from 2008, and has had a hackney carriage driver’s licence from October 2010;

-           he has had no other similar incidents or lapses of concentration;

-           he has driven the route regularly, both day and night, and not noticed the no entry sign before; most drivers take this shortcut to avoid traffic;

-           he did not drive down School Road to pick up the customer; he came from a previous job in Cirencester Road;

-           he knows the route well, and although there had been a lot of rain, has experienced this before and would not have deliberately put himself or his passenger in danger;

-           if his passenger had been a wheelchair user, he would not have driven through the river;

-           he had not noticed the danger signs, warning of fast flowing water during heavy rain;

-           his passenger lives in Battledown;

-           when his engine cut out in the river, he called 999; emergency services asked if he was able to get out safely – he was – and advised him therefore to call a breakdown service;

-           his passenger walked home.




Member debate


Members raised the following concerns:


-           the applicant, a professional driver - deemed a fit and proper person, did not see either of the two signs, and proceeded into the water, putting himself and his passenger at risk.  On a dark night, in heavy rain, this is an incredibly poor decision; the right decision would have been to turn back;

-           the applicant is approved to take wheelchair passengers, but should not have contemplated driving through the river, even by himself;

-           the fact that other taxi drivers use the shortcut is not a defence;

-           the driver should have taken the shortest, safest route, but did not do so here;


One Member stated that he would not be happy getting into the applicant’s taxi at the moment, but another Member said he would, as this incident was the first mistake the applicant has made in ten years and he accepts that what he did was extremely serious.  He has learnt a lesson forcefully and is present tonight as part of the learning curve. The Member would question the probability of him doing anything similar again, and would not want to deprive him of his livelihood because of one mistake.   The Chair reminded Members that this is not a material consideration and cannot be taken into account when making a decision. 


A Member was concerned by the applicant’s comment that other drivers habitually use this route despite it being a route for access only.


Members then considered the four options available to them, as outlined in the officer report. The Chair pointed out that the committee is not here to punish the applicant, but that licensing is concerned with protecting the public.  Members said they were struggling to find the most appropriate sanction; the Licensing Team Leader confirmed it is at the Committee’s discretion to come up with their own resolution to fit this particular case should they see fit.


After further discussion, a Member proposed that, given the gravity of the situation, a formal written warning should be issued, to remain on the applicant’s record. He also suggested the licensing officers write to hire companies and the trade association for hackney carriages to highlight the fact that this is a no-entry road and drivers should not use that route. 


The Licensing Team Leader confirmed that a resolution for a written warning would need to be passed, to add this to the list of options; if agreed, it would be taken as a material consideration in any future cases involving the applicant.


Applicant’s response


The applicant had no further comments to make.


Vote on resolution 1.4.1 that the applicant remains a fit and proper person to hold a Hackney Carriage Driver’s licence and that no further action is required

0 in support

5 in objection



Vote on resolution proposed by a Member, that a formal written warning be issued by the licensing authority and remain on the applicant’s record .

5 in support – unanimous



The Chair suggested that the applicant should take this as a warning and be sure to be more careful in future.  He asked that licensing officers put a notice in the Trade Times, reminding drivers that this section of School Road should not be used.  The Licensing Team Leader confirmed that this will be done, adding that any enforcement action is the responsibility of the county council, not CBC.



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