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Borough considers penalty point system to punish overcharging taxi drivers

Taxi drivers could be given penalty points by the Royal Borough if they overcharge customers for journeys when their meter is turned off.

The council’s licensing panel discussed the proposed new rules at a meeting on Monday after it said it had received complaints that some drivers are going ‘off meter’ within the borough to deliberately overcharge.

Greg Nelson, the borough’s team leader for trading standards, said: “When a journey takes place wholly in the borough, drivers can go off meter but it is illegal to charge more than the meter would have charged.

“What I would like to do is add that to the list of infringements where we can impose penalty points.”

Mr Nelson told the panel he felt the offence should warrant six penalty points.

The proposed point system would allow the council to penalise taxi drivers, and if drivers amass 12 points they can have their licence taken away by the borough. It would be separate from the driving licence points issued by the DVLA.

Sultan Jaffri, of the GMB Professional Drivers branch, told the meeting that his regular customers preferred travelling without the meter on.

He said: “When we put the meter on, they get aggressive. What can the poor taxi driver do? He just wants to get them home safe and sound.”

The panel decided to carry out a consultation over whether to introduce a penalty points system as well as set tariffs from Ascot Racecourse.

It was also agreed that taxi drivers will have to pay a 30 per cent deposit when they renew their licence.

The borough introduced the measures after it was revealed that in the last three months, 49 out of 274 appointments were missed when drivers had to attend appointments for licence renewal.

The meeting was held at Maidenhead Town Hall.

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