Cab drivers complaints are revealed

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THE number of official complaints made against Scarborough private hire and taxi drivers has been revealed.

In 2011, the frequency of complaints hit a three-year high – but there was still less than one a week made against the town’s cabbies to Scarborough Council, which licenses the drivers.

The data, released under the Freedom of Information Act, shows that dangerous driving and rude behaviour were by far the most common cause for concern, accounting for nearly 40 per cent of complaints.

But drivers have at times faced bizarre or vexatious allegations. One member of the public complained about a vehicle plate being dirty. When inspected, it turned out it was clean.

Another made an official complaint about what a driver was wearing, while someone else went to the effort of contacting the council because they believed a top sign on a Hackney Carriage had not been lit.

In total, there were 100 officially recorded allegations between the start of 2009 and the end of last year.

Una Faithfull, the council’s licensing manager, said: “All complaints from members of the public regarding the council’s licensed drivers are treated seriously and investigated thoroughly and swiftly.

“Depending on the nature and seriousness of the complaint, drivers are normally interviewed to ascertain the facts following which there are a number of options open which may include prosecution, formal warning, suspension or revocation of the licence.

“The Licensing Authority’s objectives are to ensure the safety of the public, ensure the safety and comfort of users of the services and to encourage the provision of high quality and accessible services in the borough.”

Between 2009 and 2011, only three drivers had their licences revoked following an investigation.

One was said to have used an unlicensed vehicle, one allegedly behaved in a threatening and abusive manner and the other was accused of inappropriate behaviour.

No action was taken following a complaint in 35 per cent of cases, while the council’s most common form of action - a warning letter - was sent in 43 per cent of cases.