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Taxi fears slammed as "scaremongering"
5:45pm Monday 14th October 2013 in News
A FORMER Halesowen councillor claims private hire taxi drivers are breaking the law by plying for hire from late-night revellers.
Adrian Turner said he was “horrified” when he was stopped five times as he walked home from Stourbridge in the early hours and fears Dudley Council is not enforcing the rules stringently.
The driving instructor, whose father Councllior Ken Turner is an opposition member of the taxis committee, said private hire drivers who picked up passengers without bookings were not insured.
He also believes passengers, especially young women, could be lured into vehicles by sex attackers believing them to be taxi drivers.
Mr Turner said: “I have a daughter in her early 20s and another who is 18 this year and they know the rules about taxis, but their friends do not know.”
He fears if bonafide drivers ply for hire, passengers, especially young women, could be lured into the arms of attackers, mistakingly believing they were getting into a taxi.
“This has happened in other parts of the country - it only has to happen once and I believe it is a real possibility,” added Mr Turner.
But taxis committee chairman Cllr Richard Body hit back, accusing the ex Tory councillor of “scaremongering for political ends”.
The Labour councillor denied that plying for trade was going on in the borough and called upon Mr Turner to back up his allegations with evidence.
Cllr Body said: “Officers carry out the same amount of enforcement as they always have.”
He added: “Dudley borough, compared with other local authorities of a similar size, is one of the safest for taxis in England and Wales.
“Since my time on the taxi committee from 2006, we now have less taxi drivers committing ply for hire than ever and since becoming chairman in May 2012 only one.”
He said this was due to the work he had done with drivers to stop the practice.
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