Taxi driver handed formal warning after taking on 40 unlawful hires

Majid Ali claimed he missed an email alerting him that his taxi inspection certificate expired as he was sleeping.

Taxi driver handed formal warning by Aberdeen City Council after taking on 40 unlawful hires iStock

An Aberdeen taxi driver has been given a formal warning after taking on 40 unlawful fares earlier this year.

Majid Ali’s taxi inspection certificate had expired earlier this year, but he continued to use his own car to transport customers despite being warned not to do so.

The driver used his vehicle as a private hire car, however it couldn’t be used again until it passed a hackney test.

Aberdeen City Council’s licensing team had emailed him about the potential risk of continuing to drive the vehicle – but Mr Ali missed it as he was sleeping.

The breach was brought before the local authority’s licensing committee.

Licensing committee policy states that taxis must undergo two inspections a year.

This ensures vehicles are in a safe and suitable condition to be used by the public.

After a successful inspection, each licence holder is given a pass certificate that has an expiry date.

Mr Ali’s previous document expired on January 9.

Aberdeen City Council advised him the following week that his certificate had expired and he should not undertake any hires until his vehicle was re-inspected.

However, Mr Ali undertook 40 hires between January 20 and 22 after being advised he should not use his car.

The local authority sent him an email at 11.45am on Friday, January 20 which he missed as he was asleep after finishing a night shift with Rainbow City Taxis.

He didn’t notice the important message until Monday but immediately stopped using his car.

“I read my email and at the bottom it says that ‘you are not allowed to use your car, it is a criminal offence’”, Mr Ali told the committee.

As pass certificates have expiry dates, councillors questioned if Mr Ali had any reminders in place to remind him of these crucial times.

But he believed the local authority needed to do more to alert him instead.

“The council never rang me, they just sent an email.

“I’m putting my hands up that it’s my responsibility to check emails but I’m just saying a phone call would help, or even a voice message as everyone else rings.

“British Gas rings me, my father from Kashmir in a warzone rings me, but Aberdeen council can’t leave a simple voicemail?”

He added: “I never read the email, that is my fault.

“‘I’m not pinning that on anyone but I think the licensing officer should have given me a phone call or even left a voice message.”

Councillors were given three options to address the breach.

They could have issued a formal warning, suspended the licence, and had the power to revoke it.

But council licensing solicitor Sandy Munro told the committee he didn’t believe the case was severe enough to need a revocation.

He explained that would typically be used as a “last resort” for very serious breaches.

Mr Munro asked members to consider whether the breach and Mr Ali’s explanation for it warranted a suspension or if a warning would be enough.

Councillor Marie Boulton believed a formal warning was suitable, along with a reminder that the conditions of his licence were Mr Ali’s responsibility.

She said: “I don’t take it lightly when there’s a breach of conditions because I think they could have quite serious consequences.

“On this occasion, a formal warning will be sufficient and we take no further action after that.

“But it wouldn’t happen again if he appeared before us.”

Members of the committee unanimously agreed to issue the warning, which will remain on Mr Ali’s record for the next two years.

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