A taxi driver who set off with a passenger leaning through his window during a row over the fare has been given a chance to drive private hires.
Abbas Ahmad previously had a bid to renew his taxi licence thrown out following a complaint from Police Scotland after the incident in 2017.
Now Mr Ahmad, who told licensing chiefs the passenger was trying to get away without paying, has been granted a private hire driver’s licence. He was warned over his future behaviour.
Another private hire driver, Adnan Tahir, has also been handed a licence despite driving off while a woman and her daughter tried to get out of his car.
Glasgow’s licensing committee heard how Mr Ahmad had been fined £450 for culpable and reckless conduct after he drove away while a customer was leaning through the window.
A Police Scotland officer said a man had been dragged along the road, and injured, during the incident in Rutherglen. Mr Ahmad’s legal representative told councillors his client had “found himself in a difficult situation”.
The driver had picked up two “inebriated” passengers who had promised to pay the fare and asked to go to the cash machine when they reached Rutherglen, the committee heard. One man did “a runner” while the other passenger tripped and dropped his wallet in the car, councillors were told.
Mr Ahmad kept hold of the wallet and “the passenger decided to put his hand in to try and grab the wallet”, his legal representative said.
He added: “Mr Ahmad stupidly, and he realises it was not the correct thing to do but at the time feelings were high, moved forward. I’m afraid at that time he was reluctant to let them get away and he realises that he acted foolishly.”
The passenger later paid for the taxi. Since being rejected for a taxi licence renewal, Mr Ahmad has been a delivery driver for Yodel and has a “blemish free record”.
Councillor Alex Wilson, the licensing committee chairman, proposed granting the private hire driver’s licence for a restricted period of one year. However, an amendment from Bailie Hanif Raja to grant the licence for three years passed by four votes to three.
Adnan Tahir, who was fined £270 and given three points on his licence for driving without due care and attention, was granted a private hire driver’s licence for a one-year period by the committee.
He was also warned over his future conduct after Police Scotland complained over the incident in December 2018. Mr Tahir pulled his car forward on Buchanan Street, Baillieston, while his passenger and her four-year-old daughter were trying to alight, an officer said.
Councillor Wilson said: “The incident is very serious. You’re carrying passengers around Glasgow and you’re moving your vehicle without checking to make sure the passengers are actually safe and back on the street.”
In response, Mr Tahir said the woman had asked to use the cash machine but when he pulled over he realised a car was turning out of a junction behind him. “I thought it’s not safe here, I just lifted my foot off the break,” he added. “It wasn’t intentional.”
Asked why he parked somewhere that wasn’t safe, the driver said: “I tried to make it easier for the customer, I stopped just nearby the cash machine.”
Councillor Wilson said: “Your job is to make sure your passengers are completely 100% safe, it’s also your job to make sure you protect your livelihood so regardless of whether you felt it was right to help a customer, you have to protect your livelihood and you have to make sure passengers are safe at all times.”
Mr Tahir said he had made a mistake and apologised to the committee.