London driver prosecuted for operating illegally

PR2226/JB/MH - 24/06/2019

Mid Sussex District Council has successfully prosecuted a Private Hire driver who was operating illegally in the District.

Mr Naser Bajwa, from Wimbledon, London accepted customers in his Private Hire vehicle who had not made an advanced booking and carried passengers without insurance. Mr Bajwa pleaded guilty to both offences at Crawley Magistrates Court on Wednesday 19th June 2019.

Mid Sussex District Council’s Licensing Team received a complaint that on 25th December 2018 Mr Bajwa accepted passengers who had not pre-booked. An investigation revealed that Mr Bajwa had been parked outside bars in Church Road, Burgess Hill when he was approached by two women who got into his vehicle before driving off. They had not pre-booked this vehicle.

Mr Bajwa is a Private Hire driver licensed by Transport for London (TFL). As a private hire driver he can only take passengers that are pre-booked through his Private Hire Operator otherwise he is plying for hire and his vehicle insurance is not valid for that trip.

At Crawley Magistrates Court, Mr Naser Bajwa was fined a total of £733 for both offences, ordered to pay a £44 victim surcharge and was instructed to cover the Council’s costs of £939.34. He also received 6 penalty points on his DVLA driving licence.

Councillor Norman Webster, Cabinet Member for Community said:

“Mid Sussex District Council takes passenger safety very seriously. The laws and licensing standards that we enforce are in place to ensure that passengers are safe.

“People should be aware that if they use private hire vehicles without booking in advance then the vehicle will not be insured if an accident occurs and the drivers concerned risk prosecution.”

Every taxi and private hire vehicle must clearly display its licensing information so residents can check to make sure it is fully licensed by the District Council. If you suspect something is wrong, contact our Licensing Team on 01444 477344.