Preston taxi driver handed fare compensation

A Preston taxi driver will be paid compensation after his vehicle was wrongly registered by the city council.

Preston taxi driver handed fare compensation
Preston taxi driver handed fare compensation

The town hall has been ordered to pay £100 to the unnamed driver by the local government ombudsman.

The cash is for “inconvenience” and “trouble” caused by the mistake, which “led to an injustice”.

According to council documents, the driver’s private hire vehicle was incorrectly registered to carry five passengers in 2015.

But a year later officers became aware of inconsistencies in how the same model vehicle was being registered; with some being granted four passenger status.

The driver’s licence was therefore changed in June 2017 but he complained to the town hall as it meant he was missing out on business because of the new designation.

According to the ombudsman’s report, the council’s MOT testing service had “wrongly approved” the vehicle in the first instance and had subsequently repeated the mistake on two other occasions.

The council accepted the complaint made by the driver “was not well handled by the licensing team.” And although his annual fee was refunded “as a gesture of goodwill”, the ombudsman said the compensation payment was required.

Updated guidelines have now been issued to the council’s testing stations.

The ombudsman said: “The council is at fault for the testing station wrongly granting (the driver) a licence for five passengers and not four.

“However this did not cause him a significant injustice as he was able to use the vehicle to carry five passengers for over 18 months when he should not have been.

“The Council has already apologised to Mr X and refunded his licence fee.”

“However (the driver) has also been put to time and trouble and inconvenience by the council’s faults.”

The council’s audit committee are expected to formally approve the payment this week.

A report reads: “The issues involved in the case were fully investigated by the council’s chief environmental health officer and improvements put in place in terms of advice and guidance to all the council’s approved MOT vehicle testing stations.”