PRIVATE rental car drivers in Glasgow put their licenses and customers at risk through a practice known as hacking, which involves making punters pay cash for using their services.
After a lockdown on taxi drivers struggling to make ends meet as the crowds remained locked inside, some are now choosing to recover the money by taking illegal trips on weekends.
A source told how they got into an Uber at a taxi rank on Sauchiehall Street on a Saturday evening, only to be asked for Â£ 30 in cash by a driver who did not make the trip through the app.
A Glasgow Taxis spokesperson said: ‘The biggest red flag for the public here is the fact that in the event of an accident it is likely that such journeys will not be insured.
âIt’s a tragedy that’s waiting to happen – and we don’t have to look far to see how horrible such a tragedy can be in nature.
âFrom a Glasgow Taxis perspective, this is an issue we are very aware of and discussed both with Glasgow City Council and with Councilor Alex Wilson.
âWhile we are assured that Taxi and Private Hire Enforcement are aware of this issue, we believe that in the interest of public safety, this should be treated as a priority to avoid a tragedy.
âA consistent approach is essential. If Glasgow is serious about an efficient integrated transport system – which seemed to be the case for two weeks during COP26 – it is essential to support taxis within this framework.
Glasgow City Council has also recognized the dangers of these untraceable cab rides, which could leave taxi drivers out of work if caught red-handed.
A spokesperson said: âAll private drivers can only take pre-booked fares, whether through an app or a reservation desk.
âA driver who turns off an app or breaks contact with a reservation office when taking a ticket poses a public safety problem and also cancels a driver’s insurance.
âAny complaint against a driver taking fares under these circumstances is likely to lead the driver to be called before the city’s licensing and regulation committee to be held accountable for their actions.
âIf the complaint is lodged against the driver, he may ultimately be banned from working as private drivers. “
Councilor Alex Wilson has expressed his personal concerns about the piracy problem and believes that the well-being of the citizens of Glasgow is not taken seriously enough.
He said: âThis is an issue that Glasgow has a real problem with because we are really seen as a cash cow. It is not necessarily the fault of a company, it is certainly the fault of an individual. The city council opposes it and tries to keep a lid.
âI think we could do more help with Police Scotland to try to eradicate this problem, but it depends on the individual. I think it puts the public at risk because [pirate driversâ] the insurance is invalid.
“If you pick up a passenger and they don’t go through their meter, and they don’t go through the company they’re registered with, whether it’s Uber, Hampden or Glasgow Cabs , he cancels his insurance.
âIf a passenger is in a car and has a life-threatening accident or injury, they will likely seek compensation from an insurance company. But there is no insurance, so this person ends up with debilitating injuries and no way to cover it. “
“TRAGEDY WAITING TO HAPPEN”
The adviser also spoke about his plans to tackle the issue, which involved traveling to Birmingham to see their piracy prevention model, as it was a method Glasgow was hoping to adopt. However, this progress was halted by containment.
He said: âAs we recover and gradually get back to normal, this is something that I want to revisit, because at the end of the day it is public health and safety that is the most important thing. important. We must try to eradicate this. “
A spokesperson for Uber said: “All private rental trips in the UK must be booked in advance. Uber has a zero tolerance policy and any driver found to be picking up unbooked trips or street calls will permanently lose access to the application.
âWe report any rental request incident to the town hall and drivers risk having their private rental license withdrawn.
âIt’s important that people only use a properly reserved car: with Uber, you’ll always see the driver’s name, photo and registration number so you can be sure it’s the right reservation. “
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