Cumbria

Carlisle urinating taxi drivers clampdown

Carlisle taxi rank Image copyright Google
Image caption The council said the "vast majority" of taxi drivers worked to a "very high standard"

Taxi drivers who urinate in taxi ranks and leave cigarette butts on the ground are to face a new penalty point system.

Carlisle City Council regulatory panel chairman John Bell said there was "always going to be a minority who will let the side down".

But the vast majority of the city's taxi drivers carried out their duties to a very high standard, he said.

The National Taxi Association in Carlisle said regulations already existed and enforcement was the issue.

A spokesman accepted urination was a problem because there was nowhere for drivers to relieve themselves.

'Banned within week'

Bob Mullen, who drives a taxi in Barrow, pointed out leaving a taxi unattended in a rank - for example to go to the toilet - was also against the rules.

"I'd be banned within a week if it was introduced in Barrow," he said.

He also said some of the rules - such as not picking up on yellow lines - were at odds with regulations permitting these actions.

Council licensing manager Nicola Edwards said the authority had expected "a bit more resistance" but found most drivers welcomed the policy.

A report to councillors cited behaviour such as discarding cigarettes and urinating in Court Square Brow or in turning circles.

Passengers also complained about miserable or nasty drivers and those who were lazy and unwilling to help with shopping bags.

The authority has back-tracked on banning food in cabs, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

"A few drivers said that it was a bit unfair because at times they would have a rest in the vehicle or have a sandwich or a drink of water," Ms Edwards said.

The new system will start on 1 April and passengers are asked to report offending drivers directly to the council.

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