Weston taxi driver loses licence after refusing to drive two visually impaired people

Syed Al Miah was sentenced at Exeter Magistrates Court.

Syed Al Miah was sentenced at Exeter Magistrates Court. - Credit: Archant

A Weston-super-Mare taxi driver who refused to transport two visually impaired people and their guide dogs has lost a court appeal against having his licence revoked.

Syed Al Miah, of Birchwood Avenue, was also ordered to pay costs of £5,000 after East Devon District Council successfully defended the appeal.

Miah had not operated as a taxi driver in East Devon at any point since obtaining his licence from its district council in 2016 and instead worked in North Somerset.

East Devon District Council received a complaint about Miah from two visually impaired people who said he refused to transport them and their guide dogs after they had requested to be taken from a hotel to a train station in North Somerset in December 2017.

Exeter Magistrates Court heard on August 29 when Miah arrived at the hotel, he informed staff and the customers he would not take the dogs and drove away.

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The district council’s licensing committee revoked Miah’s licence as they felt he was no longer considered a fit and proper person to hold it.

During the legal process Miah changed his story on several occasions. At interview he said he was scared of the dogs, at the licensing hearing he stated for safety reasons he believed his taxi was not big enough, and at the court appeal hearing he claimed when arriving at the hotel he was not sure if he had attended the correct job.

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Councils have legal powers to suspend or revoke the licence of a taxi drivers.

And taxi drivers have a legal duty to carry assistance dogs, ensuring they do not discriminate against any person because of disability.

The court ruled in favour of the council’s decision to take Miah’s licence away.

Cllr Steve Hall, chairman of the district council’s licensing sub-committee, said: “The council recognises the serious nature of these allegations and the impact upon those individuals being refused transport.

“We will not hesitate to defend further appeals of this nature.”

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