Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
Darlington taxi driver could lose licence over toilet break
A CABBIE risks losing his licence after answering the call of nature.
Mark Michael Brown had to leave his taxi unattended while he went into a betting shop to use the toilet.
However, his empty vehicle was spotted by eagle-eyed traffic wardens who reported him for breaking Darlington Borough Council by-laws, which state that it is illegal for a taxi to be unattended on a rank.
Now, Mr Brown faces a court appearance and also must appear in front of a council tribunal where he could have his licence taken off him.
Mr Brown said: “I had a bad case of an upset stomach and William Hill’s was the nearest toilet that I could use for free.
“Throughout the course of the day I’d been going in and out of there, but the wardens spotted me going in there with my car unattended.”
He has now been issued with a summons to appear in court on May 9 where he could be fined. After that he will face a council committee where he risks losing his licence.
However, he said that he was the fifth car in a rank which was only designated for three taxis. He added: “Over the years the council has turned a blind eye when there have been more than three vehicles. I was the fifth car and technically I wasn’t on the rank, it hasn’t been repainted and there are no markings, just a sign saying it’s for three cars.”
Mr Brown said the alternative would be for him to lose his place in the rank, pay for somewhere to park and then find a toilet. This was something he was unable to do in his condition.
“At the end of the day they are going against health and safety and also breaching my human rights.”
A council spokeswoman said she could not comment on Mr Brown’s case as it is the subject of court proceedings but she said the situation with the taxi rank in the Market Place was being reviewed.
She added “The council is not the taxi drivers’ employer and, as such, has no legal obligation to provide toilets or other facilities.
“We simply license and regulate the trade.
“Taxi ranks are not parking places for taxis, they are places for working taxis to pick up and drop off passengers.
Any driver who wishes to park and leave their car, for whatever reason, should use a designated public parking place.”