Pupils hit by taxi firm's suspension
Richard Parr Transport to and from school for nearly one hundred Norfolk pupils was thrown into chaos after police and a local authority withdrew licences from a taxi firm.
Transport to and from school for nearly one hundred Norfolk pupils was thrown into chaos after police and a local authority withdrew licences from a taxi firm.
Norfolk county council was forced to make emergency arrangements to ensure that 91 pupils in the Fakenham and Wells area got home safely on Thursday evening. Pupils either stayed at home yesterday or their parents made their own arrangements.
The county council's passenger transport team have been working to put interim arrangements in place for next week and it is hoped that the half-term break will allow officials to make more permanent arrangements.
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As reported in yesterday's EDP, the Fakenham-based Courtesy Cabs taxi firm ceased operating after police and North Norfolk District Council licensing officials withdrew licence plates from more than 20 vehicles in the fleet, effectively preventing it operating. One of its contracts was to provide school transport for pupils living in isolated rural areas in North Norfolk.
A NNDC spokesman said the operation of Courtesy Cabs had been suspended pending further police investigations.
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Police and licensing officers were forced to act on Thursday afternoon following significant concerns about the use of uninsured vehicles and public safety issues.
NNDC cabinet member with responsibility for public safety Brian Hannah said : “While we recognise that taking the vehicles off the road will inconvenience a number of people, to have uninsured taxis carrying passengers is a threat to public safety, which has to be our first concern.”
Mr Hannah also urged people not to be tempted to take up the offer of lifts in unlicensed vehicles and that if anyone had concerns about the legality of a taxi operator they should seek advice from police.
Yesterday the Bridge Street premises remained closed with seven of its saloon cars and people carrier standing outside on the public car park.
A notice on the door from bailiffs, acting on behalf of the property's owners, the Norwich-based Lomax Homes company, stated that possession had been taken of the property and that the former occupiers (Courtesy Cabs) had 14 days in which to remove their goods, chattels and furniture from the office premises.
It is understood that some of the fleet of vehicles were to be re-possessed by bailiffs.