"Private hire drivers cannot accept unbooked journeys."
Birmingham magistrates heard that an Uber driver who had his city licence revoked had been the subject of 25 other complaints over the years.
Adeel Javed, of Dudley, had his city licence revoked after he charged £12 from Broad Street to New Street station, a distance of less than one mile.
It was heard that Mr Javed had been previously accused of texting whilst driving, demanding unnecessary extra cash from customers and grabbing another driver by the throat.
However, Mr Javed said he is still working for Uber which has been forced to issue refunds and restrict future trips between him and certain customers.
He claimed the complaints were part of a social media scam where people shared tips on getting “free rides”.
The complaints were revealed on June 17, 2021, as he appealed against the revocation of his licence.
His appeal was rejected as he was branded “not credible” and “not a fit and proper person”.
His licence was revoked in 2020 following a complaint in relation to an incident on November 30, 2019.
Matthew Cullen, representing Birmingham City Council, said:
“The complainant described him charging an extortionate price of £12 from Broad Street to New Street station.
“He was not pre-booked and simply flagged the taxi down.
“Private hire drivers cannot accept unbooked journeys. It is a criminal offence.”
When the Uber driver was questioned, he denied it.
He claimed he was there to pick up from the National Indoor Arena, refused the request from the customer and said they took a photo of his car and complained.
However, Mr Cullen said ANPR cameras contradicted his account because they captured his car leaving the city centre 15 minutes before he said he had picked up his friends.
During an interview, Mr Javed referred to his “positive driving history full of good ratings and no complaints”. But this was far from the case.
In 2019, he received a one-month suspension for allegedly driving down a closed road, whilst he had been suspended 10 years earlier following a criminal conviction for plying for hire.
Uber said there have been 25 complaints against Mr Javed between October 26, 2015, and April 18, 2021.
- October 2015 – Speaking on the phone in Bengali whilst driving.
- April 2016 – Sending pictures of cars to people during a trip.
- September 2017 – Not moving for a police vehicle with flashing blue lights, making “derogatory” comments to female passengers and checking sports results on his phone.
- June 2018 – Driving dangerously, swerving and performing an emergency stop in front of another motorist who had “cut him up” before getting out and grabbing him by the throat.
- July 2019 – Asking passengers to pay £40 in cash for the trip.
- July 2020 – Not wearing a face mask and telling customers the guidance had changed that day.
- December 2020 – Charging extra for going a different way due to an ambulance blocking a road.
- March 2021 – Refusing a booking upon arrival due to the customers’ ethnicity.
On other occasions, Mr Javed had made passengers feel “uncomfortable”.
Mr Javed told the court that he still has a private hire licence with Dudley Council.
He did not respond to all 25 complaints but insisted that the £12 city centre job never happened.
Mr Javed also denied discriminating against three Muslim passengers stating he was Muslim himself.
He also denied grabbing another driver by the throat and stating he only got out to take a photo of his car.
Mr Javed said: “Passengers try to get refunds and money from Uber.
“With social media, when someone gets money back they say ‘do this and get your money back’. They are just trying to get refunds.
“Friends talk to each other. They will say ‘I have a free ride, you can have a free ride if you say this’.”
But magistrates upheld his licence revocation.
The Chair of the Bench told Mr Javed:
“We believe the decision by the council was the correct one.
“The information we heard from Birmingham City Council about the ANPR check and the Uber statement is credible.
“Your explanation, we didn’t find credible.
“We have heard further information from your employer listing 25 complaints from your customers.
“Some are very serious. Your response is they are all making it up to get refunds.
“The complainants are not connected to one another. We find it not credible they are all making a complaint so they can all have a refund.
“A taxi driver’s role has a specific requirement much higher than other public services.
“Birmingham City Council’s decision that you are not a fit and proper person was correct on the balance of probabilities.
“The evidence heard today strengthened this decision.”
Uber said that drivers who have their licences revoked have their accounts deleted and are no longer able to accept jobs via the app.
However, that may not apply to Mr Javed if he still holds a private hire licence from another authority.