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Christmas clampdown on unlicensed 'cabs'

Merthyr Tydfil residents are being urged to stay safe this Christmas by taking the advice of licensing officers and police and using only legal taxis.

The County Borough Council has just launched ‘Operation Protect’, a publicity and enforcement campaign aiming to ensure Christmas revellers use licensed taxis to get them about at night.

“All our licensed drivers and vehicles are subject to vetting and safety checks to ensure they are safe,” said Trading Standards, Licensing and School Transport Manager Paul Lewis. 

“This year, we’ll be focusing on illegal taxis, especially young people offering ‘lifts’ - that is, using their personal vehicles to take friends on journeys for a fee.  Our licensed trade have told us it’s a growing problem and it’s clearly unfair competition for them, as well as being unsafe for those using them.”

The campaign will focus particularly on the Dynevor Street area, which is a current cause for concern, as well as other town centre locations which are popular in the evening economy.

Licensing officers and the police will be patrolling the town to inspect vehicles and are warning that owners of any non-licensed cars could face prosecution for unlicensed trading and potential seizure of vehicles for driving without the appropriate insurance.

“We’ll also be ensuring licensed traders are operating within the conditions of their licences,” said Paul Lewis.  “This includes correct use of meters and charging the prescribed fare tariffs.”

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Public Protection Cllr Geraint Thomas said: “Nobody really benefits from people looking to make money from offering late night lifts. As well as affecting the livelihoods of our taxi drivers, they could also be putting their passengers’ lives as risk.”  

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