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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Carlisle taxi driver ‘refused disabled passenger’

A taxi driver of 14 years has been ordered off the road following a complaint that he refused to carry a disabled passenger.

Trevor George McPake, 44, of Newtown Road, Carlisle, had his taxi licence revoked by the city council’s regulatory panel.

He can appeal to Carlisle magistrates and can continue driving his cab in the meantime.

The panel heard an allegation that Mr McPake refused to carry a wheelchair user from Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway in the early hours of Sunday March 4.

Jonathan Milne, the wheelchair user, approached Mr McPake’s taxi at the Court Square rank with his father, brother and a friend.

At first, Mr Milne’s letter of complaint said, Mr McPake agreed to carry them.

But when they asked him to lower the cab’s ramps to load the wheelchair, he allegedly said: “I’m not taking you. Wheelchairs are a hassle at this time of night and I can do two runs in the time it takes to get the ramps in and out.”

A heated argument followed and the party eventually took another taxi.

Mr McPake disputed this version of events. He told licensing officers that he refused to carry the group because two of them behaved aggressively.

One threatened him and slammed the side of the car door with his hand.

On balance, councillors believed Mr Milne’s account. But the panel’s decision to revoke Mr McPake’s licence was not unanimous.

Councillor John Bell, chairman of the regulatory panel, said: “We took into account his previous history, in particular the number of complaints made against him.”

The council has received 10 other complaints from the public since Mr McPake was granted a taxi licence in 1998.

These covered his driving manner, misuse of a horn late at night, going through a red light, abusive language and another instance of refusing to carry a wheelchair.

Mr McPake disputed some, but not all, the complaints.

He also committed two speeding offences and had his taxi licence suspended for four weeks in 2001 after his vehicle was found to be defective and he was abusive to police officers.

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