Young women left abandoned as St Albans taxi drivers refuse short fares

Some St Albans taxis are refusing to take short fares

Some St Albans taxis are refusing to take short fares - Credit: Archant

Problems with taxi drivers refusing journeys on the grounds that they do not provide a big enough fare have arisen once again.

Taxis are obliged to accept any fare as part of their licence but a group of young women were recently denied a safe journey home from a nightclub by 10 taxi drivers before securing a cab home.

They were trying to return to a home on Harpenden Road, which is located near the nightclub in question, Club Batchwood, but were refused on the grounds that the address was too close.

The women had to get a bus into the city centre and a taxi from the St Peter’s Street rank in order to avoid the 2km walk home down a dark driveway.

Sarah Howell, 20, of Gustard Wood, said: “We came out at peak time so there were lots of people trying to get a taxi, so I think the marshals were slightly overwhelmed.

“We were all staying at my friend’s house in Harpenden Road and every single taxi we approached said they would not take us back and waited until someone else came along with a better fare.

“It’s not right, taxi drivers have a duty to ensure people get home safe.”

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Taxis are not permitted to turn down a fare on this premise. Mudassar Yasin, general secretary of the St Albans and Harpenden Taxi Association (SAHTA), said that he did not condone such behaviour from drivers.

He added: “It is wrong for the driver to do this not only legally but on a moral basis too.”

St Albans district council, which provides taxi drivers with their licence, employs taxi marshals at peak times to control the crowds wanting to get a taxi home.

The council’s head of legal, democratic and regulatory services, Michael Lovelady, said: “Licensed hackney carriage drivers are not allowed to turn down fares on the grounds that the journey is too short.

“If anyone is turned down for that reason, they should note as many details as they can about the driver and vehicle. This could be the number of the taxi plate at the side and rear of the vehicle.

“If they inform us, we can investigate and take appropriate action. We have not had any complaints of this sort for some time.”

He added that the marshals were to receive refresher training soon on what to do if a taxi driver refused a short fare.

Complaints should be made to the district council’s licensing team on 01727 296125 or email