Drivers to put the brakes on soiling of taxis

Passengers who soil taxis can now face a fine of �50. Photo for illustration only.
Passengers who soil taxis can now face a fine of �50. Photo for illustration only.

Taxi drivers have spoken out about having to deal with the aftermath of ‘disgusting’ passengers who vomit, defecate and urinate in their cabs.

New rules introduced by Boston Borough Council now allow firms to impose a £50 charge on those who soil taxis registered to the Boston Hackney Carriage Association.

Local firms have spoken to The Standard to describe some of the horrendous situations drivers are faced with.

Acorn Taxis owner Zhahid Yunis said: “The vomiting used to just happen on weekends, but now it can happen at any time.

“We’ve had people urinating and defecating too.”

Mr Yunis said it is people of all ages - but stressed those heavily in drink were the main culprits.

“Two weeks ago I witnessed one passenger, who was asked for payment, vomiting into his own wallet before telling the driver ‘help yourself’,” he said.

When the situation was at its worse, Acorn Taxis was dealing with two or three cases of soiling a week - but Mr Yunis said he has since implemented a policy of not picking up people who are heavily in drink.

“It’s not worth the aggravation,” he said. “As much as we want to help people and pick them up, we have to provide a fair, efficient service.”

Refusing to take people heavily in drink in their 80 
vehicles has cut down the numbers of soiling incidents to one every two or three months - with the worst time being around Christmas.

Mr Yunis said the £50 charge is welcome but the difficulty is getting the customer to pay it.

“When you’re trying to get money off somebody who is drunk, it’s quite difficult,” he said. ”If a customer does soil the cab, the driver can now inform them of the fine and take their details. But if that doesn’t work we will have to phone the police and hope they will do something about it with what little resources they have.”

A driver from another firm, who asked not to be named, said: “Thankfully I’ve only had to deal with a couple but I’ve heard some horror stories from other drivers, with passengers getting out and leaving something on the seats for them to find - and others saying they were sprayed from behind.” He added: “However, if it was young children or very elderly people who had an accident, I personally wouldn’t charge them the £50.

“It’s mainly drunk people who are the problem.”