Camera car fine is overturned

staff pics lead - pic to be taken fri afternoon

A CABBIE who was snapped by a controversial camera car says justice has been done after his fine was overturned at a tribunal.

Ian Cawley, 43, who owns a fleet of seven taxis in the town, fought his case after being caught by Hartlepool Borough Council’s camera car parked in a bus stop in January.

The dad-of-two says that taxi drivers have a right to stop in bus stops if they are picking up or dropping off customers.

His initial appeal was rejected by the local authority, but has now been overturned after an independent tribunal which was carried out over the phone.

When he was caught by the camera car at a bus stop outside King Oswy shops in the town, Ian says he was waiting for a customer who he had just dropped off and who had ran into a nearby shop to get some change.

Hartlepool Borough Council bosses say taxis are allowed to stop at bus stops to pick up and drop off customers, but in this case they felt Mr Cawley had stayed in the bus stop for longer than necessary.

But Ian branded the camera car system “a shambles” and said he is delighted to have had his fine overturned.

Ian, who lives in Manor Road, Hartlepool, with wife, Jean, 40, a fire control operator and their two children, Hannah, nine, and eight-month-old Martha, said: “I hope this changes things in the future.

“It’s having an impact on taxi drivers.

“We are within our rights to stop in bus stops when we are picking up or dropping off customers.

“The problem is the camera car is picking up only four or five seconds of footage as it drives past.

“I had dropped a customer off and I was waiting for them to get some change from a shop, as soon as they came back with the change I drove off.”

Ian says he has received three fines from the £40,000 camera car since it was introduced last year in an attempt by Hartlepool Borough Council to improve road safety.

He paid one and another was overturned by the authority, before the most recent was taken to a tribunal.

“When I got the most recent fine I just thought it had gone too far,” he added.

“The whole thing is a pure shambles.”

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “Taxis are allowed to stop in bus stops, but only for as long as it takes to pick up and drop off passengers.

“In this case, we felt that Mr Cawley’s taxi remained in the bus stop for longer than necessary and that is why he was issued with a penalty charge notice (PCN).

“We subsequently upheld that decision on appeal.

“However, an independent tribunal has now ruled in his favour.

“The tribunal hearing was conducted by telephone and we have yet to receive a full written ruling.

“Once that arrives, we will carefully consider it and decide whether our policies and procedures in relation to taxis parking in bus stops need to be reviewed.”