A TAXI driver who charged visitors to Glasgow £80 for a journey of less two miles has been suspended from the roads.

Dahrmindar Singh has been banned from operating for three months after licensing chiefs upheld the findings of an investigation into over-charging passengers heading to a Beyonce concert.

Mr Singh was also penalised for cramming eight customers into his black cab, two above the legal limit.

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The local authority’s licensing committee heard that last July Mr Singh had picked the group en route to the concert at Hampden in Glasgow city centre and on hearing of their intended destination asked for £80 up front.

After agreeing to pay for the trip to the stadium, less than three miles away, the group were then told to leave the taxi a mile from Hampden, with Mr Singh claiming he could go no further despite other cabs completing the trip.

The complaint was investigated by the council, with a witness statement read during the hearing.

The unnamed witness claimed: “We asked how the fare was so expensive and he couldn’t give us an explanation. Luckily, we had the money to pay it or we would have left in Glasgow, lost and in a vulnerable situation.

“The taxi driver could clearly see how desperate we were to get to the concert on time and took full advantage of that. I do not believe we were the first people to be charged such a ridiculous price and certainly won’t be the last if this driver continues to over-charge customers.”

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Mr Singh, who was represented by a solicitor, disputed the statements and instead argued that he had charged them only £11.20 and was paid a total of £18, including a tip. He also disputed that there were eight passengers, and stated that if there were more than six the others had entered the vehicle without him noticing.

In his statement to council investigators the driver had also accused the group of being rowdy, complaining and referring to him as Taliban on a number of occasions.

The committee heard that when seven witness statements were put to him he stated: “It’s a load of lies and false allegations. I took them by meter and they gave me a tip.”

Cllr Frank Docherty, chair of the licensing committee, said: “This was a deliberate attempt by the taxi driver to exploit people desperate to get to a concert on time.

“By overloading his cab, the driver also put passenger safety at risk and people who use taxis in Glasgow have a right to expect higher standards than this.

“The committee will always take action against those who fail to meet the standards expected of them.”

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In relation another case at the hearing, seven private hire car drivers had their licence suspended for between one and four months, all with immediate effect.

In each case the committee found the safety of the public was being severely compromised by the actions of these drivers in accepting hires which are not pre-booked.

All drivers were asked to hand over their badge and licences to an officer from licensing, meaning that they cannot operate as a driver until their licence is returned to them at the end of the period of suspension.