Angry Melton taxi driver fined £160 after helping disabled passenger

Melton taxi driver Lee Franklin EMN-180201-123958001
Melton taxi driver Lee Franklin EMN-180201-123958001
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A Melton taxi driver who was fined £160 for waiting in a car park too long to pick up a disabled passenger says the penalty could put cabbies off taking fares from people with mobility problems.

Lee Franklin, who has been driving cabs in the town for 40 years, was incensed when he received the parking ticket for staying a few minutes longer than the allotted 10 minutes allowed for pick-ups at the back of the Bell Centre.

He says he had to carefully help regular passenger, Tom Christian, out of his wheelchair and into the front seat before folding his chair and putting it in the boot.

“Every time we go in that car park to pick up a disabled passenger we are susceptible to a fine and it could put us off doing it anymore,” said Mr Franklin, who operates Lee’s Taxis.

“I was probably there three minutes longer than I should have been but my passenger was in a wheelchair, he had recently had a stroke and he can’t breathe very well.

“If you start rushing him he begins to panic so I always take it very carefully and make sure he is comfortable.”

Mr Franklin has not yet paid his fine, issued by Smart Parking, which operates the car park using photographic evidence to show vehicles arriving and leaving.

Mr Christian said he was willing to accompany the cabie to court to give evidence if it goes that far.

He said: “I was surprised when he told me he had got a parking ticket after helping me into the taxi.

“I have a job getting into it because I’ve just had a stroke and I have to take it slow.

“It’s a lot of money to have to pay for helping me.

“I feel so strongly about this that I will go to court with him.”

Smart Parking said Mr Franklin was invited to appeal his parking ticket by writing officially to the company.

A spokesperson said: “There is an appeals process.

“We cannot comment further until an appeal has been made in this case.”