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Uber driver ordered to pay over £1,000 for second offence of illegally operating in Reading

  • Uber driver Muhamad Ismail Mahumuthu Atham fined £1,195 and given eight points for illegally plying for hire in Reading
  • This was his second conviction for the same offence, with a previous one in November 2020

A FAREHAM Borough Council-licensed Uber driver has been hit with financial penalties of more than £1,000 and given eight points on his driving licence after he was caught illegally plying for hire for £10 fares in Reading, for a second time.

Muhamad Ismail Mahumuthu Atham, of Kingsgate Street, Reading, was ordered to pay fines and legal costs totalling £1,195, after being found guilty at Reading Magistrates' Court in June 2024.

The 52-year-old was caught by Reading Council Licensing officers on Oxford Road, Reading, on Sunday 2 December 2022.

Mr Atham agreed to pick up two officers acting as passengers outside a late-night food outlet. When Mr Atham recognised one of the enforcement officers, he drove off with the rear door still open.

At a hearing at Reading Magistrates’ Court on 17 June 2024, Mr Atham was found guilty on three counts:

  • Plying for hire without a hackney carriage vehicle licence - £200 fine
  • Plying for hire without a hackney carriage driver’s licence - £100 fine
  • Driving without insurance – 8 penalty points  

He also was ordered to pay £775 towards prosecution costs, as well as a victim surcharge of £120.

Mr Atham has previously been convicted for illegally plying for hire in Reading. On 9 November 2020, he was found guilty of the same offence at Reading Magistrates’ Court.

Cllr John Ennis, Lead Councillor for Climate Strategy and Transport, said:

"This successful conviction by Reading's diligent licensing team shows that Private Hire drivers who think they are above the law will not escape punishment.

"Private Hire and Hackney Carriage customers deserve to trust that their driver is properly insured and licensed. Our officers routinely conduct operations in town centre hotspots to enforce these standards.

“We are thankful for the support from the majority of Reading's law-abiding taxi trade. Unlicensed drivers who undermine this trust will be dealt with firmly to maintain public confidence and ensure safety in our nighttime economy.

"If you have any concerns about taxi or private hire drivers, you can report them confidentially to us at or through the Council Contact Centre at 0118 937 3787."


Notes to editors

Although Mr Atham is a Reading resident, he has chosen to register his licence with Fareham Borough Council. There are no restrictions on where a driver can apply for a private hire vehicle driver license or vehicle license: Drivers can be licensed anywhere in the country with the only restriction being that everything is issued by the same local authority covering the area where they receive and carry out their bookings. Additionally, an operator can pass a booking to another operator (even if they are licensed by another council) so long as the booking is carried out by a driver and vehicle licensed by the same council as the operator receiving the booking.

Uber operating in Reading:

Reading Borough Council refused an application for a Private Hire Vehicle Operators Licence for Uber in March 2016 on the ground that the Sub-Committee did not consider the applicant to be a fit and proper person to hold such a licence by reason of:

  1. Not being able to manage the operation within the standard conditions that were attached to Private Hire Vehicle Operator’s Licence;
  2. Not being able to show that he could comply with current conditions that could lead to vehicles not operating according to the Council’s private hire operator conditions;
  3. There being insufficient evidence as to the demand for the service in Reading;
  4. There being no clear evidence as to the number of vehicles needed to operate the service
  5. There being no clear evidence as to how the Uber office was to be manned on a daily basis.