Uber Taxi Driver to Pay Legal Costs of Almost £3K for Illegally Operating in Reading

  • Uber driver ordered to pay legal costs of £2,865 after picking up fares illegally in Reading
  • He was found guilty at Reading Magistrates' Court in November and sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge

A SOUTHAMPTON City Council licensed Uber driver has been hit with legal costs of almost 3K after illegally picking up £6 fares in Reading.

Muhamad Ismail Mahumuthu Atham, of Kingsgate Street, Reading, was ordered to pay legal costs of £2,865 to the Council after being found guilty at Reading Magistrates' Court in November 2020.

The 48-year-old was caught by two Council officers on Church Street, Caversham, on Sunday 17th March 2019 in the early hours of the morning.

Mr Atham was seen picking up two passengers outside Mo’s Kebab Van. The officers approached his vehicle and stopped him from leaving with the passengers.

Mr Atham appeared at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Monday 9th November 2020, where he was found guilty and sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge.

Cllr Tony Page, Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:

“Regulations exist to protect the travelling public and I am delighted that they are being enforced by our officers.

“Reading’s taxi and private hire drivers are facing a dismal time at present, with very low levels of business in the town.

“I hope that this judgement will deter any drivers thinking of working illegally in Reading, as such activity will not be tolerated.”


Notes to editors

Although Mr Atham is a Reading resident, he had chosen to register his licence with Southampton City Council. There are no restrictions on where a driver can apply for a private hire vehicle driver or vehicle licence: Drivers can be licensed all over the country with the only restriction that everything is issued by the same local authority covering the area they receive and carry out their bookings in. So, Mr Atham can legally take bookings in Southampton, but not in Reading.

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.