Leading Bedford taxi firm A1 Cars is under investigation after a female passenger secretly taped a driver proposition her.
The driver seemingly offers to waive the 24-year-old’s £26 fare in return for sexual favours as they drove from Sandy to a club in Bedford on Saturday evening.
“It was horrible,” said the female, whose name the T&C has kept anonymous.
“As soon as I got in he said: ‘You’re beautiful. If I give you a free ride will you give me something in return?’
“It was obvious he meant sex and it made me feel really uneasy. So I decided to put my phone on record for the rest of the journey.”
The T&C has listened to the recording and heard the middle-aged man clearly state: “I will pay your drink. And I will pay your taxi as well... if I get anything.” But she declined.The driver then asks why, forcing the female to say: “I don’t do things like that. I am a lady.”
As the journey finishes he asks again, twice: “Do you think I will get anything?”
The passenger, who is a single mum, said this week: “I found it really creepy. Luckily I was sober, in control, but I couldn’t help wondering what would have happened if he tried this with a young girl who was drunk and not quite so capable.” She visited the A1 taxi office the following morning to make an official complaint. But she says staff refused to let her inside the building.
“I then phoned and spoke to someone who said he was in charge. But he just spoke over me,” she said.
The T&C arranged for taxi officers from Bedford Borough Council to hear the tape and speak to the victim. As a result it has launched a full investigation into the driver.
A council spokesperson said: “We can confirm the council has received a complaint regarding the conduct of a taxi driver on Saturday evening. This will be fully investigated.
“In addition we will also be investigating the taxi operator’s alleged lack of action to the initial complaint made to them by this customer.”
A1’s supervisor, Balal Shah, said the self-employed driver had now been suspended.
“This is not acceptable behaviour for anybody,” he said.
Mr Shah denied A1 bosses had failed to listen to the female’s complaint.
Owner Imran Iqbal added: “As far as we are concerned the complaint was handled in the appropriate manner.
“There was no wrongdoing on our part. The driver was immediately suspended. There was not much more we could have done.
“However I believe the driver still holds a licence under investigation and could work for another company.”