Telford & Wrekin Council’s Public Protection officers posed as customers in Madeley, Newport and at Telford Shopping Centre, and tried to get into private hire vehicles that they hadn’t booked.
Half of the eight drivers approached during the operation accepted to take the unbooked fares. These matters are now being investigated by licensing officers.
Meanwhile, earlier this month at Shropshire Magistrates, sitting in Telford, a Go Carz private hire driver admitted plying for hire earlier this year in Newport High Street.
Yaw Mensah, of Bembridge, Brookside, was fined £500 for plying for hire and given six penalty points. He also admitted driving without insurance, for which the court imposed no separate penalty. He was also ordered to pay costs of £240.
The court heard he pulled his Vauxhall Zafira up in the bus stop at the side of the road at 11.24pm and two council officers got into the car. Mr Mensah agreed to take them to a pre-arranged location and took an upfront payment of £7.10.
At no point did he make any attempt to book the journey. He was then stopped by a marked police car and cautioned.
Councillor Richard Overton, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for enforcement, said: "The findings of this latest exercise are very serious and serve as a timely reminder as Christmas approaches to follow these simple but important rules when you need a lift home.
"Always pre book your private hire vehicle or use a licensed taxi that you can either hail in the street, pre-book or pick up at a taxi rank. It is illegal for a private hire vehicle to take an unbooked fare and if it’s not booked the vehicle may not be insured and the details of your journey cannot be traced.
"Look for the driver's badge and, if you book via an app or ring using your mobile phone, forward your booking confirmation text to a friend or relative so they know how you're getting home."
Taxi marshals will be on duty at Red Oak Car park in Telford Shopping Centre over the weekend, on Wednesday and Thursday next week, December 29 and 30, and on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.