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Rise in "pointless" complaints about foreign taxi drivers in Brighton and Hove
Taxi bosses are being deluged with complaints about cabbies who cannot speak English - with many passengers refusing to ride if a foreigner is driving.
Figures obtained by The Argus show the number of taxi complaints has more than doubled in the past four years.
But Andy Cheesman from the Brighton and Hove Taxi Forum insisted the majority of the grievances were “pointless lies” which were never proved.
Instead, he claimed “a significant proportion” were angry passengers complaining about foreign drivers not being able to speak English.
He said: “When people have had a few beers, they can take offence if they don't think the driver can speak the language that well.
“Sometimes all the foreign guys do is say a word wrong - and that causes a serious row. It's got way worse recently.”
Another cabbie, who did not wish to be named, revealed passengers regularly called to demand a British driver.
He said; “We get about half a dozen calls a week from people saying they won't get in the cab if it's driven by a foreigner.
“We even had a row with a rich guy in Rottingdean who said 'I don't want any n****** picking me up”.
Figures show the number of complaints made about taxi drivers soared from 226 in 2009 to 488 this year - but few of the grievances result in disciplinary action for drivers.
In a six week period earlier this year, seven drivers were handed written warnings, one driver was been suspended, and one more had their license revoked.
Mr Cheesman put the rise in complaints down to the soaring number of foreign drivers in Brighton and Hove, with more than 1700 cabbies now plying their trade in the city.
He said: “For many of them, English is their third or fourth language.
“A lot come here with competent English skills but they can't necessarily read or write that well. So they've become very good taxi drivers."