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Rival sabotaged Accrington taxi firm on New Year

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Rival sabotaged Accrington taxi firm on New Year

Post by Aftab on Tue 6 Jan 2009 - 3:57

"Rival sabotaged Accrington taxi firm on New Year"

1:20pm Monday 5th January 2009

A TAXI firm’s state-of-the-art radio equipment was sabotaged on one of the busiest nights of the year, bosses have claimed.

And the owner of Accrington-based Betty’s Private Hire claimed someone, possibly a rival, had jammed the airwaves, leaving many customers without a taxi home after New Year celebrations.

Montgomery Fenton Hunt, who has run the 25-year-old firm for nine years, said the lines to all 18 taxi drivers were jammed from 12.10am to 3am on New Year’s Day.

This meant the firm was only able to get to 40 of its 100 callers wanting taxis as bosses could not get hold of all its drivers.

Mr Hunt said he apologised to all customers affected.

But he said he was to ask Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, to investigate the incident as it is not a police matter.

The 60,000 Autocab Data System was installed at Betty’s Private Hire two years ago.

But Mr Hunt said their high-tech system’s signal was jammed. He believes someone, possibly a rival, had discovered their frequency and blocked it.

Mr Hunt said: “Everyone was getting frustrated and it was utter chaos.

“The system was jammed and I was ringing the drivers from my mobile to their’s to send them to their destinations.

“The drivers could not contact me through the radio. I sent them to the destination through mobile phone calls, but some customers had gone and other times drivers were circling the area trying to find them.

“The drivers weren’t making any money and the customers weren’t being attended to.

“It is very difficult to find out the frequency of the airwaves on the Autocab system.

“I think it is jealousy. It is very difficult to do. You have to know the airwaves we use.

“It is very expensive to install and very few taxi firms have the Autocab Data System.”

He added: “I want to apologise to all of our customers who were left disappointed.”

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