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An Uber driver who has been banned from operating taxis has called for his private hire licence to be reinstated after a court heard he subjected passengers to intimidation and sexual harassment.
Old Bailey heard that Ahmed Salamin, 42, threatened to kill a woman and her children after she told him she was going in the wrong direction.
He invited another woman to “come to my house in Pakistan,” and even an entrenched prison staff was shocked by his vulgar language.
But Salamin was so eager to get back behind the wheel that he twice appealed the refusal of the private rental permit.
The Old Bailey heard Salamin had received numerous complaints from passengers about him since March 2016.
On March 7, 2016, a woman claimed he drove recklessly before stranding her on the side of a busy dual carriageway.
Genevieve Moss, the prosecution, read the passenger’s complaint in court.
She said: “My experience was terrible, to say the least. I felt in danger and my safety was threatened.
“The driver made a dangerous U-turn on Kew Bridge Road and several cars shouted at us. I felt very unsafe.
“On the way to Chiswick we were hit by a truck due to dangerous driving.
“The truck stopped, Ahmed stopped, and I stopped because the truck driver had called the police. As a result, I was left alone on the side of the dual carriageway.
“The most disturbing aspect of the experience was how unsafe the experience was because of Ahmed’s driving.”
In another allegation, in June 2016, a woman claimed she “felt sexually harassed” after Salamin “complimented her too much throughout the trip.”
When Salamin ended the trip, he reportedly said, “No, I want to stay with you for a few more minutes.”
In May 2017, Salamin allegedly shook hands with a woman as she greeted her, then pulled her closer and kissed her “six or seven times”.
The passenger claimed that Salamin “said something inappropriate that made me feel unsafe as a woman traveling alone.”
In June 2017, a woman filed a lawsuit against Uber alleging that Salamin “threatened to kill her and her children” after an argument with the wrong turn.
Other charges include inviting a woman to Pakistan to stay at “her house”, drinking alcohol while driving, using a mobile phone while driving and swearing indecently.
In September 2018, a passenger said: “As someone who works in a prison, I’m not a desecrated person, but this makes me feel unsafe…”
As a result of these complaints, Uber terminated Salamin’s account on July 29, 2020.
In the summer of 2021, Transport for London rejected Salamin’s application to renew his private hire vehicle licence, as was his application for a new licence in January this year.
In April, Salamin appealed the decision, which was dismissed. She appealed for the second time at Old Bailey.
Salamin denies all allegations against her, claiming that she has no recollection of the events or that her alleged sexual comments were “misunderstood”.
When asked about the June 2017 incident, Salamin claimed he was the one who made the complaint against the woman.
He told the court: “She asked me ‘why are you here?’
“I said ‘Can’t you see what’s going on?’
“She told me ‘you’re a whore’, so I said, ‘Am I a whore?’
“We had an argument…the lady jumped out of the car, opened the back door, slammed the door shut [a] bus.
I didn’t see her damage the car at the time.
I closed the door and she came back with the police.
Salamin started working with Bolt after her Uber account was terminated, but her account was quickly shut down when more complaints were filed against her.
Salamin’s Rosa Bennathan said it wasn’t her customer’s bad behavior that led him to court today, but Uber’s policy of not properly investigating complaints because of the sheer number of customers.
Judge Alison Kay dismissed his appeal, saying: “Essentially, we have to put ourselves in the TFL’s shoes. [and] Consider Mr. Salamin’s suitability to hold a license, taking into account TFL policy and the law. “
Several complaints have been mentioned and reviewed.
“We think some of them are relatively trivial and may be based on misunderstandings.
But there are other issues that are more worrying.
“Taxi drivers are very concerned about the safety of the people they are travelling with.
“There is a very serious allegation related to an incident on June 10, 2017, [in which] Mr Salamin is said to have threatened to kill a female passenger and her child.
“There is no indication that there is any support for the allegation, such serious allegations, if true and believed to be true, would be prosecuted by the police.
“If this were an isolated complaint, it would be easy enough for us to say that Mr Salamin was not the right person.
“However, this was not an isolated incident and he had a pattern of misconduct.
Although he denies ever doing so.
‘He did not explain the number of incidents satisfactorily.
“We believe that such allegations are unlikely to be unfounded.
“The advice is there’s always an incentive to file a chargeback complaint, but when you see what’s being said, it seems to be true and has the kind of detail you’d expect, and if it’s someone doing it, the true statement wins made false allegations.
“We are not satisfied with the sufficient evidence that Mr Salamin is fit to hold a licence and we therefore refuse to appeal.”
Salamin was also ordered to pay £500 in costs.
He claims he will not return to Uber even if his appeal is allowed.
He said: “My life is upside down.
‘I forgive.Even this lady, if she didn’t damage my door, I [wouldn’t have chased after her].
“I need to work, keep working, that’s all”.
Salamin supports his wife and two children, aged 4 and 2, who live with their parents in Pakistan.
Since he lost his license, he has been unable to work, living on universal credit and dwindling savings.