A CITY taxi firm has defended the actions of a taxi driver after claims were made on social media that he demanded money from a woman while her husband was being treated by paramedics. Cathedral Cars have strongly refuted the claim adding “at no point” did their driver ask for any sum of money, after a Facebook post gained widespread attention.

But Ian McCulloch, the son-in-law of the man who was taken to hospital after collapsing, says he has complained to the firm, and to Worcestershire Regulatory Services. He says his is furious that “no compassion was shown at all.”

Mr McCulloch said the family who live in Worcester, near to the Virgin Tavern, in Tolladine Road, went there on Saturday, April 17, to enjoy a drink after Covid restrictions were lifted. Mr McCullock said: “

We had two beers and called Cathedral Cars for a taxi to pick them up and take them home at around 1.45pm. The taxi arrived, I helped them both up, and my mother-in law into the taxi. My father-in-law stood to walk to the taxi, he become disoriented and collapsed. I managed to catch him. The ambulance arrived, and my mother-in-law went with him (to hospital). When I was looking after him, the taxi driver demanded money - £5 - from my mother in law, and she paid this. The taxi driver insisted that my mother-in-law pay for the taxi

“I have witnesses to this (who were at the pub). I phoned them up and I said the least they can do is make a donation to the air ambulance for what he did, the disgraceful way he (the driver) acted. As far as we were concerned (at the time) my father-in-law lay on the floor dying, while he has been asking for £5. All he wanted was his money.

My father-in-law is doing well now. I am disgusted by what happened.”

Cathedral Cars was contacted for comment but did not provide a response before our deadline, though the firm did ask it was made clear their drivers are self-employed. In a social media post, the firm said: “The first passenger entered the taxi and while making their way to the taxi it is believed the second passenger started to suffer from an unexpected health complication . Another individual, not part of the initial booking, approached the driver in our taxi and had asked him if there is a call out charge for this booking to which the driver told this individual that the call out charge was £3.60. This individual then consulted with the initial passenger and re-approached the driver and voluntarily produced £5 and expressed to the driver that they could leave the area. At no point did our driver directly and/or indirectly ask any of the passengers for any sum of money.”

"After these events we believe the individual who first made the booking then contacted the office in a enraged manner multiple times through the rest of the day with demands that they would like to receive 10 times the amount of money given to the driver.

"The caller then described having multiple witnesses to the events that transpired, however at the time of writing none of these additional witnesses has not come forward to describe their version of events.

"The caller asked to come to the office for an in person chat with management and we also offered to call the driver into the office to work a peaceful solution to these events however the individual did not turn up to this meeting. Any complaints about a drivers service or attitude should be forwarded to the proper employers, in this case the Worcester Regulatory Services and Worcester City Council employ and badge all taxi drivers allowing them to work in the city and for organisations like us.

"This matter is now still on going and we are not in a position to reveal anything more until it is fully resolved. We have been proudly serving our local community 24 hours every day of the year for the past 20 plus years and counting and we hope to do so for many more."

A spokesman for Worcestershire Regulatory Service (WRS) said: "Allegations of poor customer service or alleged inappropriate behaviour by any licensed taxi driver reported to the council, will be fully investigated by WRS.

"If it is found a driver has acted in an unprofessional manner, further action may be taken by the council either by way of a formal warning, suspension or ultimately the possible revocation of their licence”.