Driver blames slow horse in ride rip-off

Landaus on the new look Promenade
Landaus on the new look Promenade
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A LANDAU carriage driver who overcharged a passenger claimed he could not have asked for too much money for the ride – as his horse was not fast enough.

David Simmons fell foul of the horse driven carriage ride rules when a council officer went undercover.

Simmons, 27, of Chislehurst Avenue, South Shore, pleaded guilty to overcharging when he appeared before Blackpool Magistrates Court.

Sharon Davies, prosecuting for Blackpool Council, said the landau rides were governed by a table of tariffs ruled by the time the journey took. The fare for the first 15 minutes, or part of 15 minutes, should be £15.

On September 22, at 8.14pm, during the Illuminations, a council officer made a test purchase of a landau ride.

He got in opposite the Funland Amusement centre and asked to be taken to South Pier.

Simmons charged him £25 up front. The officer timed the journey.

It took 11 minutes, so the fare should have been £15.

When confronted Simmons said he had asked for the money up-front as lone male passengers had been known to run off without paying.

He maintained the journey had taken more than 15 minutes.

Simmons expressed surprise the officer said it had taken 11 minutes – as he did not think his horse was fast enough.

Simmons told magistrates: “I did not have a fast horse.

“Everyone who drives carriages says it can’t be done in that time.

“You have six lights to go through on the journey.

“I have had my licence to drive a carriage for three years and it’s my first offence.”

Simmons was fined £50 and ordered to pay £100 costs plus the £15 victims’ surcharge by Blackpool magistrates.

Trading Standards bosses today gave advice to members of the public who are worried they may be ripped off when riding on Blackpool’s famous landaus.

A Blackpool Council spokesman: “Lots of people enjoy landau rides along the Promenade and it’s a great way of seeing the Illuminations.

“As with everything, you just need to be sure that you get what you pay for.

“When it comes to landau rides, we encourage everybody to make sure that they check the fare plate first.

“Make a note of the amount of time that you have paid for in the carriage and be aware of how long your ride has taken.

“That way you can be sure of getting value for money.

“This case has been led by Blackpool Council’s Trading Standards and if anybody else is unsure about a consumer issue, then they can get advice by contacting the helpline.”

Anyone who believes they may have been victim of a scam can contact the council on (01253) 478385.