Taxis and private hire vehicles in Milton Keynes break rules more than 1,000 times in a year

A former transport spokesman has been left ‘horrified’ after it was revealed taxis and private hire vehicles breached MOT and other regulations more than 1,100 times in just a year.

Alderman Paul Bartlett, a former Milton Keynes Councillor who represented Stony Stratford for 16 years, submitted a freedom of information request to the council.

The response he got left him shocked as it showed there were 1,140 breaches by Private Hire and Hackney vehicles in Milton Keynes from April 2015 to April 2016.

Mr Bartlett said: “It’s only because of the increasing vigilance of Council Officers and the Chairman of the Licensing Committee that dodgy drivers’ are being pulled off the roads.

“I am horrified by these figures and astounded that following the so-called Taxigate scandal when the Liberal Democrat Mayor sponsored a private hire sex offender so many companies and so many drivers’ simply have not ‘got it’ that they are licensed to provide the public a safe and secure service.”

And Mr Bartlett feels identifying companies who regularly breach the regulations would allow passengers greater control over their journeys.

He said: “It is time that dodgy companies and drivers are named and shamed so that passengers can make their choice on who they choose to ferry them around Milton Keynes.

“Maybe if businesses in Milton Keynes stopped using private hire companies that fail to provide a service that can be guaranteed to be safe the companies and drivers will finally get the message.”

A spokesman for Milton Keynes Council told OneMK: “The Council carries out its duties under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and conducts a vehicle compliance test of all the vehicles it licences either twice or three times a year (on first application and subsequent renewals).

“Once licensed the Council’s enforcement team conducts regular enforcement operations to ensure that those vehicles licensed continue to meet the relevant requirements. The Council’s requirements are published in its Policy and these require the structural safety and mechanics of the vehicle to be above and beyond the legal MOT requirements.

“There are three types of action that the Council can take under the above legislation when a vehicle fails below the standard required by the Council and it depends on whether it is a vehicle with a current licence or without. We will revoke, issue an immediate suspension or issue a delayed suspension where a licence is held or refuse a licence if the vehicle is not currently licensed.

“We therefore record the data in that manner based upon the legal route used and not the actual physical reason for the action. Due to the general request of the FOI we provided the answers in one figure.

“The Council licences just over 1,000 vehicles, all tested two or three times a year. The majority of the 1,140 incidents will follow these checks. As such the vehicle is prevented from being used and not licensed until it meets our requirements. If the vehicle is already licensed then the licence is suspended or revoked until we are satisfied that the vehicle is fit for use.

“There is of course substantial enforcement action taken by the Council which results in road side spot checks by our patrol officer who will issue notices where defects are found on vehicles, and enforcement operations where Council officers in conjunction with the Police conduct road side checks and request vehicles to attend the Council workshop for a full vehicle examination.

“The figures we provided therefore include all routine tests and enforcement action that resulted in refusal, suspension or delayed suspension or enforcement action that resulted in revocation, suspension or delayed suspension. The 1,140 figure does not distinguish between all these different type of vehicle failures but they range from tyres below the legal limit to not displaying smoke signs.

“The figure however is correct for the period of time given.”

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