Danger taxis pulled off Southport roads in cab crackdown
MORE than 100 taxis were found operating on our roads with faults between September and November. Problems with tyres, lights and bodywork were among reasons for handing out 122 Vehicle Deficiency Notices (VDNs) to drivers during that period. Another 26 cabs were pulled off the road after inspectors decided they were too dangerous to drive.
The figures were revealed in a report to the Hackney Carriage/Private Hire Joint Working Group, which is meeting on Tuesday morning. From September 2 to November 22 this year, 387 taxis were inspected by council enforcement officers. Of the 57 Hackney Carriages checked, 25 were found to have faults.
Those issued with VDNs consisted of problems with exhausts, lights, seating and bodywork. More seriously, four of the 57 were taken from the road after it was decided they were unfit to drive. In total, 330 private hire taxis were inspected – 98 of which were given VDNs and 22 forced to stop operating as nearly 40% were found to be faulty.
George Halsall, of the North Sefton Hackney Carriage Association, expressed his concern over the amount of vehicles that were forced to be taken off the borough’s roads. He did, however, urge caution over interpreting the amount of cars given VDNs, revealing deficiencies included minor faults such as broken bulbs on lights inside the cars and scratches more than an inch long.
Mr Halsall said: “I think quite a lot of the vehicle checks were minor defaults, such as bulbs out. “What worries me is how many stop notices there are because they are real big issues. Whereas the defects can happen anytime, most drivers that I know do check their vehicles daily.”
Mr Halsall hailed the figures as representative of progress in improving the standard of taxi safety on our roads. He said: “Because we have extra teams the council are stepping up their checks on the vehicles, which is good.”
With trade expected to rise over the festive period Mr Halsall urged party-goers not to get into private hire taxis unless they are pre-booked, otherwise the passengers are not insured in the case of an accident.
Taxi checks in Reddich uncover safety concerns
AN UNDERCOVER operation has revealed a series of safety breaches among some taxis.
Licensing enforcement officers from Worcestershire Regulatory Services, acting on behalf of Redditch Borough Council, carried out spot-checks in the town last Friday (December 2) along with police and officials from VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency).
In total 24 random vehicles were checked and seven drivers were issued with prohibition notices, banning further use of the vehicle, after being found in breach of safety standards. Some problems were serious enough to need a new MOT and problems unearthed included bald or flat tyres, fuel leaks, excessive smoke emissions and lights not working.
A number of minor faults were also discovered such as roof lights which did not work, incorrect signage or plates being displayed incorrectly and drivers now have to show they have had the faults repaired to be able to continue to operate.
Mark Kay, licensing manager for Worcestershire Regulatory Services, said the majority of taxis on Redditch roads were legal and safe and the operation had been welcomed by the taxi trade.
“Licensed Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles play an important role in Redditch, especially in relation to the night time economy, but we need to send out a clear message we will not tolerate any breaches of licensing conditions that could have a negative impact on public safety,” he said.
Coun Juliet Brunner, responsible for community safety on the council and who accompanied officials on the operation, added: “Paying customers have a right to expect a safe and comfortable journey, but they are not always best placed to check the condition of a vehicle before getting in to it, particularly at the end of a long night out.
“We have a duty to ensure our taxis are operating within the law and with due regard to the safety and comfort of passengers, and there can be no compromise when it comes to the safety of the travelling public.”
Taxi spot-checks in Colne show major improvement
PENDLE Council carried out on-the-spot safety checks on 23 taxis in Colne on Friday, November 25th.
They worked with the police and Vehicle and Operator Services Agency to ensure vehicles were roadworthy and had the correct signs, licence plates and road tax.
They also checked drivers were licensed and had their ID badges.
Five taxis had to be taken off the road due to minor faults, but all were fixed and back on the road the next day.
Coun. Pauline McCormick, chairman of the Taxi Licensing Committee, said: “The number of taxis failing the test was a major improvement compared with previous spot checks.
“I hope this continues into the New Year when we will continue to work with the police and VOSA carrying out random checks on vehicles.
“If you want to report a taxi you think may have defects, get in touch with our taxi licensing team who will look into it.
“You might also want to tell them about a good service you’ve had from a Pendle taxi firm.”
You can contact the taxi licensing team on 661638 or e-mail email@example.com.
Danger taxis taken off Coventry roads in police crackdown
MORE than half of the taxis checked by police during a night-time crackdown in Coventry were found to be defective – including eight which were thought to be so dangerous they were immediately taken off the roads.
Dangerous tyres, insecure disabled ramps, corrosion and defective lights were among the faults found by officers in the city on Friday. The operation, which was prompted by complaints from the public, ran between 6.30pm and 11.30pm.
In total 43 taxis – without passengers – were stopped and escorted by police motorcyclists to a testing site in Foleshill Road.
The vehicles were examined by officers from Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) to check drivers were adhering to their taxi licences.
Drivers were also spoken to by taxi enforcement officers, benefits investigation officers made checks to ensure drivers were only claiming for the benefits they were entitled to and Revenue and Customs officers tested the drivers fuel tanks to ensure they were running on the correct type of fuel.
The taxis tested were licensed by both Coventry City Council and Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council and were both private hire cars and black cabs.
In total 23 vehicles were found to be defective and eight of those were taken off the roads immediately because the defects were so serious.
The drivers of those eight taxis were made the subject of a Prohibition Notice, meaning they cannot be driven until the defect is corrected and the vehicle undergoes a full MOT to prove it is roadworthy.
Seven fixed penalty notices were issued, carrying three penalty points and a £60 fine.
One of the drivers now faces possible court action after three out the four tyres on his car were worn below the legal tread limit.
Another driver also faces possible court action after it was discovered he was unlicensed, driving a car marked up as a taxi. He was also found to be driving with incorrect insurance and driving a car in a dangerous condition, as some of the cars’ lights were in danger of falling off.
PC Dean Wainwright, of West Midlands Police, led the operation and said there were further checks planned for the future.
He said: “We did come across some taxi drivers who took pride in their vehicles and had immaculate taxis.
“But more than 50 per cent of the taxis we stopped had defects.
“There is no excuse for drivers to drive around with defective tyres. People who are paying for a taxi, rightly expect that car to be safe and roadworthy.
Taxi checks in the city have been taking place since January 2007. A total of 879 vehicles have now been examined and 401 vehicles were found to be defective