One in ten taxis tested in Cornwall has been banned from the road.
Police and safety officials pulled over more than a hundred from Saltash to St Ives.
Among the problems found were worn tyres and frayed seatbelts.
Teams checked vehicles in Saltash, St Austell ,Camborne, Redruth and most recently around Bodmin, Hayle and St Ives.
About fifty percent of those vehicles inspected had minor defects included missing fire extinguishers and first aid kits, and broken light covers.
Roads Policing Inspector at Bodmin Martin Taylor said: “We understand that taxis are a valuable part of the local economy and our job is to make sure they are safe and people have the confidence to leave their own cars at home and use taxis when they have been drinking.
“We will continue making these checks and hope people see this as a positive step to increase their confidence in the licensing and enforcement authorities. Part of our aim is to support the majority of taxi operators who run safe and lawful businesses and we thank them for their compliance”.
FIANNA Fail went after the votes of nearly 20,000 taxi drivers today by promising a moratorium on new licences.
The Herald can reveal that Transport Minister Pat Carey is set to announce a new policy that will freeze the deregulation of taxis.
The party is also prepared to overlook new rules which state that no taxi should be older than nine years.
“It is clear to me that while deregulation of the taxi industry has improved the availability of taxis for customers, it is important that we also have regard to the right of taxi drivers to make a decent living. It is important to strike a balance,” Mr Carey told the Herald.
More than 13,500 licensed taxis pile into Dublin city every day while there are also over 4,000 regional operators.
This is on a par with cities such as New York and London which have populations of 14m and 10m respectively.
Taxi unions have repeatedly protested against deregulation, which has seen taxi numbers soar in recent years.
And today Fianna Fail changed the stance of former Minister Noel Dempsey, who refused to curtail the growing numbers.
Mr Carey has discussed the issue with party leader Micheal Martin and new transport spokesman Billy Kelleher, who both agreed that taximen were being put under “intolerable pressure”.
In an election document to be revealed this evening, they say that the industry has become “oversubscribed” and “this situation has caused real difficulties for those working in the industry”.
The news is likely to be welcomed by existing taxi drivers, especially in the capital where there are nearly three times as many taxis as places on ranks.
Fianna Fail says that it wants to recreate a taxi regime which is “affordable, accessible and provides a quality service”.
“We accept that there have been significant increases in the number of taxis on our roads since deregulation in 2000,” the new policy says.
Mr Carey has written to the National Transport Authority, which manages the regulation of the Small Public Transport Vehicle Sector, to inform it of his party’s position.
In the letter he said that Fianna Fail believes “the introduction of a cap on numbers will make the taxi industry fairer, safer and better equipped to deal with the needs of taxi drivers and the general public alike”.
He also noted that the party will support the suspension of the introduction of the ‘Nine Year Rule’ on the replacement of taxis to July 31, 2012.
“Fianna Fail will implement new legislation to robustly enforce taxi regulation and to increase penalties for those operating illegal taxis,” the new policy document concludes.
SNP Transport Spokesperson, Angus MacNeil MP, today (Friday) warned that soaring fuel prices are hindering economic recovery. Mr MacNeil added that the SNP will make the record high price of fuel a central issue in the forthcoming Scottish election.
Mr MacNeil’s remarks come as the latest AA Fuel Price Report showed that Scotland’s drivers are paying the highest petrol prices in Europe while the cost is falling across the continent.
Last week, the SNP and Plaid Cymru group at Westminster called a vote demanding the immediate introduction of a fuel duty regulator and a rural fuel derogation to ease the pressure of motorists and hauliers. Liberal Democrat and Conservative MPs voted against whilst most Labour Members abstained.
Commenting Mr MacNeil said:
“It’s a national scandal that, in an oil rich country like Scotland, we are paying the highest fuel prices in Europe.
“High prices are hindering economic recovery by driving up bills for hard-pressed households and businesses – particularly the haulage industry.
“The UK Government have the means to stop this highway robbery but Tory and Lib Dem MPs combined to vote against measures to bring down fuel costs whilst Labour abstained en masse.
“Both the Tories and Lib Dems promised to take action but so far noting has happened – and the silence from Labour north of the border shows they are out of touch on this issue.
“What Ministers in London are clearly forgetting is that for many people in Scotland, a car is a necessity and not a luxury. It’s time for real action not warm words.
“If Westminster won’t act then we need to equip the Scottish Parliament with the powers so that it can deliver instead. Fuel prices are a crucial issue for households and businesses, and the SNP will now make them a central issue for the Holyrood elections in May.”
ROUND-THE-CLOCK opening could return to a taxi rank in the heart of York after its operation was scaled back.
A review of York’s taxi arrangements by a City of York Council task group has recommended bringing the rank at Duncombe Place back into 24-hour use for a year-long trial following a campaign by drivers.
The rank is currently only allowed to open between 7.30am and 10pm. The curfew was introduced amid fears about anti-ocial behaviour in the area and noise from passenger queues disturbing guests at the nearby Dean Court Hotel.
The council’s taxi licensing policy group now says anti-crime measures, including better lighting, cutting back bushes and shrubbery in the neighbouring gardens and an alcohol ban, had dealt with many of those issues. Its members also said Duncombe Place was a “popular” rank for late-night revellers and theatre-goers, and taxis already regularly picked up customers from the street after being flagged down.
The group’s recommendations also include encouraging the inclusion of taxi ranks within major developments such as York’s community stadium, and producing a map of the current ranks’ opening times to boost awareness.
They will now go before the council’s community safety overview and scrutiny committee for further consideration.
Following the restriction on Duncombe Place’s opening times, 180 drivers signed a petition calling for it to be allowed to operate overnight, saying it was the safest rank in the city.
A report by officers which went before a meeting of the task group yesterday said: “The task group acknowledged the council’s efforts to improve the area adjacent to the rank location and the improvements to street lighting around the memorial gardens.
“They also noted there was little evidence to substantiate that the use of the rank gives rise to noise disturbance. They recognise that a hackney carriage can pick up passengers in any street and can be flagged down when not already booked, irrespective of the operation of the rank.”
TAXI drivers have been fined for dropping elderly women off at the door to their local cafés for their daily cuppa.
Pearl Penhall gets a lift each day to Snax Cafe in Bedminster’s East Street which is now closed to through vehicles.
Cabbie John Shamis was given a ticket for using the street to drive the 73-year-old to the front of the cafV rather than making her walk round the corner from Warden Street with her zimmer frame.
Pensioner Mrs Penhall, who lives in a block of flats in Ashton, told the Evening Post she couldn’t walk from the end of the road and didn’t want to give up her daily routine.
The elderly lady uses the taxi company as a lifeline to get out of her flat and is well known by the drivers, who take time to help her and other elderly passengers out of their cars and escort them to the door of the café.
“We’ve been bringing elderly and disabled people down this stretch for years,” Mr Shamis told the Post. “I was taking this young lady Pearl down and the officer wasn’t interested and hit me with a £30 fine.”
Mr Shamis, from Bedminster, is not alone.
He told the Post three of his colleagues had also been fined in the past six weeks for the same thing – dropping elderly or disabled clients as close as they could to their destination.
The shopping street in Bedminster is now closed to cars, with only buses and cyclists allowed to use the road as a cut-through to avoid a detour around Malago Road.
“I said I’m not cutting through but he wasn’t interested,” Mr Shamis explained.
The 25-year-old cabbie for Club Cars said he paid the subsequent fine because “to appeal it would have cost more money”.
“That officer should have looked and seen I had a disabled passenger,” he added.
“It is restricted to service vehicles and buses, but as far as we’re concerned we are just servicing the community.”
A council spokesman confirmed to the Post there is a ‘prohibition of driving order’ in force in East Street between 7am and 7pm which only allows buses and pedal cycles to travel through, “so any taxis driving along to drop off passengers will be penalised”.
“There are various side roads which would mean that a driver could drop the passenger very close to where they needed to go without transgressing the order,” he said.
But he confirmed traffic enforcement officers have room for discretion.
“It would be down to individual circumstances,” he added.
FEARS of traffic chaos during the Cheltenham Festival have been raised after it emerged taxi drivers will not be allowed to use a popular pick-up point.
Bosses at the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (Ucas) have withdrawn their site after a race-goer assaulted a security guard.
Residents say the Ucas decision will put a major strain on surrounding roads during the four-day event.
In recent years, pre-booked taxis have been allowed to wait for customers in the entrance to Ucas in New Barn Lane.
But Ucas spokesman Darren Barker said the arrangement resulted in a security guard being assaulted during a race meeting in late 2009.
He said: “There was an unfortunate incident when a member of our security staff was assaulted by a race-goer who was waiting for a taxi.
“It was too late to cancel the arrangement in time for last year’s Cheltenham Festival.
“However, this year taxis won’t be allowed to park in our main entrance.”
Prestbury parish councillor Richard Fuller said drivers would be forced to find other places to wait for punters.
“I foresee a major problem in residential areas,” he said. “Ucas acting as a pick-up point has been a big help in the past. Taxi drivers are now going to look for an alternative place to park.”
Yesterday, Cheltenham Borough Council was unable to comment on whether it would be conducting more parking patrols during race week. However, Mr Fuller said: “We have a good relationship with the borough council.
“They took action during the autumn meeting at the racecourse and we hope they will do the same in March so our streets are kept clear of cars.”
Prestbury Parish Council has preempted problems with race-goers spilling onto the streets carrying alcohol.
Racecourse bosses pledged to take preventative action.
Cheltenham Racecourse communications manager Andy Clifton said: “We have an excellent relationship with Prestbury Parish Council.
“Following a recent meeting we have agreed to remind customers not to take drinks off our property when they leave. We will include a message in the race card, signs on the exit routes and make an announcement at the course each day.”
Taxi drivers are predicting a “spring time of chaos” after being told the rank at Brighton Station will be closed for up to three months.
Cabbies, who pay £410 a year to use the rank, said they were only given a week’s warning that it will close during improvement works.
Southern Rail, which manages the station, is repainting the canopy as part of a £140,000 programme.
However taxi drivers are furious only eight spaces will be provided for them at the back of the station and say the work will leave them out of pocket.
A Southern spokesman said: “We apologise for any inconvenience caused to passengers while the work takes place but we are sure that the end result will be well worth any inconvenience caused.
“The canopy stretches across the entire face of the station and covers the taxi rank.
“To ensure the safety of passengers, taxi drivers and workmen, the taxi drivers are required to vacate the rank from next Monday for the duration of the job. They have been offered an alternative site at the rear of the station where a number of parking bays have been allocated exclusively for their use.”