UNFIT TAXIS TAKEN OFF ROAD
... and one cabbie didn’t have a driving licence
A SPOT check on city taxis and private hire vehicles has raised questions about passenger safety – after more than half were found to be taking clients despite flouting regulations.
Routine checks on 30 Hackney Carriages and private hire vehicles were carried out on Bourges Boulevard last Friday in a joint effort by Peterborough City Council, Cambridgeshire police and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA).
Sixteen were found to be flouting the rules.
Four vehicles were found to have mechanical faults, including defective hand brakes, steering faults and unroadworthy tyres.
Drivers of those vehicles deemed unroadworthy had their right to accept customers suspended. However, after making relevant changes to their cars –verified by police, VOSA and the council – they will be able to resume trade.
One private hire driver, from Huntingdon, was driving despite having his licence revoked and has been referred to Cambridgeshire police.
A further 11 drivers were found to have breached licensing conditions, such as failing to maintain records, not wearing identity badges and not having fire extinguishers in their vehicles. All 11 drivers got between two and four points on their taxi licence.
Any driver getting 12 points with- in a 12 month period could lose their licence.
Councillor Peter Hiller, Peterborough City Council cabinet member for Housing, Neighbourhoods and Planning, said: “We will not tolerate illegal vehicles on the streets of Peterborough.
“They are potentially putting lives at risk. We have to ensure that members of the public can travel safely and we will continue to carry out these spot checks to ensure taxi drivers are keeping their vehicles up to standard, as well as working to regulations.”
Brian Gascoyne, secretary for Peterborough Hackney Carriages Driving Federation, said: “If it is one driver flouting regulations, it is one driver too many. By transporting passengers, these drivers have something much more precious than any Securicor vehicles and they must realise that.”
He said rule breakers tarnished the reputation of other drivers, adding: “Hackney Carriage drivers go through a vigorous vehicle inspection every six months.”
The operation saw vehicles diverted into Toys ‘R’ Us car park, between 6.30pm and 12.30am.
Taxi enforcement officer for Peterborough City Council, Ian Robinson, said: “These operations are staged regularly without warning.
“We found a number of vehicles with serious mechanical faults that put the drivers and public at risk.
“Public safety is our first concern and these operations send out a strong message to drivers that we will not tolerate regulations being flouted.”
VOSA senior vehicle examiner Dave Unsworth said: “VOSA is determined to ensure Peterborough’s roads are safe and it seemed like the check was well received.”
CRACKDOWN: A police officer carrying out spot checks on taxi drivers and their vehicles.
CHECKS: Officers examined Hackney Carriage taxis and private hire vehicles on Bourges Boulevard last Friday.