... and one cab­bie didn’t have a driv­ing li­cence

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By MATTHEW REVILLE

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.

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