Mendip needs to get control of dangerous taxi problem
With the latest round of taxi inspections that have taken place with Mendip District Council, Vosa and the police I am left very disappointed and outraged that more than a third of hackney vehicles stopped were deemed unsafe and were given prohibition orders.
The faults ranged from bald tyres, lights not working, blacked out window, suspension joints and one taxis was found with illegal substances on the steering wheel.
30 taxis stopped and 13 of them deemed unsafe, this is disgusting, this has been going on for many years and it is a problem that MDC have never gained control of.
MDC license these vehicle and MDC have an obligation to ensure that all licensed vehicles are kept to a standard that meet the regulations, the last real purge on taxis was 2008, four years on and we still have the same problems. I started a taxi company in 1990, I have seen a few taxis inspection operations and they always have a disappointing result, please see the letter the trade received from MDC in 1997.
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The Miscellaneous Act which all licensed operators should comply with states that the operator of a licensed vehicle should be fit and proper.
We have to ask the question, if your vehicle if found with illegal substances on the steering wheel or if you have been found with a vehicle that is no where near the required standard, are you fit to operate? I would say no, so why are these operators allowed to continue?
The fare paying passengers trust that if they use a taxi it will be safe, the driver is not stoned and that all regulations are adhered to, this is clearly not the case and it is just not good enough.
There are a large number of good operators out there but clearly a third of taxi operators are rogues, how do we expect the fare paying passenger to distinguish between them, are we asking all passenger to check the taxi over for faults before they get in it, do all passengers have to carry drug testing kit to check the driver is not stoned.
The parent that lets their child ride to school in a taxi or the son/daughter of an ageing parent that goes to a care home would be mortified if their loved ones were riding in one of these vehicles. That's a real shame when two thirds of operators follow every rule to maintain a safe fleet.
Most taxi operators know who these rogues are, MDC could name them but they seam very scared to do so, I would have thought they had a duty to inform the public myself. Its no wonder that the taxi trade is suffering, people must be terrified to get in one and who can blame them.
I know that I am not alone with my views because two thirds of the taxi operators have been voicing their concerns to me for over a week now, my phone has not stopped ringing. I hope this paper will allow those good operators to have their say and make them selves know.
I would be very interested to read a letter from one of the rogues too, I would like to hear the justification for charging passengers to ride in an unsafe vehicle, I would love to hear why a driver has illegal substances in the vehicle on the steering wheel.
We all have to ask when MDC are going to get a grip on this.