Spot checks find standard of south Somerset taxis has deteriorated
Over a third of taxis randomly stopped in south Somerset last month were found to be below standard.
Two taxis were taken off the road immediately and three were given delayed prohibition notices by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) for issues such as excessive smoke, leaking steering rack gators and leaking CV boots.
The defects were found during unexpected stop checks on 18 vehicles across the district in a joint operation by Avon and Somerset Constabulary, VOSA and South Somerset District Council.
Two cars were taken off the road after major defects were found. One had a tyre below the legal minimum tread depth, while the other had a faulty seat belt clasp. Two other vehicles were given advice regarding faulty number plate lights.
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Nigel Marston, licensing manager at the district council, said the fall in standards of taxis on the road was "disappointing".
He said: "It was disappointing to note that the standards of vehicles on the road has deteriorated since our last checks. It was worrying to find a taxi with defective tyres, as drivers should check these daily.
"We will continue to work closely with our partners at VOSA and the Avon and Somerset road Policing Unit to drive up the standards of taxis and private hire vehicles across the district.
"People using the taxis are just as concerned as we are about their safety and everyone seemed pleased to see us checking the vehicles that they were travelling in."
The spot checks were carried out on Friday, December 7.
District councillor Peter Seib, portfolio holder for Regulatory and Democratic Services, said: "People expect to be at least as safe in a taxi as any other public transport.
"At this time of year it becomes even more important when roads are slippy and lanes are dark. Plying for trade in an unsafe vehicle is just ripping people off."