NEW measures to improve the safety of converted minibuses are to be implemented by Hyndburn Council.
At present the vehicles undergo an MOT test carried out by the council, but the new requirements will ensure they meet crash test safety standards to ensure passengers’ safety.
Before being licenced, the taxi minibuses will need to produce an M1 certificate – proving that the conversion has veen completed as a factory fit, converted at a certified test centre or by gaining a self-certificate from the engineer.
The council said the restrictions would improve safety and were being adopted as best practice measures as they were not mandatory.
Council leader Peter Britcliffe said: “It’s not something councils are being forced to do – it’s best practice and making minibuses safer.”
The certification was due to be enforced from 1 August, but the date has been delayed until 1 February.
Councillor Britcliffe added: “Every time we bring new measures in, it is costly for the drivers and they need more time to fulfil the requirements. We are confident that safety isn’t being compromised by this action.”
However, Labour councillor Graham Jones said he was concerned that the dates had been changed, allowing unsafe vehicles to continue to operate.
He said: “At the moment minibuses aren’t tested to a safety standard. We have been told that some minibus drivers are having back street conversions and under this scheme there’s no way they will be able to get safety certificates.
“Some drivers have gone through the necessary process and are outraged that people are being given extra time and that unsafe vehicles are going back on the road.”