Concerns have been raised over the safety of taxis in Hyndburn after a crackdown operation found faults with TWO-THIRDS of checked vehicles.
Hyndburn Police joined forces with officers from Hyndburn council and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) for the random inspections in Accrington.
Police said seven out of the 11 taxis checked were found to have a ‘variety of faults’ including brake fluid leaks, defective seat belts, worn tyres, insecure batteries, engine management warnings and broken electric windows. One vehicle also had to be towed away.
Former Hyndburn council leader Peter Britcliffe said the figures ‘are a cause for great concern’ and called for more regular taxi checks.
He said: “One hopes they are not representative of all the taxis in Hyndburn, but obviously these sorts of figures are a cause for great concern because we are talking about the safety of the travelling public.
“I feel the council should write to all taxi owners telling them what’s happened here and to make sure their vehicles are in order.”
Hyndburn Police said more inspections will take place over the next few months.
A spokesperson said: “This operation was not only to ensure the safety of all persons using the taxis, including the driver, but also to ensure a level playing field for the large majority of taxi drivers who do ensure that their vehicles are of the required standard.”
Talib Zahman, owner of Max Cabs in Accrington, admitted the figures ‘don’t look good’ but believes the majority of taxis across the borough are safe.
He said: “It’s unfortunate. The figures don’t look good as a percentage but the majority are very good and have no problems.
“The vehicles themselves are tested three times a year to make sure they are in good nick. We do our best but unfortunately there’s a small number of people who don’t do it. We always work closely with the council to make sure drivers look after their cars.”
Hyndburn council said all taxis in the borough are required to pass ‘enhanced MOT checks’ every six months if they are less than seven years old and every four months if they are over that age.
A Hyndburn council spokesperson told the Observer: “As the checks are random, we can’t comment on whether the vehicles checked in this latest operation are representative of the total taxi fleet or not.”