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Taxi drivers claim new safety rules are too strict

07/06/2013

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By Liam Thorp, Reporter

Click here to read on the Bolton News website

TAXI drivers in Bolton have condemned what they claim are harsh new measures to test the safety and standards of taxis.

Some operators are claiming that cars are failing MOTs for “minor” reasons, leaving them off the road with potential financial implications — but Bolton Council has strongly rejected the claims.

Earlier this year the council introduced new rules for the testing of Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles with what bosses said were “more robust measures for identifying and suspending vehicles with serious defects”.

The move followed news that almost half of all taxis stopped in snap inspections in Bolton last year were suspended from carrying passengers for breaking council rules.

Simon Regan, operator of Jenon Travel in Kentmere Road, said: “There is definitely an overreaction.

“Some of the reasons they are failing cars are pathetic — things like a few scratches and having stickers in the wrong place can leave a car off the road, or a bulb going out, which can happen at any time.

“Once you’ve sorted the MOT, it takes three days to process a license which turns into five with a weekend — that’s a lot of time off the road.

“It meant I was off the road from Friday to Tuesday which may have cost me up to £700 in trade.”

Bolton Private Hire Association spokesman Mohammed Ilyas said: “There is a big concern that these tests are too hard and present too many obstacles to taxi drivers.

“We agree with the council that safety must come first but we do not want unnecessary obstacles.”

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “We have a legal duty to ensure that taxis are roadworthy and are fit for purpose.

“The safety of road users and passengers is paramount and we now immediately suspend vehicles that have serious faults, however, we do not take taxis off the road solely for minor defects such as scratches and damaged labels or signs.”

She added: “Only Bolton Council-approved garages achieving the VOSA green rating are able to carry out taxi MOTs and this system has been developed in consultations with VOSA and taxi trade representatives.”

To see the list of defects that taxis can be failed for visit bolton.gov.uk/website/pages/taxis.

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