Half of taxis are failing safety checks report reveals

By Ian Dipple Redditch standard


ALMOST half of all taxis inspected since the introduction of a new safety regime have failed tests.

Redditch Borough Council decided last year to bring taxi testing back in-house by carrying out safety inspections at a specialised centre at Crossgate depot and increasing the number of tests from once to twice a year.

And figures show between September, when the system was first introduced, and December of the 208 taxis inspected, 96 failed.

The main reasons were problems with headlights and no smoking signs or rear number plates being incorrectly displayed. But more serious faults were also uncovered regarding defective brakes, bald tyres and steering problems.

Councillors expressed their shock at the figures when they were revealed at a meeting on Monday (January 9).

Coun Juliet Brunner, responsible for community safety on the council, said the figures vindicated their decision to make the changes despite protests from taxi drivers at the time about the increase in costs


“I’ve always said we cannot compromise when it comes to the safety of the travelling public. I’m deeply saddened to have these figures before us showing the failure rate is approaching 50 per cent. It is really quite poor and we are working with Redditch Taxi Forum to try and address this. The evidence shows this was the right thing to do to keep the travelling public safe.”

Committee chairman Coun Mike Braley said drivers had to take responsibility for their vehicles.

“The message needs to go out to drivers this cannot continue. We might have to resort to somewhat more stringent tests if necessary.”

Charlie Withers, spokesman for Redditch Taxi Association, said the vast majority of taxi drivers did take proper care of their vehicles but admitted there was a minority which needed to be dealt with. He added most were happy with the new regime, which was working well, and their issue at the time had been the proposed hike in cost, not attempts to improve public safety, which they supported.

“I personally have no problems with the testing at the moment, they are being carried out professionally and if they are uncovering major problems then it is a good job they are being tested,” he said.

“It is up to the drivers, if they can’t be bothered to maintain their vehicle to get it through the test then they should not be on the road.”

 Half of taxis are failing safety checks report reveals | Redditch Standard