Taxis in Lancaster and Morecambe fail spot checks

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Safety checks on taxis in Morecambe and Lancaster revealed illegal tyres and empty fire extinguishers.

More than 80 hackney and private hire taxis were checked in one single day by Lancaster City Council licensing officers and the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), working with local taxi firms.

The checks were carried out with no advanced notice. Taxi drivers were told on the day to attend a car park at Morecambe Town Hall.

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But a DVSA officer said he noticed a ‘significant number’ of taxis arriving with new tyres as the day rolled on.

Spot checks have been carried out on cabs in Lancaster and Morecambe.Spot checks have been carried out on cabs in Lancaster and Morecambe.
Spot checks have been carried out on cabs in Lancaster and Morecambe.

A report to Lancaster City Council’s Licensing Committee states: “In total, 83 vehicle inspections were carried out on the day. Thirty Hackney carriages and 53 private hire vehicles were checked. Licensing staff issued 11 defect notices and three suspension notices. The DVSA [which focused on mechanical issues] issued three prohibition notices.

“The majority of defects were in relation to the poor condition of door signs, expired fire extinguishers and damage to vehicle body work. A handful of vehicles were suspended due to more serious defects including illegal tyres.

“The DVSA issued three prohibition notices due to tyres being below the legal limit and an indicator not working.”

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At the time of writing the report, of the 11 defect notices issued, three were outstanding and all suspensions had been lifted.

Spot checks being carried out on cabs.Spot checks being carried out on cabs.
Spot checks being carried out on cabs.

An extra report from Tony Wilson, a DVSA inspector, states: “The first two taxis inspected were issued with immediate prohibition notices. One had a tyre below the legal limit and the other had two illegal front tyres.“A third taxi was issued with an immediate prohibition notice for an indicator not working.

“It was beneficial in only letting the taxi operators know that we were holding a check on the day. However, as the day went on, I did notice a significant number of taxis coming in that had had new tyres fitted.

“The lack of police presence probably had a negative effect, as they can often pick up those reluctant to be inspected.”

Cab proprietor Colin Pye said his first aid kit and fire extinguisher were checked by both licensing officers and then the DVSA. He felt one check should be enough.