Council cab and private hire crackdown forces 48 vehicles off the road

Licensing officers from Liverpool City Council served suspension notices on the 48 vehicles during the month following routine inspections. Tony McDonough reports

Taxis
Licensing officers from Liverpool City Council carrying out routine taxi inspections

 

Almost 50 taxis and private hire cars were ordered off Liverpools roads in March in a crackdown on defective vehicles.

Licensing officers from Liverpool City Council served suspension notices on 48 vehicles during the month following routine inspections. Cabs were taken off the road for a variety of breaches, including unsafe tyres, dented and damaged bodywork – including sharp and dangerous edges and unhygienic interiors.

A further 45 vehicles were issued with defect notices for minor faults and ordered to make repairs within seven days. In total, 25 of the cabs taken off the road were licensed in Liverpool whilst 23 were licensed with other local authorities.

Valuable service

City manager Kevin Johnson said: “The taxi and private hire industry plays an important part in Liverpool’s local economy and provides an extremely valuable service to the public. People who visit, live or work in Liverpool have the right to travel around the city in safety and be secure in the knowledge that they are not being ripped off.”

The city council has pledged to protect the public through a series of ongoing safety campaigns, which include the crackdown on unsafe cabs. Licensing officers are also working to prevent unscrupulous drivers breaking the rules through plying for hire (private hire driver’s that pick up passengers off the street who have not pre-booked the journey), cherry-picking fares and failing to use their meters, particularly on match days.

Plying for hire

At the recent Liverpool home game against Tottenham Hotspur, three private hire drivers were reported for plying for hire without a licence to do so. Throughout March, a further 37 drivers were given written warnings for violations such as not wearing their badges, not having their taxi licence plates fixed properly and failing to act in a civil manner.

The offending drivers came from Liverpool and surrounding boroughs such as Sefton, Knowsley and the Wirral but some who were caught came from as far away as Wolverhampton.

While 15 drivers were prosecuted by the council for offences such as plying for hire, the city council’s licensing committee also revoked one private hire driver’s licence for drink-driving offences.

Mr Johnson added: “Thankfully the vast majority of our drivers play by the rules and provide a first-class service, but the message to anyone who thinks they can come to Liverpool and flaunt the rules is – you will be caught.”

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