More than 40 per cent of private hire cars and taxis are failing random inspections, according to latest figures.
The majority of those failing – 59 out of 93 – were for missing targets on fewer than four basic maintenance checks, such as faulty wiper blades or lightbulbs not working.
The other 34 vehicles were failed because they had either four or more minor faults, or one more serious safety issue such as a bald tyre or broken suspension.
The Bradford Council figures show that between August 12, 2013, and February 12, 2014, 227 vehicles were randomly tested – of those 134 passed and 93 failed.
In October we reported how 30 per cent of vehicles were failing the tests. The latest figures work out at a 41 percentage failure rate. But the chairman of the private hire liaison service, Khurram Shehzad, welcomed the latest figures because the majority of failings were for minor issues.
“This report only goes to show drivers are taking care of their vehicles,” he said. “We are not too concerned with the minor faults as in some cases the vehicle owners were only given less than 24 hours notice which meant if they were doing a night shift they didn’t get a chance to prep the vehicle beforehand.
“Taking all this into consideration I am very pleased with the results as it shows the trade has improved immensely from reducing their major faults.
“It shows things are moving in the correct direction, which may mean the licensing authority doing less random checks now and will be able to use their resources for other better improvements.”
The Council introduced the checks last March and said if vehicles were found to have minor faults, the policy is to fix them and re-test. Those with a serious safety critical fault would be suspended and re-tested before being allowed back on the road.
Carol Stos, Hackney Carriage and private hire licensing manager for the Council, said: “The results show that doing random roadside checks between scheduled vehicle licence inspections helps to identify issues quickly, put them right and keep vehicles on the road. It also helps identify where there are more serious critical safety issues that have occurred since the last vehicle inspection and better protects the travelling public by removing vehicles from the road until such issues are rectified.”
The chairman of the Hackney carriage Association, Mazar Iqbal, said the tests had not yet impacted on most taxi drivers because their cars were under six years old. But he said when vehicles did reach that age and qualify for random testing he would happily oblige.
“It’s for the safety of the passengers and also the safety of the drivers,” he said. “Everybody tries to keep their cars up to date, but still we need to know they’re okay. We’re not mechanics.”