A BRADFORD cabbie has claimed he is struggling to make ends meet as he waits for the Council to issue a new licence plate for his vehicle. 

Bradford Council, however, has said there has been an "upsurge" in taxi licence applications, of which it carries out over 4,000 in a year.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Tahir Zeb has issued a complaint after a long wait to receive a new taxi licence from Bradford CouncilTahir Zeb has issued a complaint after a long wait to receive a new taxi licence from Bradford Council (Image: Newsquest)

Tahir Zeb, of private hire driver from Little Horton, recently bought a 2019 taxi vehicle which is due for inspection by the Council on June 14.

“It's been four weeks and I'm still waiting to get a licence plate for my vehicle," explained Mr Zeb. "I've fallen behind on my gas and electric bills because I've no other income coming in. The cost of living has gone sky-high.

"The Council is saying it's a backlog but I don't understand how they got this backlog.

"The Council do an inspection which is like an MOT. My car has now had a 12-month MOT. Why do we have to bring our car in again when it's already had a full inspection?

"They're doing an extra check as a normal MOT is not good enough. If an MOT is good enough for families, why isn't it good enough for customers?"

A Bradford Council spokesperson said: “Local authorities that issue private hire and taxi vehicle licenses have an obligation to ensure the vehicle is safe, suitable in type, size and design for use as a private hire or taxi vehicle, in a suitable mechanical condition and comfortable.

“Taxi tests therefore cover elements that are not covered in the MOT test, to ensure that the vehicles we licence meet these requirements the council inspects all vehicles that are submitted for use in the taxi trade before a licence is issued and annually thereafter.

“During the Covid pandemic, the Licensing Service saw a significant decline in the number of licensing applications and renewals that were received.

“Reports from Private Hire Operators and the Hackney Carriage owners were that they had also experienced a significant decline in their customer demand.

“Subsequently many drivers had left the taxi trade to seek other means of income resulting in a surplus of vehicle tests being freed up during the pandemic.

“The customer demand for taxi services has inevitably increased as things continue to return to normal. This has resulted in a sudden upsurge in applications for driver and vehicle licenses.

“The Licensing Service has to accommodate in excess of 4,000 vehicle inspections for taxi vehicle applications every year.

“There are a set number of tests allocated daily to meet this demand and the Licensing Service is aware of the increasing demand.

“Recently we have facilitated additional tests to accommodate the demand, with tests being completed on evenings and weekends.

“The Service is reviewing long-term solutions for additional vehicle tests and vehicle proprietors are being made aware of the potential wait for a vehicle test.

“The Service sends vehicle proprietors a renewal link six weeks before a licence expires to allow for applications to be submitted in good time, so the vehicle can be tested before the licence expires.”