Unexpected stop checks on 26 vehicles were carried out across the district on 26 April 2013 in a joint operation by Avon and Somerset Constabulary, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and South Somerset District Council.
Four taxis were taken off the road immediately after major defects were found; these were one with tyres below the legal minimum tread depth operated by Airline Taxis, one with a dipped headlight beam not working, operated by Colemans, (please note not Geoffrey Coleman) one with a tyre below the minimum tread depth and with a constant velocity joint boot leaking operated by owner driver Laszio Deac, one with a power steering fault operated by Radio Cabs.
A further four vehicle drivers were given advice regarding sharp edges, tyres and items obscuring the drivers view of the road.
Nigel Marston, Licensing Manager at South Somerset District Council said “It was disappointing to note that the standards of vehicles on the road has further deteriorated since our last checks, it was worrying to find 2 taxis with defective tyres, as drivers should check these daily. I am currently in the process of reviewing our hackney carriage policy, these further disappointing results clearly indicate that some drivers and operators are not maintaining their vehicles properly and perhaps we should increase the frequency at which we test these vehicles.
“We will continue to work closely with our partners at VOSA and the Avon and Somerset Road Policing Unit to drive up the standards of taxis and private hire vehicles across the district.
“People using the taxis are just as concerned as we are about their safety and everyone seemed pleased to see us checking the vehicles that they were travelling in.”
Cllr Peter Seib, portfolio holder for Regulatory and Democratic Services said, “This is cynical exploitation of the public. Offering a shoddy, unsafe and illegal vehicle … knowing it’s difficult to refuse it as you need the transport. These taxi companies won’t be making any savings by putting off maintenance though. They lost revenue and still had to put things right. We have publicly named the companies as well, so they might lose customers if this continues. I hope we can bring you good news … and soon.”