Taxis fall foul of spot checks

29 Oct 2019

A spot check by Stevenage Borough Council licensing officers found a number of taxis failing basic standards checks, with Uber drivers among the worst offenders.

Stevenage Borough Council’s licensing officers teamed up with local parking enforcement officers and Transport for London’s taxi and private hire compliance officers in order to carry out the compliance checks.

On Friday 18 October, all taxis found working in Stevenage town centre, including Uber cabs were stopped and checked, in a continuing effort to ensure that all licensed drivers and vehicles are safe.

The safety of the public is the main concern for the Council, and making sure taxis comply with the law is an important part of this. The checks found that seven Stevenage licensed taxis had minor non-dangerous faults, all of which were corrected at the time or shortly afterwards.

Three Uber cabs were found to have faults, two of which were serious concerns and one was considered unfit to be a taxi. When this exercise was carried out in April, a similar result was found for Stevenage licensed taxis, but the standard of Uber cabs seems to have become worse.

Councillor Jackie Hollywell, portfolio holder for Communities, Community Safety and Equalities stated: “Most people are not aware of the different standards expected of taxis or taxi drivers licensed by different authorities, and that not all drivers or vehicles face the same safeguarding or safety checks. In Stevenage, all of our drivers and vehicles are checked, and meet the highest standards, and interventions like these targeting our taxis and those of Transport for London highlight the importance we place in making sure all of our residents are safe. Our licensing officers regularly inspect all of our taxis, and I would encourage people to use our cabs over those from other areas, especially if their standards do not match ours.”

Notes to editor
Taxi intervention occurred on the 18 October 2019 and included two officers from SBC Parking Enforcement, Licensing Enforcement and 2 officers from Transport for London Taxi and Private Hire Compliance Service.

  • 15 Stevenage licensed Hackney Carriage Vehicle drivers or vehicles were checked.
    • Seven minor defects found,
      1 – no internal licence on display
      2 – copy of licence conditions not available
      1 – driver not wearing is licence badge & vehicle roof light not working
      2 – vehicles with roof lights not working
      1 – vehicle with 1 tyre near to legal minimum thread depth
  • 13 TfL Uber private hire cars checked
    • Three defects found – one minor & two serious (one corrected during evening)
      1 – driver not wearing licence badge (minor)
      1 – driver without proof of valid insurance (major but corrected during evening)
      1 – vehicle unfit; to pass MOT before again permitted to be used (serious)