Alert after Milton Keynes cab drivers failed safety checks

Councillor Catriona Morris (left) speaking at the MKPKWA taxi forum
Councillor Catriona Morris (left) speaking at the MKPKWA taxi forum

More than 90 per cent of city cabs stopped by police during a random spot check were breaking regulations.

Drivers not displaying ID badges were dropping off vulnerable people in vehicles with faulty seatbelts, broken doors and mechanical faults when pulled over outside a special needs school.

As a result, some drivers were given points, while one vehicle was taken off the road, following a joint operation by officers and the council.

This week Councillor Andy Dransfield says the council must send out a “strong and stern” message to the rule-breaking cabbies.

He said: “I was exceedingly alarmed that there were drivers who were without proper documention.

“If they are not carrying ID then how do you know they are who they say they are?

“I am very concerned for the safety of our passengers, not just those who are vulnerable, but everyone.”

Operation Impulse inspected 12 vehicles outside the Redway School. Only one was not breaking safety regulations.

Meanwhile taxi drivers say they feel “haunted” by last year’s scandal that prompted a council crackdown on taxi licensing.

Nadeem Ahmed Kiani was given a taxi licence by MK Council – despite being sentenced to eight years in prison for rape. In an attempt to repair relationships between cabbies and the council, Taj Raja of the city’s Pakistan and Kashmir Welfare Association (MKPKWA) held a public meeting in Wolverton.

Mr Raja said: “A lot of people in our community feel like they have been made a scapegoat for the failings of the licensing committee.

“They are paying for other people’s mistakes.

“After working for years without any problems, historic offences have come back to haunt them.

“It causes bad feeling and fear for the taxi drivers.”

Despite 10 initiatives to crackdown on the problem chairman of the licensing committee, Councillor Catriona Morris, says more could be in the pipeline.

She said: “Taxi drivers are a fundamental part of our economy and vital to residents and visitors, so there is a great responsibility to ensure every driver in every vehicle is safe.

“I hope that the trade will work with us to get to a stage where there is never a problem when we pull someone over.”