Council set to close its taxi testing base in Milton Keynes to save £110,000

Twice yearly council-run mechanical checks on taxis are set to be axed by Milton Keynes Council in a bid to save money.

Monday, 19th October 2020, 2:28 pm
Updated Monday, 19th October 2020, 2:30 pm

Since March taxis and private hire cabs have been allowed by the Government to stay on the road as long as they have an MOT certificate and the council is now set to make this a permanent policy.

A meeting next week is set to hear that a review of the taxi licensing service has concluded that the council’s vehicle testing service at Synergy Park, Bleak Hall, is losing the council £110,000.

It employs one full time, and one part time, specialist vehicle examiners.

A Hackney carriage light
A Hackney carriage light

“Vehicle testing could be successfully provided, without compromising public safety, by local private firms,” says Jason Agar, the council’s taxi licensing lead, in a report to next Wednesday’s (Oct 28) meeting of the regulatory committee.

The system of twice yearly checks in a purpose-built council workshop on top of having an MOT is set to be replaced by council officer checks once the vehicle has a certificate, and then if concerns are raised.

The council says the decision to outsource MOT and licence checking will provide a boost to local garages and save cab licence holders money at a time when the trade is struggling to attract passengers. Each council test costs £61 and the MOT is priced at £54.85.

It will need to be confirmed by the cabinet, and a date for a final decision has been placed in the council’s forward plan to be made on December 15.

Next Wednesday’s committee meeting will also be told that the council decided to lift a six year vehicle age limit for new licenses in June. It means that vehicles can be re-licensed if they are up to 10 years old.

A private hire operator had claimed that his company found it difficult to fund/source vehicles for school transport that were less than six years old.

The committee has been told that a cabinet member made the decision following discussions with the chair and vice chairs of the council’s licensing committee.