Taxi app will help keep dangerous cabs and PHVs off the road

Car tire close up being fixed

Taxi and PHV drivers whose vehicles were in such poor states that they were a danger to passengers must now log the condition of their vehicles with an app at the start of each shift – or risk losing their taxi badges.

The move comes after ongoing concerns from Pendle Council about the safety of taxis and PHVs in the area. One unannounced inspection by council officials saw 93 per cent of vehicles fail spot checks. Two further inspections saw 11 of 16 vehicles fail, and 10 out of 20.


In between the unannounced inspections, council officials discovered nine vehicles that were operating with defects that should have been picked up on a daily walkaround, including loose wheel nuts, problems with brakes and brake lights, broken lights, damaged bodywork and tyre treads below the legal minimum requirement.

After years of warnings, the council said it had to act before someone is seriously hurt.

A report to the council stated: “The results of spot checks on our licensed vehicles have been unsatisfactory for a number of years and despite many assurances that improvements would be made, the failure rate is still unacceptable.

“The evidence we have is that operators, vehicle proprietors and drivers have no routine vehicle checks for their licensed vehicles, as can be seen from vehicles failing spot checks on basic items like tyres, loose batteries, and missing wheel nuts. These faults should be routinely picked up and would be if daily inspection checks were carried out.”

Routine checks

The council has introduced an app which requires drivers to physically inspect their vehicle at the start of each shift and complete a checklist of key items such as brakes, wheels and tyres and bodywork. The results are instantly logged with the council and taxi operator. Ony vehicles that pass the checklist will be allowed to operate. Anyone who does not complete the checks or tries to cheat the system risks losing their taxi badge.

The app costs £1 per vehicle per week and includes a compass to ensure the driver has fully walked around the car, as well as an audit trail of when checks were carried out.

Explaining the changes, the council said: “The last spot check had a vehicle failure rate of 93.3% which is totally unacceptable and puts passenger safety at risk.

“There is an urgent need to make sure taxis are mechanically safe. The main recommendation is for the compulsory use of an app so that drivers can check the roadworthiness of their taxi before the start of every shift and that information must be sent to the council.

“We also propose an increase in the number of tests per year from two to three, one of which to include an MoT.

“Both operators and drivers will have greater accountability for ensuring that each and every time a taxi goes onto the road it is safe.

“For those operators and drivers who regularly fail to properly maintain and operate their vehicle(s) we are proposing to revoke their licences because they are putting passengers at risk.”

It is worrying that such a high percentage of faults were found in spot checks and several vehicles were dangerous. Many drivers take extremely good care of their cars, which they rely on for their livelihood, their own safety, as well as that of their passengers and others on the road.

The app seems to be a simple but thorough way to check the condition of a taxi or PHV before each shift and action can be taken before it becomes a danger to anyone. As with private vehicles, the onus is on the driver to make sure they are safe to be on the roads and it is even more important for people who drive for a living and especially those carrying passengers.

If the Pendle trial is a success, versions of the checks could be rolled out in other licensing authorities.

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