Labour members on the London Assembly are calling on Mayor Boris Johnson to scrap plans to abandon the current twice-yearly safety checks for taxis after a number of TX4-type cabs have caught fire.
As a result of the incidents Transport for London has withdrawn the licences for all LTI TX4 cabs with a 56 licence plate.
Earlier this year Mayor Johnson announced a new safety regime for taxis which would see the scrapping of half yearly inspections, requiring cabs to undergo a yearly check and increasing the number of on-street taxi inspections by TfL’s vehicle compliance team.
Proposals would also see the introduction of a charge for any taxi requiring a re-test after failing the annual vehicle inspection or an on-street inspection. The proposals are currently subject to a consultation process which ends next month.
Valerie Shawcross, Labour’s transport spokesperson on the London Assembly, yesterday renewed criticisms of the plans, commenting: “The vehicles involved in these incidents are around two years old but Boris is proposing to restrict inspections only to vehicles over ten years old.”
Shawcross warned that the fires “serve to illustrate the need for regular testing as reducing their frequency could put passengers at risk. It’s pure chance that so far neither a passenger nor driver has been seriously injured.”
A Spokesperson for the Mayor told this publication: “Whilst the Mayor made a manifesto commitment to consult on the abolition of the mid-year taxi inspection, safety has always remained the number one priority.”
“The annual taxi inspection will remain, and Val Shawcross fails to mention that the changes being consulted upon would only be made in conjunction with a range of other measures to ensure that standards are safeguarded and imoproved. These include a huge expansion of random on-street safety checks and the introduction of a fee for those vehicles that don’t pass the annual inspection the first time round.”
“We have shown our commitment to safety, and the PCO have suspended the licences of all LTI TX4s with a 56 licence plate with immediate effect. The Public carriage Office is contacting all drivers, owners and dealers to inform them of this suspension.”