Taxi enforcement officers at Ribble Valley Borough Council will be out and about with the police plus Vehicle and Operator Services Agency staff in the run-up to the festive season in swoops on unroadworthy vehicles.
On-the-spot checks will take place throughout Ribble Valley in November and December to ensure vehicles are roadworthy, drivers properly licensed and licence conditions complied with.
Vehicles found to be unsatisfactory will be subject to immediate prohibitions, advisory notices requiring work to be carried out within seven days, or the vehicle licence suspended or revoked.
Anyone found driving a private hire vehicle or hackney carriage without a valid licence or illegally plying for hire risks prosecution and those breaching licence conditions could see their licences suspended or revoked.
Ribble Valley Borough Council’s taxi enforcement officer, Carl Rung, said: “Maintaining a high standard of vehicles is something we take seriously and we carry out regular checks to ensure taxis and their drivers are meeting licensing requirements.
“This is a joint operation, where vehicles will be subject to rigorous on-the-spot inspections to ensure they were compliant with licensing conditions, and we will require the immediate withdrawal of any hackney carriage or private hire vehicle constituting a risk to public safety, or work carried out immediately to ensure the vehicle is of a high standard.”
Sgt Dave Simpson, of Clitheroe Police, added: “These checks are a response to concerns that some drivers are illegally plying for hire, not properly licensed or breaching the conditions of their licences.
“Drivers or vehicles not properly licensed will not have been through stringent checks to ensure the safety of the public and could be committing a criminal offence.
“These checks will identify drivers flouting the law and ensure the safety and roadworthiness of licensed vehicles.
“Licensed hackney and private hire drivers play an important role in Ribble Valley’s vibrant night-time economy by getting people home safely.”
Ribble Valley residents are reminded not to use unlicensed taxis or flag down private hire vehicles over the festive season and follow these steps to ensure a safe journey:
● “Yellow plate” private hire vehicles must be pre-booked. Only “blue plate” hackney carriages can be flagged down or hired from a taxi rank and it is illegal for private hire vehicles to pick up passengers in the street, unless they are pre-booked.
● Check drivers are wearing identification badges that have not expired.
● Check the identity of drivers against photographs on identification badges.
● Check that cab licence plates at the back of vehicles or on the left-hand side of windscreens are in date.
● Do not give personal details to drivers.
● Agree private hire fees in advance with operators. Metred hackney cab fees are set by the council.
Ribble Valley Borough Council’s register of licensed operators, vehicles and drivers featuring the names of taxi licence holders, along with licence numbers, issue and expiry dates, and licence terms, is available at www.ribblevalley.gov.uk. Anyone who suspects a taxi firm of operating without a licence or a driver of driving without a licence, or using an unlicensed vehicle, can call the council’s licensing team on 01200 414411.