Latest in disagreement over taxi safety checks in Pendle

A row is continuing over claims that Pendle’s taxi trade is dragging its feet over improving vehicle safety checks and allegations that councillors with taxi responsibilities are failing to press for improvements.
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Labour Coun. Faraz Ahmad, chairman of Pendle Council’s taxi licensing committee, has rejected recent allegations from a Conservative councillor, Kieran McGladdery, who said taxi drivers and firms have made no positive suggestions towards improving vehicle safety.

The safety row escalated after Pendle’s taxi licensing committee recently gave taxi drivers and business owners “one more chance” to come up with ideas for change.

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Coun. Kieran McGladdery said he was increasingly frustrated with the situation and concerned that a serious accident would happen involving a taxi and the public. He claimed some taxi licensing committee meetings and another task-and-finish group had effectively been “pointless” because of the lack of progress.

Coun. Faraz Ahmad. Pic: Pendle Council. LDRS partner approved.Coun. Faraz Ahmad. Pic: Pendle Council. LDRS partner approved.
Coun. Faraz Ahmad. Pic: Pendle Council. LDRS partner approved.

Last year, when the Conservatives were in control at Pendle Council, he chaired a number of taxi meetings and the taxi trade was given three extra months to come-up with new safety measures.

Speaking this week, Coun. Ahmad said “ I am disappointed but not surprised at Coun. McGladdery’s comments. During his tenure as chairman of the committee, he oversaw a rapid decline in taxi safety and his aggressive approach towards the taxi trade by not engaging with them on various matters led to a breakdown in communication. In fact, his draconian proposals were rejected by his own party leadership in a council meeting in March 2023.

“I am firmly committed to taxi safety in Pendle but this cannot be the council just blaming the trade. We have to work with everyone with a stake in this matter. I would encourage Coun. McGladdery to take a positive role and work with me and the committee.”

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Earlier this year, a Pendle Council taxi report stated that 15 out of 16 vehicles stopped in Pendle during a safety spot-check failed to meet the required standards. Problems included oil leaks, which could have burst into flames, and missing wheel nuts.

Suggestions for improved vehicle safety have included requiring taxi drivers to use a mobile phone app to ensure routine car checks are done. But the app idea has been queried by some in the taxi trade. Some want a paperwork option. But that is not like the app, which has technology to ensure different parts of a vehicle are actually checked, it has been said.

There has also been disagreement over the type of car inspections done by officials, such as MOT-type tests or other compliance tests.

Pendle’s political balance changed in this year’s May local elections, meaning committees have also seen changes. Now, Labour and the Lib-Dems are in control in a shared administration, and some important committee chairperson roles have changed, too.

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Labour Coun. Faraz Ahmad is the current chairman of Pendle’s taxi licensing committee.

Coun. McGladdery has been contacted for further comment.

A special Pendle Council taxi meeting is due to be held soon to look again at vehicle safety check issues and ideas.

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