Bury cabbies attended a public council meeting to vent their concerns about the council run MOT testing centre which they say is raking in funds by failing vehicles on minor faults.
Hundreds of taxis failed compliance tests in the last two years, with many being charged up to £55 every time to take a re-test.
Licensing bosses have refuted allegations that they don't do enough to support cab drivers who have claimed they have paid millions into the councils by way of licensing and testing fees.
Council leaders say that cab drivers in fact pay around a quarter of a million pounds every year.
A Freedom of Information request, first reported by This is Lancashire, revealed a total of 270 retests took place last year, down from 310 the previous year, but Sajjad Muhammad, secretary of Bury Private Hire Drivers Association, has stressed that his members are not satisfied as customers of the council. He said: “This system is not fit for purpose. We paid close to £1.9m last year in licence fees and MOTs and we are not getting the best value for money. There’s one MOT station and they run their own standards. We want another MOT station for our drivers.” Currently all hackney carriage and private hire vehicles are tested at an independent MOT testing station which is run by Bury Council.
Drivers are charged an initial £55 to test a vehicle. That vehicle will be issued a free re-test if three or fewer faults are found.
If a retest is requested due to four to 10 faults, the costs £25. But drivers are charged the full fee of £55 if more than 10 faults are found in the vehicle.
Drivers have said that many vehicles have failed the test due to minor issues which then triggers the re-test.
A council spokesman said that, in fact, taxi drivers paid £166,853 for licences and £109,925 to the testing station for compliance checks – a total of £276,778 in a year. A private meeting between the council and trade representatives is due to take place on 19 September to discuss how the licensing authority can support the borough's drivers better.
Image: Source; Geograph
Image: Author; Gary Rogers