The East Dunbartonshire Council has recently strengthened the regulations surrounding centres responsible for conducting roadworthiness tests on taxis and private hire cars (PHCs).
The move aims to further enhance passenger safety and ensure compliance with safety and specification requirements, in addition to taximeter settings.
Currently, there are 12 authorised testing centres operating in the local authority. These centres play a vital role in evaluating whether vehicles meet safety standards and in certifying that taximeters are correctly calibrated with the appropriate fees and charges.
The newly adopted policy, unanimously approved at the council's audit and risk management committee, entails stricter requirements for garages seeking to register or renew their status as testing centres. The application process will now include the submission of comprehensive forms, which will list all authorised staff responsible for conducting inspections. Additionally, the application must outline the method used to check taximeters.
To support their application, testing centres must provide certificates from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), confirming the eligibility of all designated testers. Proof of insurance and identification documents are also required. While registration as a testing centre was previously free, a fee will now be imposed on applications.
Furthermore, the council will specify designated areas of road suitable for testing taximeters. Any testing centre wishing to acquire or retain tester status must confirm their use of these approved stretches of road or request an alternative area approved by the council.
To ensure compliance and quality assurance, inspections of testing centres will be conducted jointly by the DVSA and the council. While the DVSA primarily focuses on certifying proper procedures, the council will ensure overall adherence and compliance. In certain cases, additional checks may be conducted if deemed necessary.
According to the Glasgow Times, the council has previously considered the option of bringing all testing in-house. However, this idea currently seems unviable due to the shortage of skilled staff and the associated high costs. Such a move would require recruitment efforts aimed at obtaining qualified personnel and would result in higher licensing fees.
For more information regarding the updated regulations and the application process, interested parties are encouraged to consult the East Dunbartonshire Council's website or contact their local authority representatives.