Angry taxi drivers have hit out at Calderdale Council’s transport department after their vehicles were removed from the road on safety grounds.
A number of private hire and hackney cabs that have been modified to enable those travelling with wheelchairs to use them have been pulled from the streets due to them not having the correct safety certificate despite them being licensed by the Council.
Drivers are now calling for the situation to be resolved or they will look to take possible strike action.
Chris Stocks from the Calderdale Private Hire Association said the affected drivers will now be off the roads at the busiest time of the year.
“The Council have held their hands up to the mistake.
“We have discussed taking action but we are going to wait on the response from the Council.
“The whole situation is ridiculous.
“This is going to cost the trade money a lot of money,
“The main thing we want to do is get these drivers back on the road either by the Council supplying another vehicle or compensating the drivers.”
Councillor Ferman Ali (Park, Lab) explained that the situation was brought to the attention of the licencing committee on November 23 and the legal team said the affected Hackney Carriage fleet had to be removed from the roads.
“The Council is working to solve the problem as a lot of the drivers still don’t understand what is happening,
“The drivers are against the decision that has been taken.
“It’s not as if they are opposing getting the certificate and willing to comply with it but are asking for a bit of leeway as it will take months for the forms to be processed.
“A lot of positive work has been done with taxi drivers but unfortunately to a one officer’s mistake it has undone some of that.”
Councillor Shoukat, has also bee working with the taxi organisations and held a meeting with all the firms in borough as they managed to avert a strike.
A small number of taxis in Calderdale have been temporarily taken off the road to make essential checks on their safety.
The affected hackney cabs and private hire cars have all been modified so that passengers travelling with a wheelchair are able to use them. The local authority is now checking that each modified vehicle has an Individual Vehicle Approval certificate of compliance from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), to show that their vehicle is roadworthy.
Councillor Tim Swift, Leader of Calderdale Council said: “We have identified an issue with the way a number of taxis have been licensed by the Council. The problem affects some hackney cabs and private hire vehicles which have been modified, for example to allow them to carry a wheelchair.
“We have taken immediate action to address the problem and officers and I have been in personal contact with the affected drivers to work with them to resolve the situation. I am reassured that the number of vehicles which are affected is now reducing.
“Officers have been working over the weekend to resolve the situation and are continuing to do so now.
“The Council is very sorry that this situation has arisen and we are doing all we can to make sure that the drivers affected are able to get back to work as quickly as possible.
“We will conduct a full and independent review to understand how this situation has occurred and will take any necessary action as a result of this.”
Stephen Gayle from the Halifax Taxi Owners Association has said that he has been calling fro a review of the transport system since 2011.
“It has wasted a lot of my time. It is grossly inadequate.
“It’s just a terrible situation. The safety of the public is important but also the drivers themselves need protecting.
“The drivers have to food on the table and pay mortgages and they have been put in the situation because someone wasn’t doing their job right in the first place.”