Taxi testing is being reviewed
Berwick taxi drivers may not have to drive to Alnwick to get their vehicles tested for much longer.
Northumberland County Council is currently reviewing the situation where Berwick-based drivers face a 60-mile round trip for an MOT and compliance test.
Coun Georgina Hill, member for Berwick East, who has been fighting the taxi drivers’ corner, said: “It is good progress that the county council are now reviewing the policy after successful lobbying from Berwick taxi drivers.
“It really should not be beyond the collective wit of the council’s licensing department to make arrangements which allow taxi drivers to be able to get their vehicles tested locally as opposed to having to travel to Alnwick.”
The current policy, in force since December 2015, states that to ensure consistency and public safety, all mechanical inspections shall be conducted at a Northumberland County Council depot.
Since the new Lionheart depot opened in Alnwick, taxi drivers in the north of the county have had to get their vehicles tested there. Prior to local government reorganisation, tests could be carried out at any MOT station.
The vehicle must pass both an MOT test and the council’s compliance test that deals with other matters such as taxi meters, fire extinguishers, comfort and cleanliness.
Council officers have conducted an analysis of the percentage of vehicles which have failed an MoT over the past year. The figures show 48 per cent of Berwick taxis failed tests.
“The failure rate for the northern zones is worrying as is the mileage accrued by some vehicles between the failure of the test and retesting,” said David Sayer, the council’s public safety manager.