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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:45 pm 
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Bury taxi drivers claim they are being put out of work for unfairly failing tests

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk ... g-16393437

Hackney and private hire cabbies say their complaints are being ignored by the council

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Image: Manchester Evening News

Discontent is “bubbling” among taxi drivers in Bury, according to a trade representative.

Charles Oakes, chairman of the Hackney Drivers’ Association, was joined by four private hire drivers who slated staff at the town hall last night.

They claimed that vehicles are unfairly failing tests for cosmetic issues such as scratches which is putting drivers out of work.

Further frustrations were expressed about the need for drivers to travel outside of the borough to be tested.

Mr Oakes told councillors on the licensing and safety panel drivers’ complaints are being ignored.

He said: “There is a backlog of complaints that have not been answered. What’s going on? Because members who are aggrieved in whatever way have a right to be heard.”

Angela Lomax, head of trading standards and licensing, said that many complaints were getting lost because they were not sent to the right people.

She said: “The problem we have got, Mr Oakes, is the various pathways you are sending your complaints. We won’t deliberately ignore you. Unfortunately, we don’t have the staffing level to be sat at the desk and answer phone calls.”

However, Shaf Mahmood, a Bury Private Hire Drivers’ Association representative, said the department was “deliberately” not answering complaints.

Vehicle failed MOT for having tinted windows

He told the panel about an incident on Tuesday in which a vehicle failed its MOT for having tinted windows despite passing the previous year.

Licensing unit manager Michael Bridges said he had already seen a complaint about this incident and would respond in due course.

But the disgruntled drivers told the Bury Times that testers examine vehicles with a “fine-tooth comb” and fail them “for anything”, resulting in additional charges.

Mohammad Sajad, secretary of Bury Private Hire Drivers’ Association told the panel that having one licensed MOT station in the borough is not enough given the rising number of taxi drivers.

A fire at Bradley Fold station earlier this year means that vehicle testing has been relocated to Bolton for the time being.

Mrs Lomax praised the “marvellous” staff for being up and running within 48 hours at the station which is four miles away.

A total of 50 vehicles are tested every week by the Bradley Fold staff who have to deal with 1,000 drivers throughout the year.

Mr Bridges also claimed that drivers often fail to give the station enough notice before turning up for tests.

He said: “Drivers come in two days before their licence expires. It’s never their fault, it’s always the council’s fault.”

Drivers can't afford extra fees

Mr Oakes said that there is “discontent bubbling” throughout the hackney and private hire trade.

He raised concerns about the proposals which could result in taxi drivers who use certain vehicles paying a daily fee for travelling on highly-polluted roads.

New industry standards are also on the horizon affecting all drivers across the region.

He said: “Drivers can’t afford all these things and every bit of money that goes into this. I’ve been complaining about the refusal of the council to allow the trade a second testing station in Bury. The fire at Bradley Fold clearly shows there’s a need for another testing station. Drivers are not going to be happy having to go to Bolton to get their vehicles tested.”

A public consultation on the common minimum standards for taxis and private hire vehicles in Greater Manchester and the Clean Air Plan is expected to take place later this year.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:21 pm 
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Angela Lomax, head of trading standards and licensing, said that many complaints were getting lost because they were not sent to the right people.

She said: “The problem we have got, Mr Oakes, is the various pathways you are sending your complaints.

Can't believe she is implying that Charlie Boy is not that good with the internet and computers? :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 8:15 am 
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Sussex wrote:
Quote:
Angela Lomax, head of trading standards and licensing, said that many complaints were getting lost because they were not sent to the right people.

She said: “The problem we have got, Mr Oakes, is the various pathways you are sending your complaints.

Can't believe she is implying that Charlie Boy is not that good with the internet and computers? :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

Hard to believe isn't it. but at least he is trying.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:32 pm 
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Hard to believe isn't it. but at least he is trying.

Methinks he is the bane of their lives. :lol: :lol: :lol:

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 8:01 pm 
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No mention of Charlie boy here, but this latest complaint seems to be driven by PHDs (excuse pun).

Not quite sure what's going on here - according to the council it's quite easy to get a test slot, but the trade saying the opposite.

Suspect there's a bit of exaggeration from both sides :?


Taxi drivers threaten to go 'cross-border' in protest over council MOT policy

https://www.burytimes.co.uk/news/178047 ... ss-border/

PRIVATE hire drivers have threatened to take their vehicle licensing “cross-border” in growing frustration at Bury Council.

At a meeting of the Licensing Committee drivers petitioned councillors for another MOT testing centre in the borough.

Representatives of the drivers association told the committee they feel there is a testing shortage and system of double standards leading drivers to fail MOT tests taken by one garage, only for them to pass with the same vehicle at another.

Their threat to go cross-border could see private hire drivers being licensed by another local authority while continuing to predominantly operate on Bury’s streets.

However councillor officers hit back, highlighting that efforts are being made to close the legal loophole allowing drivers to be licensed by one local authority and drive on the streets of another, and said that current MOT testing capacity is sufficient.

Shaf Mahmood, a representative of Private Hire Drivers Association and manager at Walmersley taxi base, told the meeting that when he entered the taxi business in 1993 there were three test stations in Bury for around 400 drivers.

He said: “We have got that fed up now that we are thinking of going cross-border.

“If we go cross-border that’s 400 and odd drivers who will be licensed over the border but still working in Bury. That means the council would lose £200,000 and people will be out of jobs. You have to help the drivers.

“I was supposed to sign up for cross-border yesterday but I didn’t because I wanted to come here, because we belong to Bury Council and we still want to give funds to Bury Council so they can carry on running. Please don’t force us, this is getting to be a serious matter.”

Muhammad Sajed, also of the Private Hire Drivers Association, said: “There are 1,200 drivers in Bury and 1,065 private hire vehicles on the road over the last years paying more than £1.5 million. Ten years ago I was in this hall demanding one thing, that we should get another MOT station.

“Ten years later and I’m still stood here in front of different faces but with the same demand ­— we need more independent MOT stations. A large number of the drivers strongly believe they are the victims of licensing discrimination.

“We are paying customers. We don’t come here for free treatment. So we want you to listen to our concerns and we want you to address our concerns.

“We can’t move on like this. it has been a very long time. We want you to improve and make a better, safer working environment for taxi drivers.

“We provide excellent service and I think you should be encouraging people to stay under Bury Council licensing. I do not want to promote cross-border taxis.”

Licensing unit manager Mr Bridge said that the council was aware that a small number of private hire vehicles licensed outside of Bury are now operating in Bury.

He said: “This is not just a problem in Bury its problem across the country.”

However Mr Bridge noted that the Government is looking to close the “cross-border issue” currently permitted via a loophole in private hire vehicle and taxi legislation dating back to 1976 and 1847 respectively.

He added: “There will come a point if legislation is changed and all those people who have gone elsewhere and the councils that have been issuing all these plates, under the proposals being put forward, you will have to be licensed where you are working.”

At present MOT testing for private hire vehicles and hackney carriages operating in Bury is carried out at a centre in Bolton. Previously they had been carried out at Bradley Fold station, however a fire earlier this year meant that vehicle testing had to be relocated.

Attaf Hussain, a driver with Elton Bullit, also said he was disappointed that drivers were coming to the council with the same problem.

He said: “Why have we not just been given a selection of garages? Why just Bradley Fold?

“Why do you trust Bradley Fold MOT station and not any other reputable garage? That would solve the problem for the drivers.”

Mr Hussain also took issue with the complaints procedure, saying: “This whole process is very complex.

“You are saying there is a set procedure, but that set procedure can take a long time. Meanwhile a driver is out of work for four or five weeks until each of the relevant people have got a message and you’ve dealt with it.”

Responding to the drivers Councillor Tahir Rafiq, chairman of the Licensing Committee said: “It’s not about complaints it is about justifying the need.

“If there is a need and drivers can convince us there is a need it will be looked at. We are not going to say no but we can’t just do it because people are saying they want it.”

Angela Lomax, Bury Council’s head of trading standards and licensing, refuted the need for another testing station. She added: “We have a number of reasons we have always had one. We have looked at a peer review against our colleagues in Greater Manchester and, apart from Bolton, every other just has one. We have less tha 1,000 drivers and about 2,500 test appointments available a year. There should be enough tests available for that garage.”

“Geographically Bury is quite small. We are one of the smallest authorities in Greater Manchester so we didn’t see there was a need for a second testing station.

“If there is a need we would have to go through a procurement process.”

Ms Lomax further told the committee that when she had analysed test availability there had been slots available within two working days “without fail”.

“So we feel we have got sufficient tests available,” she said.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:40 pm 
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Even Charlie seems to have given up on these serial whingers [-(


Bury taxi drivers accuse council of 'unfair' compliance tests

https://www.burytimes.co.uk/news/178904 ... nce-tests/

HUNDREDS of taxis failed compliance tests in the last two years, costing drivers up to £55 every time.

Cabbies say they pay the council millions of pounds in licensing and testing fees every year but complain that they are not getting value for money.

They have criticised the local authority for failing vehicles on minor faults – but licensing bosses refute these allegations.

A total of 270 retests took place last year, down from 310 the previous year, a request under the Freedom of Information Act revealed.

Bury Private Hire Drivers’ Association secretary Muhammad Sajjad told councillors at a public meeting last week that cabbies are not satisfied as customers of the council.

He said: “This system is not fit or 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.”

Hackney carriage and private hire vehicles are tested at an independent MOT testing station run by Bury Council.

The station, which relocated from Bradley Fold to Bolton following a fire earlier this year, carries out taxi testing and testing of singular items such as brakes and headlight alignment.

If a vehicle fails its test, once the vehicle has been repaired it will be presented for a retest. It will then have a certificate of compliance which exempts the vehicle from holding a MOT certificate.

But private hire driver Altaf Hussain claims that most retests are triggered by minor faults.

He said: “I myself had my vehicle tested the other day. I was quite surprised because the vehicle that I purchased was quite new, but they just about passed it. The advisory notes were things like dust on the alloy wheels, the wipers were leaving a smear.

“My concern is the emphasis should be on the mechanical side of things, not minor things. We feel it’s unfair and we are being victimised because of that.”

Licensing unit manager Michael Bridges told the aggrieved drivers that vehicles are not sufficiently prepared when they are presented for tests.

He said: “What’s happening, and this happens frequently, I get phone calls from drivers after tests. I’m told that they failed on one or two faults. But when we get the test sheet there are seven or eight test faults. But when they speak to me they only tell me the ones they are aggrieved about.”

Drivers are charged £55 to test a vehicle. If three or fewer faults are found in the vehicle, there is no fee for a retest. Retests for vehicles with four to 10 faults costs drivers £25.

But drivers are charged the full fee of £55 if more than 10 faults are found in the vehicle.

Councillors are due to discuss how the licensing authority can better support the borough’s drivers at a town hall meeting on Wednesday.

Proposals by the Conservatives include opening an MOT station in Bury by the end of the year, reviewing the process of revoking licenses and ending the “us and them” culture between cabbies and the council.

A private meeting between the council and trade representatives will take place on September 19.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 8:42 pm 
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Drivers are charged £55 to test a vehicle. If three or fewer faults are found in the vehicle, there is no fee for a retest. Retests for vehicles with four to 10 faults costs drivers £25.

But drivers are charged the full fee of £55 if more than 10 faults are found in the vehicle.


They should think themselves lucky - one minor fault here and it's a £100 retest fee :shock:


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:01 pm 
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but they just about passed it

You don't just about pass anything, you either pass or you fail.
Quote:
The advisory notes were things like dust on the alloy wheels, the wipers were leaving a smear.

So they are advising you that your wipers might need changing soon, and the car is a little bit dirty, and the driver is moaning about that despite the fact the vehicle passed.. #-o

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:07 pm 
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Proposals by the Conservatives include opening an MOT station in Bury by the end of the year, reviewing the process of revoking licenses and ending the “us and them” culture between cabbies and the council.

I hope the proposal is another testing station, as I think just having one is not a good thing.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:29 am 
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Not much new here either. With stuff like this it's always difficult to tell if there's something in it, or if it's just serial moaners who think that if they constantly complain then the council will just do it their way.


Dozens of Bury taxi drivers demand changes from council

https://www.burytimes.co.uk/news/179025 ... s-council/

Image
Image: Bury Times

MORE than 50 taxi drivers turned up at the town hall this week to share their concerns about the licensing authority.

They told councillors that they want a new independent MOT testing station, financial support to upgrade their vehicles if pollution charges come into force and reassurance for drivers who fear for their safety.

Bury Private Hire Driver Association secretary Muhammad Sajjad explained the cabbies’ concerns during public question time at Wednesday’s council meeting.

He said: “Our members provide a fantastic service to the community all year-round. However, from the last five years, taxi drivers keep demanding an independent MOT station and they raise their very serious concerns, but the licensing department completely fail to understand or provide the services to the paying customers.

“In the last five years, drivers paid around £1.9m in the shape of fees and our demand was independent MOT station, better value for our hard-earned money but we haven’t got that. Years and years have gone by and we still have the same demands.”

Hackney carriage and private hire vehicles are tested at an independent MOT testing station run by Bury Council.

The station, which relocated from Bradley Fold Trading Estate to Bolton following a fire earlier this year, carries out taxi compliance tests which exempt the vehicle from holding a MOT certificate.

Council leader David Jones, who previously chaired the licensing committee, told the taxi drivers that by the end of this year the local authority hopes to have a facility back up and running at Bradley Fold.

He said: “I’m familiar with the pressures on your service. Each and everyone of you as a taxi driver in this borough is valued and appreciated.

“The fire at Bradley Fold was an unfortunate accident. We were able to put things in place very, very quickly to reduce the inconvenience to you and your colleagues by travelling to Bolton ¬– it was only a couple of miles.

“Longer-term there’s an issue with the testing station run by the council – and we accept that you’re not comfortable with that. But I’ve said before to you and your colleagues that that ensures minimum standards. Having one testing station and no interest in repairs, means it can truly be considered to be an independent testing station.”

The Conservatives put forward a motion outlining how the licensing authority can better support the borough’s drivers during the meeting.

The proposal included opening an MOT station in Bury by the end of the year, reviewing the process of revoking licenses and ending the “us and them” culture between cabbies and the council.

Licensing chairman Tahir Rafiq moved an amendment on behalf of the ruling Labour group detailing how the council will support taxi drivers.

The amended motion, which was passed unanimously, included the aim to open a new state of the art Bradley Fold workshop by November 2019.

It also commits to improving communication with cabbies and regularly reviewing the processes for the revocation of licences.

He said: “I want to acknowledge the hard work and the risks our Bury taxi drivers take on a daily basis to providing safe, secure and accessible transport. I acknowledge Bury Council, must do all it can to support our hard-working taxi drivers.”

Drivers who attended the meeting also raised concerns about a proposal to introduce a Clean Air Zone which would create a daily fee for taxis and other commercial vehicles on certain routes if they do not meet emission standards.

One member of the National Private Hire Association told councillors that taxi drivers will go out of business if the proposal goes ahead.

Drivers argued that they give the council so much money for license and testing fees that the council should support them financially in making the transition to compliant vehicles.

Greater Manchester had asked for £28m to clean up taxis and private hire vehicles but the government has been accused of failing to fund the proposal.

There are currently 934 private hire vehicles and 61 hackney carriages licensed in the borough.

The cost to licence a taxi for a year in Bury is £279 – this includes the MOT, six-monthly interim test and licence plates.

If a vehicle fails its test, once the vehicle has been repaired it will be presented for a retest.

If three or fewer faults are found in the vehicle, there is no fee for a retest. Retests for vehicles with four to 10 faults costs drivers £25.

But drivers are charged the full fee of £55 if more than 10 faults are found in the vehicle.

Last year, the council received £166,853 for licences and £109,925 was paid to the testing station for compliance checks – a total of £276,778.

A private meeting between the council and trade representatives will take place on September 19.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:31 am 
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Wonder who this might be commenting anonymously on the newspaper's website:

Quote:
Taxi do provides excellent services to local community and business bury council completely fail to addressed there demands thats shocking 1.9 million pounds at one mot station sure most money will go as yearly performance bounces to licensing executive,s according bury council there is no good mot station in bury

8-[


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:39 am 
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StuartW wrote:
Wonder who this might be commenting anonymously on the newspaper's website:

Quote:
Taxi do provides excellent services to local community and business bury council completely fail to addressed there demands thats shocking 1.9 million pounds at one mot station sure most money will go as yearly performance bounces to licensing executive,s according bury council there is no good mot station in bury

8-[



perhaps someone ought to show charlie how to download and use grammarly :lol:

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:48 pm 
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ending the “us and them” culture between cabbies and the council.

Would be a very good starting point.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:50 pm 
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StuartW wrote:
Wonder who this might be commenting anonymously on the newspaper's website:

Quote:
Taxi do provides excellent services to local community and business bury council completely fail to addressed there demands thats shocking 1.9 million pounds at one mot station sure most money will go as yearly performance bounces to licensing executive,s according bury council there is no good mot station in bury

8-[

Image

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:47 am 
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I’m sure Charlie boy knows the law doesn’t allow them to test vehicles outside there area.


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