Dudley taxi drivers win new testing facilities after being forced off the road by slow service

Dudley Private Hire and Taxi Association chairman Shaz Saleem has welcomed the announcement of new taxi testing facilities but is warning councillors they must keep their promises

Dudley Private Hire and Taxi Association chairman Shaz Saleem has welcomed the announcement of new taxi testing facilities but is warning councillors they must keep their promises

First published in Local
Last updated

TAXI drivers in Dudley have been putting their foot down to demand changes in how their cars are safety tested.

Concerned cabbies say they were being forced off the road by a lack of facilities at Dudley Council’s only testing station which meant they were waiting weeks for an appointment.

The chairman of the Dudley Private Hire and Taxi Association, Shaz Saleem, presented the authority with a petition containing 500 signatures at a showdown meeting on March 5 to demand an upgraded service at the Lister Road depot.

Council chiefs, including cabinet member for transport, cllr Khurshid Ahmed, appear to have put the brakes on further protests for now by promising improvements to the station, which carries out enhanced MOT-style checks which must be passed before cars can be used as taxis.

Cllr Ahmed said: “Having listened to the concerns of the taxi trade, the council has committed to a state of the art ‘one stop’ testing facility that will provide ample capacity for taxi testing, with the added provision of an MOT service if required.

“This new facility is currently being refurbished and is due to open in May. With more taxis operating in the borough it is important that the council has responded to an increase in demand, acknowledging that our existing facility is stretched at peak periods.

“We have brought in more staff to deal with this, until the new facility is up and running, which will significantly improve the timescales drivers have to wait."

The upgrades promised to drivers include an additional ramp, the station currently has one, an improved computer system for testing vehicles and staff registered with the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency on site to improve standards.

Mr Saleem said: “I welcome this move. I believe this should improve standards and service. Our concern had always been not receiving value for money service. With what we have been promised it appears we will get the service we have desired.

"We will give the new station time and we hope it will achieve its purpose.”

However Mr Saleem sent a clear message that if the authority fails to drive through changes there could be more trouble round the corner.

He added: “If their promises are not kept we will consider our options.”

Comments (6)

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5:03pm Thu 6 Mar 14

mucklow hill resident says...

Its about time all taxi drivers took a driving test every year.
The standard of driving and the faults (mainly head lights) on the cars is awful.
Its about time all taxi drivers took a driving test every year. The standard of driving and the faults (mainly head lights) on the cars is awful. mucklow hill resident
  • Score: 4

10:20am Fri 7 Mar 14

Russell Eden says...

I wholeheartedly agree regarding the retesting of the drivers. I know many people who refuse to use taxis operating locally, as the driving standards fall well short of what you would expect from so called professional drivers. I would prefer to walk or cycle than risk my life in a car with them. Speeding, illegal turns, wrong way on one way street are just some examples of what I've seen.
I wholeheartedly agree regarding the retesting of the drivers. I know many people who refuse to use taxis operating locally, as the driving standards fall well short of what you would expect from so called professional drivers. I would prefer to walk or cycle than risk my life in a car with them. Speeding, illegal turns, wrong way on one way street are just some examples of what I've seen. Russell Eden
  • Score: 2

4:52pm Fri 7 Mar 14

Lil77 says...

The understanding of give way to the right on islands, and to wait for oncoming traffic to leave a gap on junctions is also an issue (in my opinion). I have lost count of how many times I have had to brake suddenly because of a taxi pulling out on me. The most annoying thing is there is not even an acknowledgement of their wrong doing, or you get the abuse (angry hand gestures) for their mistake!! I firmly believe that test taking, vehicle checks, and license checks should be made compulsory. Not sure on what timescale, but if they are honest, hardworking, and concerned with their customers wellbeing there should not be an issue with adhering to this.
The understanding of give way to the right on islands, and to wait for oncoming traffic to leave a gap on junctions is also an issue (in my opinion). I have lost count of how many times I have had to brake suddenly because of a taxi pulling out on me. The most annoying thing is there is not even an acknowledgement of their wrong doing, or you get the abuse (angry hand gestures) for their mistake!! I firmly believe that test taking, vehicle checks, and license checks should be made compulsory. Not sure on what timescale, but if they are honest, hardworking, and concerned with their customers wellbeing there should not be an issue with adhering to this. Lil77
  • Score: 1

1:52pm Mon 10 Mar 14

The Villan says...

Totally agree with above comments. There are some good drivers but there are some very bad drivers, so to ensure a standard is maintained all drivers should be tested every year and their cars every 6 months.
Totally agree with above comments. There are some good drivers but there are some very bad drivers, so to ensure a standard is maintained all drivers should be tested every year and their cars every 6 months. The Villan
  • Score: -1

7:43am Thu 13 Mar 14

yeti75 says...

Some strange comments here, as far as i am aware cars are tested at least once a year anyway, older cars twice, and they are not given their taxi license plates until they meet the necessary road worthiness standard.
Regarding driving tests, well i would say there are tens if not hundreds of thousands of general drivers in this country, who should not even have licenses the way they drive,
Some strange comments here, as far as i am aware cars are tested at least once a year anyway, older cars twice, and they are not given their taxi license plates until they meet the necessary road worthiness standard. Regarding driving tests, well i would say there are tens if not hundreds of thousands of general drivers in this country, who should not even have licenses the way they drive, yeti75
  • Score: 2

8:59am Thu 13 Mar 14

Pensnett Wammel says...

I'd concur with the remarks about the general manner in which taxis in Dudley are driven. I think that as professional drivers we should expect better from taxi drivers, although remarks about their standard of driving could equally be applied to other people who drive as a profession, eg lorry drivers.

What I do find alarming (apart from the extortionate fares) is that a relative who took a taxi to go to the theatre in Wolverhampton was asked by the taxi driver how to get there! The driver also possessed a poor standard of English. It seems strange that at a time of high unemployment the company could not hire a better quality of employee.
I'd concur with the remarks about the general manner in which taxis in Dudley are driven. I think that as professional drivers we should expect better from taxi drivers, although remarks about their standard of driving could equally be applied to other people who drive as a profession, eg lorry drivers. What I do find alarming (apart from the extortionate fares) is that a relative who took a taxi to go to the theatre in Wolverhampton was asked by the taxi driver how to get there! The driver also possessed a poor standard of English. It seems strange that at a time of high unemployment the company could not hire a better quality of employee. Pensnett Wammel
  • Score: 1

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