The proposal happened when Cardiff council licensing officers, tourists and the police reported that the standards of taxis around the city had fallen over the past year.
The number of cautions that were handed to cabbies about the conditions of their taxis has increased by 31% in 2011.
388 warnings for faults such as missing wheel trims, damaged bodywork and defective headlights were issued over the past 6 months, compared with 295 over the same period in 2010.
However, the people in the taxi industry have defended themselves and said that the faults were often ‘cosmetic’ which did not pose a risk to passengers or the public.
Cabbies also suggested that the evidence was “flawed” and accused the council of not understanding how the tough economic climate is affecting their livelihoods as there haven’t been many passengers using a cab service, which has an impact on keeping up with overheads like private hire taxi insurance. A committee of councillors have agreed to task Cardiff council officers with a task to come up with a list of proposals to bring the taxi fleet up to standard.
The amendments could comprise of lowering the initial licensing vehicle age restriction from 25 months and limiting testing of vehicles to only MoT garages that have been approved by the council.
Testing used to be carried out at the Cardiff Bus depot, until last year when that scheme was scrapped because of the extortionate prices that were charged by the company.
Another controversial proposal that was declined by the public protection committee, was to restrict all hackney carriage vehicles to purpose built black cabs.
Councillor Ed Bridges, the committee chairman, was one of the people that were in favour of standardising the taxis in line with the London style cabs, as he suggested that it would stop the confusion between private hire vehicles and hackney carriages.
Those councillors who opposed the suggestion said that there needs to be a selection of vehicles so passengers have ‘freedom of choice’.
Chairman of the Union of Taxi Drivers, Abdi Ahmed, said that councillors expected cabbies to improve their taxi vehicles but would not agree to a major taxi fare rise. Ahmed said “It’s a case of having your cake and eating it too.”
Mathab Khan, Chairman of the Cardiff Hackney Carriage Association, said “The report that was produced for the councillors was flawed.”