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State Taxi - Taxi in the Coolidge corner
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The Brookline addition includes spot check cabin inspections after frustrating inspections.
From next November, Brookline's three largest taxi companies' taxi services will be spot-checked after regular city controls have identified serious security concerns with tens of cars - an increase last year. From burnt out headlights to defective spherical bearings, all incidents were rectified on the date the defect was discovered and the taxi was re-inspected, a request from the city's own maintenance programme.
Taxi business agents say that their automobiles are safer, mainly because Brookline conducts security checks twice a year in addition to the state' s regular periodic security check. Normally, the city inspectors find less than 20 per cent of the taxis from any firm to have security problems, officers said. Of the 142 cabins in Brookline belonging to three of the four biggest Brookline owners, 38 were found this past year with one or more of the most serious infringements, namely one or more codes 4, mainly concerning chassis, brake and bulb.
A further 33 had reported a number of 51 infringements of heading 3, which did not compromise passengers' security and comforts. Results in both category were a significant rise compared to early 2010, when inspection found 12 codes 4 and 27 codes 3 injuries. The Bay State Taxi, which runs 77 taxis in the city, had the highest number - 34 - of violation of Section 4, and the highest proportion of cars mentioned this past year, with the 27 taxis accounting for 35 per cent of its population.
Red Cab followed with 7 of its 40 taxis, or 17 per cent, showing 4 violations, and Eagle Cab with 4 of 25 or 16 per cent. "Red Cab and Eagle's growth was unacceptable, but the Bay State figures were outrageous," said Michael Sandman, chair of the city's Transportation Board, which exhibits annually taxis.
However, the forth firm, Town Taxi, with 20 taxis, had indicated only three - 15 per cent - for 4 codes issues in May, compared with two in the preceding Spring. Sandmann said that the transport department's spot checks will focus on those firms with more problematic cabins and are likely to move in the oldest first.
Enterprises are informed one working day in advance of which driver's positions must appear for inspections so that they can organise an alternative drive for their shifts. Joe Bethany, Bay State Taxi's CEO, confirmed that the firm had a particularly poor service this past year. Mr. Bishop also affirmed that his company's driver's offices are secure, saying that taxi customers can be assured by the city's monitoring system.
But he said they said that every taxi had been inspected and fixed before it went to inspector. Red cab manager Matt Mazotta agrees that the city's inspectorates are "much stricter" than in other municipalities. Mazotta said he doubted that city officials would have been so indignant if the default rates had been at 20 per cent or lower.
In addition to ordering spot tests, which will last until November inspection, Sandman said his executive committee resolved to revoke a watering down of its policies regarding the ages of driver stations that can be operated in the city. He said that the transportation authority last winters abandoned its rules that taxi drivers older than six years must be substituted, at the instigation of one of the company.
"He said City Taxi asked us to allow older automobiles on the street because next year the city might need newer or even red-hot automobiles as part of the move to a locket system for the issuance of operational approvals. The Brookline conversion was chosen to create revenues; locket sales can be sold as opposed to licences and are often more valued by taxi operators.
However, after the results of this spring's inspections, the boards have reintroduced the rules, and all 2004 aircraft must be superseded by November; Bay State is already equipping replacement for its 17 cabins this year. Mr Bethany said he supported the city's move to medaillons because he will take part of the policy out of licencing.
This year' s embarrassment of the city's taxi company was an example of such a policy, he said. Meanwhile, Sandman said, Brookline taxi passengers should not get into a taxi that they don't have cleaned or refrigerated or that looks insecure. Said the independently-run taxis - Bay State and Red Cab subsidiaries included - had outperformed the three largest firms this year.