CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s inspector general has raised questions about inspections of taxi cabs by the city that regulates the taxi industry, and a top administration official has blamed faulty equipment for some of the problems.
In its latest report, Inspector General Joseph Ferguson’s office noted the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection has been making the required semiannual inspections on more than 99 percent of the nearly 7,000 cabs it’s supposed to inspect, but those inspections might not meet the department’s own standards.
For example, a brake testing machine is broken, and some safety citation records are missing.
BACP Commissioner Maria Guerra Lapacek acknowledged the department’s standards call for a machine to test the brakes on taxis during required inspections, but said “the problem with our brake machine is that it’s not been functional, and we’ve had a lot of problems getting it to work.”
Lapacek said the city has been using certified human inspectors – with more than 30 years of experience each – to make the safety checks.
“It’s actual physical tests. It’s visual inspections of the actual brakes. Testing the brakes out themselves, by doing some driving, and this has been a safety industry standard practice. So we’re going with our kind of manual inspection versus the brake machine,” she said.
Fergoson’s office has noted BACP has been inspecting just about all the thousands of taxis it should, at a rate of about 20 per hour, and has plans to audit its own performance as well.