By Cara Sulieman
A TAXI driver is taking his iconic black cab’s maker to court after his vehicle burst into flames.
David Gillan had a dramatic lucky escape when his engine caught fire – and now he hopes to open a legal floodgate for hundreds of cabbies who have suffered similar problems.
Clangers have blighted the world famous London Taxi International TX4 model, with over 500 cabs taken off the road since August when seven fires broke out within the space of three months.
David’s vehicle has been recalled and branded “unfit for purpose” – so he is taking the firm that sold him his cab to court over lost earnings and repair bills.
Since Edinburgh taxi officials recalled it, David, who owns the cab with his brother Robert, has been struggling to make ends meet.
He said: “This is our only source of income, so to have the cab off the road for months has meant that we have lost a lot of money.
“Ever since we bought the vehicle, it has been problem after problem and we’ve just had enough.
“In the last year and a half we’ve had to deal with seven burst radiators, a ruptured thermostat, the inner wing collapsing, as well as three fuel leaks.
“The final fuel leak led to the fire under the bonnet, and we were very lucky that we were able to put it out. I know one other cabbie with the same make of taxi as us and his vehicle was completely destroyed after the engine caught fire.”
The 45-year-old is suing Black Horse Finance; the company who sold him the faulty cab.
If he wins, it could open a floodgate of claims from other cabbies who have suffered from the dangerous taxis.
David said: “Despite all these problems, no-one has taken responsibility for them. The finance company doesn’t want to know, as they say it’s not their fault, and the manufacturers LTI are doing exactly the same.
“They’re not even accepting that there is a fault with the cabs in the first place.
“As far as I’m concerned, these taxis are faulty and dangerous and should never have been allowed on the road. A lot of taxi drivers like us are furious that they have lost huge sums of money by purchasing these cabs.
“I am determined to get the compensation that I’m due for loss of earnings, as well as for the expense of buying the vehicle in the first place.”
It is the LTI manufactured TX4 type cabs with a 56 registration plate that have experienced a catalogue of problems, leading to them being banned from the streets of London and Edinburgh.
Cabbies in London had seven engine fires in the space of three months in TX4’s, leading to over 500 of the make being removed from the streets.
Warners solicitors, who have taken on quite a few similar cases, will represent David.
David Wilson, a Legal Partner with the firm, said: “We are also representing a number of other taxi drivers in compensation cases over loss of earnings caused by these taxis, which will be taking place over the coming months.”
The Edinburgh Taxi Operators Association said they will not be taking an active role in the compensation claims, but will keeping an eye on the results of the court case.
A spokesperson for Black Horse Finance said: “As Mr Gillian intends to take this matter to court, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.”