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Fires lead to black cab recall

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Hundreds of Hackney carriages could be withdrawn from service after a number were reported to have burst into flames.

Transport for London (TfL) said about 600 black cabs were due to undergo checks following a series of fires under the bonnet. The affected TX4 cabs could be taken off the road if they failed to pass the safety checks.

The cases are being dealt with by London Taxis International (LTI) and TfL's Public Carriage Office (PCO), which licences black cabs and other hire vehicles.

A TfL spokesperson said: "LTI has informed the PCO of a number of under-bonnet fires in TX4 taxis with a 56 registration. The manufacturer is recalling all TX4s in this registration range to allow further investigation and a thorough safety check of the vehicles' engines which must be carried out within the next two weeks.

"The safety of London's black cab drivers and their passengers is our top priority. We have therefore written to all affected taxi owners to advise them that we will suspend the licence of any cab which has not passed this inspection by the deadline set.

"We are offering LTI as much assistance as possible to carry out these checks quickly and with minimal inconvenience for taxi drivers and owners. We have also instructed an independent fire safety expert to carry out our own investigation into these fires."

© The Press Association 2008