With the nights starting to get lighter, the idea of a night out is looking more and more appealing. It’s really important to always plan your route home and make sure you stick together to all get home safely.
While a taxi often seems the quickest (and warmest) option, unfortunately, there are some people who masquerade as taxi drivers and are, in fact, operating illegally.
There are a few important things to look out for when getting into any taxi. The best advice we can give is to pre-book your taxi through a reputable company, using your surname – don’t offer your name to the driver when they arrive. Instead ask who they are collecting. By using your surname, it takes away the risk of the driver overhearing your friends shouting your name.
However, it can be tricky to know what time you’ll want to leave – if you do hail a taxi on the street or get in a cab at the taxi rank, check these few details:
– Is the car in decent condition? Taxis are required to be mechanically healthy, so if it looks like it could fall apart, chances are it’s not licensed.
– Is there a taxi licence on display? Take a look at it and make sure it looks professional. If there’s no licence, don’t take that taxi.
– Are they confident taking you to your location? Yes, they might not be 100% sure where your address is, especially if you live in a tiny road in the middle of nowhere, but they should be able to get you roughly there without directions. If they can’t, they may not be licensed, as taxi drivers are required to have knowledge of the local area.
– Has the driver skipped the queue to pick you up? That’s a sure sign they’re probably not licensed.
– If you’ve hailed the cab on the street, are they a Hackney carriage? If not, they’re not allowed to pick you up on the street, and you shouldn’t use them.
Uber provides a way to book a taxi using an app and tells you the name of the driver, type of car, licence plate number, rating and a photo of them, so you know exactly who is collecting you. However, there’s not always anything identifying the car as an Uber and so you should always check the registration and, again, not offer your name.
Ultimately, if you are concerned or feel uncomfortable at all, ask the driver to drop you off in a well-lit, populated area and call another taxi. No legitimate taxi driver will refuse and, if the driver does refuse, you should either call the police or try to get the attention of other people in the area.