The people of Wolverhampton can now feel much safer travelling by taxi around the city, thanks to the recently launched ‘Get Home Safe’ campaign.
The local authority is keen to warn and protect those travelling at night in the area, in particular new students. In recent years the dangers of illegal taxis on the roads has been highlighted, and with this in mind it is important that members of the public are able to understand the difference between the different types of taxi available, as well as being able to recognise the legitimacy of the cabs they plan to travel in.
Hackney v’s Private Hire
Hackney carriage taxis, often called black cabs, are licensed vehicles that can be flagged down in the street, which is one of the reasons that most councils require hackneys to have wheelchair access. This type of cab is often found parked in taxi ranks waiting for passengers to approach but can also be pre-booked if required. Ranks are usually situated in busy parts of the city centre, or near to public transport hubs such as train or bus stations. Most importantly, a hackney driver must hold a special hackney carriage driver’s licence. The cabs usually have a taxi roof sign, a meter on display and a plate on the back of the vehicle to provide its licence information.
Private Hire taxis or standard taxis are family sized cars or minibuses carrying up to 8 passengers. They should have door signs displaying their company name and a licence plate on the rear of the car. If choosing to travel in a private hire taxi you are required to pre-book by contacting the companies booking office or accessing the firms mobile app. Private hire drivers are not allowed to enter taxi ranks or pick fares up on the street without prior arrangement.
Awareness is key
People need to be aware that it is an offence for any private hire driver to pick up fares on the street at any time. This is extremely important from a health and safety perspective for several reasons. For any passenger it is unsafe because the driver isn’t insured for the ride, and because there would be no booking or tracking details are available. By pre-booking via the taxi office or the app, much more information on the journey including the route and time taken are available on the operator’s system.
Chris Howell, licensing services manager for the Council said: “At the end of an evening out, most often people just want to get home as quickly as possible and do not always think about the dangers of not pre-booking a private hire vehicle.”
Students Take Care
Students are the main target of this great new campaign – especially students new to the area. In fact, the campaign has been set up just in time for ‘Freshers week’ which starts on 22 September. Stalls promoting the campaign will be found at student fairs around Wolverhampton, Telford and Walsall.
The council have provided safety leaflets along with their ‘Get Home Safe’ branded merchandise to be handed out. In addition, all licenced premises in the area will be encouraged to display posters highlighting the warnings.
Well done to all those involved in this new safety campaign. Let’s continue to make our streets a safer place!