How to take a taxi safely

No matter if you are male or female, young or old, it’s important you keep yourself safe when getting a taxi. Getting a taxi is generally considered safer than walking home alone, or getting public transport, however there are still risks. We will go through how to get a taxi safely and how to make a complaint about a taxi driver if needed.

Where possible…pre book 

 Pre booking a taxi, or using a private hire car is the safest way to use taxi services. This is because there will be an official log of your journey and pre booked taxis are often tracked.  

There are two different types of vehicles, a Private Hire car and a Taxi. 

Private Hire- A car that must be booked through a licensed operator   

Taxi– A car that can be hired immediately from a taxi rank or hailed down on the street 

 

Make sure your taxi, or private hire is legal

Using an illegal taxi is one of the most dangerous things you can do. These cars are unlicensed, which means they have not been subject to the rigours checks that are needed to gain a licence. The drivers also haven’t had any vetting, such as a DBS or medical check. An illegal taxi is classed as a vehicle with no taxi licence that charges over 45p per mile. There is a trend for people to advertise their lift services on Facebook, this is also illegal and unsafe.

 

How to make sure a taxi is licensed  

 

  1. A licensed vehicle will normally display a licence plate on the front or rear of the vehicle. The plate will include the licensing authority, licence number & the vehicle registration number 
  2. A licensed driver will wear or have on display an identity badge. The badge will include the licensing authority and driver licence number. 
  3. If you can’t see either ASK. 

 

Quick safety tips

  • Make sure that you’ve got enough money aside for your journey home.
  • Make sure it’s the taxi you booked – before getting into a car that appears to be yours ask the driver the name and destination he has been given to confirm that he is your driver.
  • If a car stops without you flagging it down and claims to be a taxi – DON’T GET IN– taxi drivers are only supposed to stop when hailed.
  • Always sit in the back, directly behind the driver if possible, don’t sit in the front next to the driver – don’t worry about appearing unfriendly
  • If chatting to the driver, keep to general topics and don’t give them any personal information about yourself.

 

How to make a complaint About a Taxi

You can take all the safety precautions you like, but there can be some things out of your control. If you are a victim of a crime while a passenger of a taxi then you must call the police. However, if you feel that something happened in the taxi that you are unhappy with that might not be a crime; you are still well within your rights to complain.

There are two options for you when it comes to complaining. If you are using a private hire car then most complaints can be taken up with the operator, it’s required that a licensed operator has a complaints policy and this should be followed. Your complaints can be escalated to the council if you are not satisfied with the result. If you are using a taxi that you have flagged down and they don’t have an operator then all complaints will need to be made directly to the council.

We spoke to a licensing officer within a local authority and they gave us the following guidelines;

Things that warrant a complaint to the council:

  • A driving concern – if the driver was acting or driving erratically or in a way that you feel is unsafe, it’s important to raise this with the local authority.
  • Lewd behaviour – if you feel the taxi driver acted in an inappropriate manor, such as talking in a sexual way or making suggestive comments. This would be an urgent incident to bring up with a licensing officer.
  • Mechanical concerns – if you feel the car is in a state of disrepair or has a major fault, then this could pose a danger to other road users and passengers.
  • Overcharged (metered taxi) – if the taxi you take has a meter installed and you were overcharged then you are within your rights to report this.
  • Not satisfied with the response from operator – if you have raised your concern with an operator and you feel it has not been investigated fully or you have not been taken seriously, then you can escalate it to the council.

 

Things that warrant a complaint to the operator;

  • Running late – if the taxi you booked was late, then you can inform the operator. This might be annoying, but doesn’t warrant a call to the council.
  • Not helping with luggage – another issue that doesn’t go against licensing policy and can be taken up with the operator.
  • Untidy taxi- if you feel the car you had was particularly untidy or smelled bad, it’s worth mentioning to the operator.
  • Being over charged (non-metered taxi) – if you have agreed a price in advanced that isn’t stuck to, this needs to be discussed with the operator.

 

While in the taxi if you want to make a complaint then you should; make a note of the drivers badge number, make a note of the vehicle plate number, note the time, date and location. This will help the licensing officer to identify the operator and driver, so they can be investigated.

Duty of Care

It is a taxi drivers right to ask you to leave their vehicle for any reason. However, they do have a duty of care to not leave you unsafe. They are required to direct you to another form of transport or a safe place to shelter. If you feel that you were left in an unsafe situation by a driver then you can complain to the operator or local authority. It’s important to note that a taxi driver cannot refuse your custom on the basis of journey length.

 

Overall, getting a taxi is a safe way to get around. But it’s important to know how to keep yourself safe when using them. For more information on how to keep yourself safe when walking alone then read our blog Staying Safe While Walking Alone.

 

 

The Keytek® Summer Charity Event

In the warm summer months, we here at Keytek® gathered together in hopes to raise money for charity. Our 2019 charity was the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation, this fantastic charity raises money to help provide opportunities for children and young adults that have big ambitions and motivation but might not have had the best start to life. Recipients of this charity are the embodiment of the foundation’s core values; determination, unselfishness and cheerfulness in adversity.

This charity has helped almost 2000 young people achieve their dreams and go on to achieve great things, and we were very proud to support them as our 2019 Charity.

Our 2019 summer charity event found us out under the ruins of Corfe Castle battling an obstacle course that tested the very finest of Keytek’s athletic workforce! The Mud Trail consists of a 2km trail lined with obstacles, balance beams, rope traverses, cargo nets and water tubes to provide 2 hours of endless fun. However, once you add the tonne of mud covering and encasing every obstacle that’s when things get really interesting!

Caked under at least 3 layers of mud, all of us here at Keytek® thoroughly enjoyed the day under the sun traversing through the various obstacles with grace, letting our hair down and making the most of time out of the office. We had falls, slips, slides and even the occasional head first drive into the mud, but overall  it was a great day that allowed us to come together as a workforce and not only do something extremely fun but allow us to raise money for charity.

Many of our gracious Locksmiths sponsored us through the event alongside our family members, and got many a laugh with all of our muddy faces! Through their generous donations we managed to raise a grand total of £925!

We are proud to support John Thornton Young Achievers Fund, and help give young adults the chance to purse their dreams through scholarships and bursaries.

If you would like to know more about the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation, click here to view their website.