Taking a taxi?

It’s not surprising that many people, particularly women travelling by themselves, consider taking a taxi to be the safest way to make a journey by public transport. They take you from where you are to where you want to go, operate 24/7, and are governed by rules and regulations to help ensure safety.

As in any aspect of life, there can be risks, but problems are rare. Even so, there are a few hints and tips that are useful to follow when choosing to travel by taxi.

First, ensure you’re using a licensed firm. As well as completing a knowledge test, taxi drivers licensed in Ashfield have to complete a safeguarding course and undergo an advanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

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 and the vehicle registration number. A licensed driver will wear or have on display an identity badge which includes the licensing authority and driver licence number.

If you can’t see either, ASK.

Booking in advance is the best thing to do, with a firm you know and trust. Save their number in your mobile so that in case of emergencies you can call them instantly.

Talking of phones, it applies for lots of reasons but always make sure your battery has plenty of charge. There’s no point in having a taxi number saved if it goes flat while you’re out.

It might sound obvious, but when a vehicle stops to pick you up, make sure it’s the taxi you booked. Before you get in, ask the driver the name it’s booked under and what the destination is, to confirm that he is your driver.

Never get into a car that stops to pick you up if you’ve not booked it, or (in the case of a black cab) hailed it.

Never take a taxi alone if you’re drunk and don’t let a friend travel on their own if they are drunk.

Once you’re in the taxi, sit in the back, not next to the driver, and keep the conversation general, don’t reveal any personal information about yourself. This is the time for that famous “have you been busy?” question!

If you can, let someone know you’ve been picked up and how long you expect to be before you arrive at your destination.

There have been lots of reports recently about the considerable number of taxi drivers who have not returned to driving after the pandemic. This means those who are back on the road are extra busy. Even so, never get into a taxi with other passengers you don’t know and don’t allow your taxi to stop to pick someone else up.

Taxis are a great, safe way to get home after a night out or a late shift. Just use your common sense, do a few simple checks, and, of course, if you have any doubts at all do not get in the vehicle.