New Stevenage safety campaign warns of 'attack risk' and 'rip-off fares' when using taxi touts
PUBLISHED: 16:58 11 January 2020
A taxi safety campaign launched by Stevenage Borough Council is warning people about the chance of being "lured into a stranger's car, where there is the risk of being mugged or attacked".
Stevenage Borough Council's hard-hitting campaign - highlighted by posters in pubs and bars around the town - warns against using touts because you could be putting your life in danger.
Taxis licensed by SBC are regularly checked to ensure they are safe and legally compliant. Criminal and medical checks are also carried out on drivers.
The local authority is keen to stress that it has no control over taxis operating in Stevenage but not licensed by them, so cannot ensure they are checked to the same standard.
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Councillor Jackie Hollywell, SBC's portfolio holder for community safety, said: "Most people are not aware of the different standards expected of taxis or taxi drivers licensed by different authorities, and that not all drivers or vehicles face the same safeguarding or safety checks."
A spokesman for the borough council added: "Beware of touts who ply for business late at night around clubs and pubs. All will claim to offer the very best price and to look after you personally. They won't. Some will not be properly licensed, may not have the correct insurance, or will just rip you off with an inflated fare. As you are being lured into what is effectively a stranger's car, there is also the risk of being mugged or attacked.
"Only use licensed taxis. If you are unsure, avoid using them."
Private hire vehicles - including Uber - must be pre-booked and cannot be hailed on the street. Those licensed by SBC display a green plate on the rear of the vehicle showing the council's logo, their licence number and the expiry date.
A hackney carriage can be hailed on the street or approached at a taxi rank. Those licensed by SBC have a 'taxi' sign on the roof, and display a yellow plate on the rear of the vehicle showing the council's logo, their licence number and the expiry date.
All taxi drivers licensed by SBC - whether hackney carriage or private hire - should display clearly visible badges that include their photograph, name, licence number and expiry date. These badges are yellow and green and must be produced on request by a customer.