Getting into a taxi is something that most of us do automatically, and without paying much attention to a number of factors which can potentially lead to a situation where you can be put in danger. Add to the fact that often taxis are used towards the end of the night when the passenger may be tired or drunk, and the potential threat is further increased. Criminals are all too aware of the vulnerability of people whose usual common sense may be compromised due to alcohol or the urgency to get somewhere, and the number of crimes committed by bogus taxi drivers is on the increase.
There are several obvious signals that
will warn you NOT to step into some taxis
– be conscious of them, even towards
the end of a long night or when you are
desperate for a taxi:
The driver – trust your instincts; if you feel uncomfortable getting into the
car then don’t!
Does the driver appear to be drunk or in an unfit state to drive?
What is the state of the vehicle? Taxi licensees are required to show that
their vehicle is mechanically healthy, and a professional taxi driver who
earns a living from driving will be in a well-presented vehicle.
There’s no taxi meter- Actually, this isn’t as straight-forward as it seems. Some local councils DON’T insist on taxi meters, however if there’s no meter, make sure that you agree a price for your journey before it starts, asking for the quote to be noted on a card or receipt.
There’s no taxi licence on display- Your driver should always have a badge on display bearing his or her licence number, issued by the local council as a symbol of safety. If there isn’t one this is a bad sign – don’t get in!
The driver doesn’t know the location of your destination- If the driver is asking you for directions, they don’t know the area. This can be a sure sign that they are operating illegally or with malicious intent.
If a stranger has hopped in and suggested sharing the taxi- It’s not unknown for criminals to act in pairs in these situations.
The driver has bypassed the front of the queue to pick you up It’s not a lucky coincidence. Don’t get in.
If possible, pre-book your taxi, or telephone a local firm when you leave the venue. If you are in a new city or town then use the internet to find the number of a local taxi firm and save it to your phone. This will help to protect against getting picked up by a fraudster. Give your last name and ensure the driver knows it when they pick you up.
Don’t place any bags or personal belongings in the boot, in case you need to leave the car quickly. If you’re on your own,
as soon as you get into the taxi, take down the licence number – type it into your mobile phone and text it to a friend.
Keep your mobile switched on and close to hand. But don’t spend the journey chatting – keep a close eye on the route
your driver is taking.
If you do speak to the driver, make sure you don’t give away any personal information about yourself. If, at any moment,
you begin to feel uncomfortable, then ask to be put down in a well-lit area or by a police station or officer and call for another cab. Don’t feel embarrassed to do this – authentic taxi drivers understand your concerns and will be happy to
let you out at a safe place. If the driver won’t stop, call the police or start shouting from the window.