Tips to Keep You Safe in London and UK Taxis
We all read, see and hear awful stories the publicâ€™s experiences with taxi journeys and when you look into the facts in detail most occur in unlicensed minicabs.You hear comments like, it was cheaper or it was the only taxi available, but at the end of the day it is their safety and well being that they are risking.This is the reason you should only use licensed taxis even if it might cost you a little more or you have a longer wait is a safe journey home!
So what is the difference between and unlicensed and a licensed or an authorised taxi apart from your safe journey home.Well all local authorities or councils are responsible for licensing taxis; they have a department that issues licenses for both the taxi and its driver. Every licensing officer works from the same guidelines so throughout the UK with the exception of a few slight differences all applicable taxi regulations are pretty much the same.
Firstly looking at the vehicle itself the taxi must be fit for purpose and in good repair. It must have a full road safety or mot certificate and most council will require a separate taxi test.Quite often this extra test is required every six months. Because of the high mileage a taxi drives in a year often more than a thousand miles per week, this is an extra safeguard on the taxis road worthy ness. Enabling the local licensing authority to make sure taxis operating in its area keep to the required standard above all safe for the driver and its passengers.
They also require copies of the insurance policy for each taxi and that it provides sufficient cover.Not only for the taxi vehicle but also has adequate public liability cover so in the event of an accident you are covered.Most standard car insurance policies do not cover for hire and reward with taxi insurance this is included. So if you take the chance with and un licensed cab or taxi its unlikely the vehicle even if it is insured will not be covered as a taxi and you will not be insured! The vehicle is therefore operating outside the law.
Once the local council licensing authority is satisfied the taxi has meet all its requirements it receives a numbered plate this shows the details of that authority the vehicle make model and number plate, some also show the colour.It also shows the permitted maximum number of passengers the taxi is allowed to carry at any one time and the license expiry.Please never ask a taxi driver to take more than his maximum number of passengers as they will risk losing his job and the vehicle will not be covered by insurance for that trip.
In addition to the taxi the driver is also licensed by the local licensing authority.This requires the applicant driver to have a full medical check up on a regular basis.Also required is an enhanced criminal records or police check to ensure the taxi driver is a fit and proper person to hold a license.These details and medical are usually checked every three years.
Anyone with a police criminal record for anything the licensing authority considers improper conduct will not be granted or will have his license removed should anything convictions be found between checks.This again protects the public travelling in taxis.
Before a taxi driver is granted his or her license they also has to take a separate driving test designed for taxi drivers, that is in addition to having a full uk driving license.After all this the Taxi Driver is then tested on this local area knowledge.This is known in the taxi trade as the knowledge.Once the driver has satisfied all the requirements of the local authority they will be granted a license given a taxi drivers photo identity badge with their details on.This should be clearly displayed for passengers to see.
So next time you intend to take a taxi journey please take a few extra seconds to check both the taxi vehicle has a current plate and the Driver has his photo ID badge.Both should be issued by the authority of the area in which you are hiring and up to date.
If you are in any doubt wait for the next taxi it is always better to be safe than sorry.