National Personal Safety Day: Know Your Ride

Today is National Personal Safety Day and the Suzy Lamplugh Trust have chosen to highlight passenger safety when using Private Hire Vehicles and taxis.

A survey carried out on their behalf discovered eight out of ten people have ‘little knowledge’ of what taxis and minicabs are legally allowed to do. The research highlighted the risk people place themselves in by potentially using ‘fake’ vehicles instead of properly registered and licensed drivers.

The YouGov poll revealed only 15% of people feel knowledgeable about how taxis and minicabs can legally operate.

The issue has hit the spotlight recently with the decision by Transport for London not to renew Uber’s license in London, with one of their concerns being over safety.

Most worryingly, the trust say, people do not know what minicabs are legally allowed to do when picking up passengers. Although all private hire vehicles must be pre-booked by law, one in five people (21%) think that minicabs can be hailed on the street, and a quarter of people (26%) believe minicabs can take passengers who approach them while parked.

“Minicab drivers who pick up unbooked passengers are committing a criminal offence and drivers that operate without a license pose a risk to passenger safety and cast a shadow over the whole industry,” said’s Chief Executive Matthew Kendall.

“We know that late at night when people want to get home their is this temptation, particularly after a drink, to take risks but it is just not worth taking your chances particularly when modern technology means you can stay safe by having your journey tracked and information about your driver and vehicle model and license plate in advance.

“Our app also allows companies to upload driver and vehicle documentation online to add that extra reassurance.”

The results of the survey suggest that illegal and unsafe touts may be able to pick up unsuspecting passengers. Across the country, two fifths of people (42%) have taken a taxi or minicab without checking for a licence on the vehicle first, and over half (57%) have taken a taxi or minicab without asking to see the driver’s ID badge first. Furthermore, 4% of people admit that they have used a taxi or minicab that they knew was illegal, with this number rising to 7% in London.

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust advises anyone using public transport to plan their journey before they go out, and to share information about their journey with someone they trust. If you’re using a taxi or minicab, check that a taxi or minicab licence is displayed on the vehicle, and ask to see the driver’s badge before you start your journey. If you’re using a minicab, remember it must be booked in advance. Always trust your instincts- if you feel worried or threatened, ask the driver to stop in a busy area so you can get out.

Rachel Griffin, Chief Executive of Suzy Lamplugh Trust, commented:

‘People have the right to be able to choose between the modes of transport they use, and to be safe when doing so. We are concerned that many people are unaware of the difference between taxis and minicabs, and may therefore not have the knowledge to make safe choices about which vehicles to use.

It is important that people are informed about their choices, and can easily identify licensed vehicles and distinguish between taxis and minicabs in their area. Licensed taxis and minicabs are regulated, and each type of vehicle must abide by rules which help to keep passengers and drivers safe.

It is never a victim’s fault if they are assaulted or experience aggression as a result of using a taxi or minicab, and any reports or concerns about drivers should be taken seriously by the police. Violent and aggressive incidents which take place on public transport are completely unacceptable, and perpetrators must be held to account for their actions.”

James Button, President of the Institute of Licensing and Solicitor, said:

“Taxis and private hire vehicles are a very safe and convenient form of transport, driven by drivers who have been vetted by the licensing authority and who provide a great service; however, there are always those who will try to take advantage of unsuspecting people. Although you might want to get home quickly, it is far better to get home safely. Always check that the vehicle has a licence plate or sticker displayed identifying the vehicle as either a hackney carriage or private hire vehicle, and ask to see the driver’s badge. Any licensed driver should be happy to show a passenger his badge, and if they can’t or won’t, don’t get into the vehicle. It is better to wait a few minutes for another vehicle than get into an unlicensed vehicle or ride with an unlicensed driver. You might be okay, but you might not, and that is simply not worth the risk.

I am delighted the Suzy Lamplugh Trust are emphasising taxis and private hire vehicles as part of their National Personal Safety Day and I am sure that it will help the public understand what they need to check before using a taxi or private hire vehicle. I hope that the licensed drivers, operators and vehicle proprietors will support it wholeheartedly, and the public will heed the advice.”

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2102 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th – 18th September 2017.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

You can download the campaign poster here Know_Your_Rides_POSTER

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