Stay taxi safe and enjoy New Year's Eve
New Year revellers are being reminded to stay safe and to only use licensed taxis when heading out to celebrate.
Mendip District Council has issued some simple tips, to help people avoid being targeted by rogue operators during the busy party season.
There are only two types of vehicles licensed to carry passengers - Hackney Carriages and Private Hire vehicles. These will have a taxi plate fixed to the rear of the vehicle, so make sure the vehicle you are entering has one of these.
Drivers must also wear their identification badge where it is visible, and you can ask to see the driver's badge. Mendip's licensed drivers wear green badges, which has a photo of the driver, their licence number and expiry date.
Those using illegal unlicensed taxis run the risk of being ripped-off, travelling in a vehicle which is not roadworthy and being uninsured if involved in an accident.
Here are some simple tips and advice on how to stay taxi safe this festive season:
- Always book in advance or make sure you have the number of several local taxi firms stored in your phone before going out.
- Only ever flag down licensed hackney carriages and ensure the meter is being used.
- Make sure the vehicle is properly licensed by checking the rear licence plate and door stickers before getting into the vehicle. The plate also shows the maximum number of passengers the vehicle is allowed to carry.
- Check the driver is properly licensed. Licensed drivers will be happy to show their identification badge.
- Do not get into any vehicle that is parked on the street (other than a taxi parked on a taxi rank) or is parked outside a pub.
- If you are travelling alone, always sit behind the driver and keep conversations professional. Never share any personal information.
- Always inform a friend or family member of what car you are in, what company you are using and who you are travelling with.
If you hail a cab on the street and were dissatisfied, don't forget to note the vehicle registration number and taxi plate number. Once you have this information and the journey details, you can report this to a Licensing Officer at Mendip District Council. Reporting is easier if you pre-booked with a licensed taxi company.
Cllr Heather Shearer, Portfolio Holder for Community Health, said: "We want our residents and visitors to enjoy the festive season and get home safely after a night out in our district. Following these tips for using licensed taxi's in Mendip will help ensure you have a safe and sound Christmas and New Year."
Find out more about taxis and private hire in Mendip here: www.mendip.gov.uk/taxisandprivatehire