People reminded to be ‘taxi aware’ to get home safely

Leeds City Council's campaign urges taxi people to do a few simple checks to make sure they get home safely.
Leeds City Council's campaign urges taxi people to do a few simple checks to make sure they get home safely.
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Everyone visiting Leeds city centre at night are being reminded of a few simple checks to make sure they get home safely.

Leeds City Council is launching a new safety campaign ‘Are you taxi aware?’ to remind people of the importance of making sure they get into a properly licenced taxi or pre-booked private hire vehicle to avoid taking risks with their safety.

Posters and leaflets have been produced to make people more aware of the difference between hackney carriages (taxis) and private hire vehicles and highlight the risks of getting into an unlicensed taxi or private hire vehicle. They will also be on display in pubs and clubs across the city.

The campaign is asking people to be ‘aware’ and follow five simple rules:

• Always pre-book

• Only use a licensed taxi or pre-booked private hire vehicle

• Wait for it to arrive

• Never get into a vehicle other than the one you have booked or a Hackney carriage you have hailed in the street or at a taxi rank

• Always check their badge

• Confirm the driver is licensed and that they have a badge

• Ride with friends

• Sharing a vehicle is a great idea and always sit in the back seats

• Enter only when sure:

• If you have any doubts, don’t get in, and order another vehicle

Coun Mary Harland chair of the licensing committee said: “With the influx of students returning to the city wanting to take advantage of the great nightlife here, we want to make sure their time in Leeds is as worry-free as possible.

“We are reminding people to keep their wits about them when choosing how to get home after a night out in Leeds as getting into an unlicensed taxi or private hire vehicle, is just like letting a complete stranger take you home – there are none of the safeguards that properly licensed drivers must adhere to.

“These guidelines are intended to help people make the right choices to get them home safely. By following a few simple steps you can avoid the potentially devastating result of getting in a car with the wrong person.”

To help revellers stay safe, Leeds City Council is asking them to remember a few simple facts:

• Taxis (officially called Hackney Carriages) can be hailed in the street. Most look like traditional black cabs, and all taxis have an illuminated ‘taxi’ sign on the roof.

• Private hire vehicles cannot be hailed in the street – they must be pre-booked with an operator, otherwise they are not insured and no record of the journey is kept.

• The driver must have an ID badge on display.

• The vehicle must have a Leeds City Council licence plate on the back.

• Cars cruising the street looking for customers are illegal and will be uninsured to take paying passengers.

• Be careful not to give any personal details to the driver if you chat to them.

• If you feel threatened ask the driver to stop in a busy area and get out of the car. If the driver refuses to stop call the police from your mobile and try to alert other drivers and pedestrians by waving and shouting out of the car.

Leeds City Council’s taxi and private hire licensing team is responsible for making sure that drivers, vehicles and operators meet the terms of their licence and that the trade in Leeds is operated in a professional manner. People can report any complaints or concerns about the taxi and private hire trade to the Taxi and Private Hire licensing section on 0113 3781570 or by emailing taxiprivatehire.licensing@leeds.gov.uk.