In an effort to ensure safe and secure travel during the festive season, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council has released a comprehensive checklist for using taxis and private hire vehicles.
With the increase in demand for taxi services around holidays, the Council stresses the importance of distinguishing between black cabs and minicabs.
Key Distinctions Between Taxis and Minicabs
The Council emphasises that black cabs, easily identifiable by their white stripe and white licence plates, are the only taxis legally permitted to stop when hailed on the street. These vehicles also feature a prominent taxi roof light. On the other hand, minicabs, which can be any colour except black, must be pre-booked and display distinctive white licence plates with green borders.
Safety Tips for Taxi Use
Photographing the Vehicle Licence Plate: Passengers are advised to take a photo of the taxi's licence plate, either front or back, for their records. This simple step is crucial in case any issues arise and a report needs to be filed.
Verification Before Boarding: Before entering a taxi, especially during inclement weather, passengers should verify it's the correct vehicle by checking the registration number against the details provided by the minicab service.
Informing Contacts: It’s recommended to inform a friend or family member about the travel details, including sharing location via mapping apps or sending the registration number.
Seating Arrangement: When traveling alone, passengers should sit behind the driver and engage in light, professional conversation.
Avoiding Taxi Touts: The Council warns against using unregistered, uninsured taxi touts, advising passengers to either hail a licensed black cab or pre-book a minicab.
Clarifying Fares in Advance: With different charging mechanisms for black cabs and minicabs, passengers should confirm fares before setting off. Notably, black cab tariffs may vary during the festive period, especially on days like New Year's Eve.
Driver Identification: Passengers have the right to ask to see the driver’s licence badge, which should be worn or displayed in the vehicle.
Reporting Problems: Any issues encountered, particularly with black cabs, should be reported to the Council’s licensing department, with the photograph of the licence plate serving as a key piece of evidence.