City of Wolverhampton Council is helping to protect taxi and Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) drivers by providing personal safety alarms in every vehicle and safety guides for every driver.
The Secured by Design alarms, part of a national police security initiative, have a powerful 140 decibel siren and will help drivers raise the alarm if they feel threatened or unsafe.
The alarms will be rolled out across the council’s fleet of 20,000 licensed vehicles as drivers attend their annual inspections.
To offer further protection, the authority’s regulatory committee has approved the option of installing driver safety enclosures which separate drivers from passengers. Drivers may choose to install these if they wish.
In addition, the council has worked in partnership with West Midlands Police to produce a ‘Safety Tips for Taxi and Private Hire Drivers’ guide.
The guide gives helpful information about subjects such as vehicle condition, accepting and collecting passengers, best ways to communicate and what to do if a problem arises.
The driver safety advice guide is free and available to download at https://www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/licences/taxi-licences
To help taxi and PHV journeys go smoothly, council officers are also sharing the following advice:
wait for your taxi in a place where your driver can safely park while you get in the vehicle
give the driver the exact address of your destination in advance. If you’re not sure, you can use the Royal Mail Postcode Finder.
Councillor Phil Page, Chair of City of Wolverhampton Council’s statutory licensing committee and regulatory committee, said: “We deal with licences for a lot of taxis in Wolverhampton and the safety of both passengers and drivers is our top priority. Everyone has a right to feel safe in a taxi.
"As a licensing authority we constantly review driver and passenger safety and ways this can be improved. Providing personal alarms is a great initiative to reassure and protect our drivers.
“Being a taxi driver is a very important job as so many people rely on them for getting to appointments, travelling to work or enjoying leisure time. For this reason, I am also pleased that we have worked with West Midlands Police to develop a helpful guide full of useful pointers to make journeys safer and more comfortable for everyone.”