Pub and club goers are being reminded of simple ways to check they are getting home safely after a great night out in Plymouth.
A new information leaflet has been put together by Plymouth City Council and Devon and Cornwall Police to promote passenger safety, particularly late at night.
It aims to raise awareness about where the most popular city centre hackney carriage (taxi) ranks are as well as contact numbers for the main private hire operators so that people can pre-book their journey home.
All licensed vehicles have a licence plate displayed on the rear of the vehicle. Private hire operators also have distinctive yellow passenger door stickers indicating that the vehicle can only be pre-booked.
All licensed drivers will have an ID badge which should normally be worn around the neck. The leaflet also reminds people that if the licence plate or ID badge are not plainly visible, do not enter the vehicle, double check with the operator and report it.
Councillor Brian Vincent, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Safety is paramount, so clubbers should plan their journey home and not be left alone, potentially vulnerable, in unfamiliar surroundings.
“Always stay to together with friends or let them know if you change your plans to ensure that you’re evening out ends well.”
Passengers are reminded that licensed drivers provide a vital service of transporting people home and are entitled to the correct fare as payment for this service. Anyone who gets into a licensed vehicle without sufficient funds, who intends to avoid payment or make off without payment could be liable to prosecution.
The leaflet also reminds people to be wary about using contacts that they do not know particularly well who offer an ‘alternative taxi service’ on Facebook and other social media sites.
Drivers ferrying passengers for a fee must be licensed. Councillor Vincent added: “You can put yourself at risk. These vehicles will not be insured for hiring, the driver will not be insured or subject to a criminal records check.
Sgt Paul Laity, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “The South & Central Local Policing Team works closely with Taxi Licensing; public safety is paramount, it is also essential that taxi drivers are able to go about their business without fear of being a victim of crime.”
The Police and the Council’s taxi licensing officers will check the credentials of drivers who are believed to be offer these services throughout the city and anyone found to be operating illegally will be investigated. The leaflet can be downloaded at www.plymouth.gov.uk/taxi_safe