Use black taxis or pre-booked minicabs New Year’s Eve
- Unbooked minicabs are illegal and unsafe
- TfL and policing partners step up activity to tackle touting and unlawful plying for hire
As New Year's Eve approaches and people make plans to go out to celebrate, Transport for London (TfL) and its policing partners are urging Londoners who intend to use cabs to ensure they get home safely by committing to only using black taxis or a pre-booked minicab.
All minicab, or private hire, operators must be licensed by TfL and bookings must be made for all journeys - minicabs lined up outside pubs and clubs are breaking the law if they accept a fare without a booking being made through the operator first.
TfL and partners are urging Londoners not to approach minicab drivers directly - and reminding revelers that any minicab driver that approaches someone on the street is acting illegally. Only black taxis can be stopped by customers to pick them up off the street.
If a bouncer hails a minicab on the street, or if a person approaches a minicab directly - even if it has a TfL licence sticker - it's not booked and it's not safe.
Steve Burton, Director of Enforcement and On-Street Operations, said:
'We want everyone to get home safely on New Year's Eve. If you decide to take a cab home, please do not use an unbooked minicab - they are not safe and they are not insured.
'All minicabs need to be pre-booked with a licensed operator, either in person at a minicab office, over the telephone, or via a cab booking app. Any minicab that picks someone up off the street, whether they offer you a cab or you approach them, is acting illegally.'
Officers from TfL's funded Roads and Transport Policing Command, City of London Police (CoLP) and TfL's Taxi and Private Hire compliance officers will be stepping up enforcement activity to deal with unbooked minicabs at hotspots across London, to help keep the public safe as they travel home at night.
TfL's Safer Travel at Night (STaN) initiative, which is a partnership between the Mayor, TfL, Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), the CoLP and the British Transport Police, was set up to improve the safety of travelling at night through industry regulation and licensing, enforcement and education. The 2014 STaN campaign aims to make people aware of the dangers of picking up un-booked minicabs off the street, such as robbery and sexual assault.
TfL's Enforcement and On-Street Directorate continues to work closely with the Taxi and Private Hire trade, the MPS and CoLP to ensure the safety of passengers using London's taxi and private hire services, including tackling touting and unlawful plying for hire.
Over 400 officers are mobilised for major operations such as STaN. TfL directly funds 68 dedicated police cab enforcement officers, 41 TfL compliance officers and 22 vehicle inspection staff. The operations also use Safer Transport Team officers and a group of 290 female police officers are called upon as part of covert anti-touting operations.
In 2013/14 the number of cab related sexual offences in London fell by 15 per cent compared to the previous year, with rape offences down 30 per cent. However, any incident is one too many and the STaN initiative is dedicated to driving this down further. Over 700 arrests were made in 2013/14 for illegal touting for hire, and over 8,000 since 2003.
More information about the STaN campaign and how to get home safely can be found at: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/campaign/be-cabwise.
The public can report touting or illegal cabs on the TfL website here: https://tfl.gov.uk/forms/12368.aspx.
Notes to Editors:
The only way to know a minicab is official is to book directly with the minicab company via phone, online or in person. TfL advises Londoners to:
- Download a cab booking app;
- Phone or go into any licensed minicab office;
- Use marshalled taxi ranks or hail a black cab.