Staying safe in taxis over the Christmas period

St Helens Council is urging residents to stay safe when using taxis over
the festive period.

When it’s cold and dark or it’s the end of that big night out, it can be
easy to think more about getting home quickly than staying safe while doing so, but keeping in mind this important information should ensure a safe journey.

There are two types of taxi – a Hackney Carriage or Black Cab and Private Hire Vehicles. Most people don’t realise that they are legally only able to operate in a certain manner.

A Hackney Carriage is allowed to sit on a designated taxi rank and can
collect fares by direct booking. They are the only type of taxi that can be
‘flagged’ down in the street.

The other type of taxi is a Private Hire Vehicle. All licensed Private Hire
Vehicles must carry the branding of their operator and bear their company’s contact details on the passenger doors. They are not allowed to ‘sit’ on taxi ranks and indeed can incur substantial fines for doing so. They cannot be flagged down in the street and can only accept bookings through an operator.

All St Helens taxis – Hackneys and Private Hires – must also be fitted with
a St Helens taxi plate, and the driver’s licence badge should be clearly
visible whilst you’re in the taxi. These are both issued by the Licensing
Authority and must be visible at all times regardless of whether the
vehicle is in use or not. Never enter a vehicle that doesn’t bear the
appropriate markings and plates. All these vehicles and drivers have been
subject to extensive checks to ensure the public safety as part of the
licensing process.

To avoid disappointment or waiting in the cold, it’s a good idea to
pre-book your taxi when travelling during busy operating hours,
particularly over the festive season when extra demands are placed on the
service.

If you’ve decided to be your group’s designated driver it’s worth noting
that if you identify yourself as such at the bar of any of the
participating licensed premises in the town centre, you can receive a free
non-alcoholic drink!

Councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron, Cabinet Member for Green, Smart and
Sustainable Borough, said: “Our Licensing and Land Charges team do a great job of regulating some of the services we use every day, including taxi operators. While licensing ensures these services adhere to the proper protocols, by bearing in mind just a few of the regulations mentioned here, we can make safer and more informed choices.

“However you choose to celebrate and get about St Helens over the festive period, stay safe and have fun!”

Should you need to report an incident with a taxi or licensed premises or
if you have any questions about a licensed vehicle or premises then please visit our website www.sthelens.gov.uk/licensing.

The website contains all the official taxi ranks and operators within the
borough to help you plan your journey safely.