Whether you live in a bustling city or a remote town, at some point in life you will most likely hire a taxi to get you to the airport, a night out, or practically anywhere you like. Thanks to the likes of Uber, it’s easy to make bookings and schedule in travel time to suit your lifestyle.
Recent research has shown that the number of taxis and private hire vehicles increased by 1.7 percent in England and Wales, which in the grand scheme of things is quite a big increase, as it’s the highest number since records were first recorded in 2005.
Unfortunately, there is a downside to the industry, with crimes in recent years committed by drivers in Rochdale and Rotherham leading to a consultation launch on the taxi and private hire industry in the hope to implement stricter rules on licensing drivers so as to protect vulnerable people.
In order to keep safe wherever you’re travelling, follow these simple tips on how to stay safe in taxis and private hire vehicles:
Soon, taxis and PHVs could be required by the law to install CCTV cameras in their vehicles. Until this happens, waiting in taxi ranks which have CCTV installed will enable people to trace where passengers were picked-up in the event of an emergency situation. Criminals are less likely to target passengers who will have evidence of being attacked on a recording.
Simply by telling either someone you’re on your way to go and meet, or someone who you’ve just left that you’re travelling, will reassure people that you’re safe. Charging your smartphone or bringing a portable charger so that you will be able to contact someone in the event of an emergency is also a good idea.
This is especially useful if you are travelling to areas that you’re unfamiliar with. Outlining your route will give you peace of mind that you’ll be arriving at your destination in good time and indicate to others that you’re safe. Familiarise yourself with the location in advance and keep relevant information at hand, including an emergency contact.
Installing free apps such as Find My iPhone or Find My Device will help locate your smartphone if it’s lost or stolen. Too often the following can happen to us after a night out: you’ve left your phone in your back pocket or placed it on your lap/beside you and accidentally left it behind. Research from Direct Line revealed that between March 2016 to March 2017, approximately 183 phones were stolen in the UK, with the majority being iPhones. Therefore, it’s sensible to download apps which can trace your phone to wherever it may have ended up.
If you’re travelling alone, stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Try and hail a taxi in a well-lit area where there is plenty of people and traffic. No matter what, it’s imperative to stay seen by others so there are witnesses who can help you if you’re in distress. While travelling in the taxi or PHV, check that the direction you’re going in is either familiar to you or, if it’s not, check on Maps on your smartphone that you’re travelling in the right direction. If you feel as though you’re in danger, don’t hesitate to ask the driver to stop at the nearest opportunity – stay calm and if they don’t stop, call 999 immediately.
Churchill Security is an SIA-approved and accredited private security company with CCTV security across numerous UK locations.