Christmas revellers in the Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge area have this week been warned to stay safe by booking taxis in advance of their evening out.
Sedgemoor District Council, which licenses local taxis, says that when parties are over and you need to get home, there are several guidelines to follow.
“Never get into a taxi that does not display an appropriate plate on the back of the vehicle. It may not be insured and may not be licensed,” says council spokeswoman Claire Faun.
“Ensure that the driver is displaying a council-approved driver’s badge. For your own safety, always take a council licensed vehicle – the driver and vehicle have both been checked.”
“Hackney Carriage Vehicles have a green roof sign and a green and white plate attached to the front and rear of the vehicle displaying the vehicle licence number. They also have a duplicate plate displayed in the front window. Hackney Carriages can ply for hire from designated taxi ranks and can pick up passengers who flag them down.”
“Private Hire Vehicles have a blue and white plate attached to the front and rear of the vehicle displaying the vehicle licence number. They also have a smaller duplicate plate in the front window. Private Hire Vehicles can only be booked in advance through an operator and they cannot be flagged down.”
She added: “Always ensure that the meter is used in a hackney carriage. The meter must only be switched on once you are in the vehicle. The meter shows the maximum by law that can be charged for the journey from pick up to drop off. Operators are perfectly entitled to charge below this but cannot charge more.”
“Don’t let a good night out be ruined by an unlicensed taxi. Always book in advance or make sure you have the number of several local taxi firms stored in your mobile phone before going out.”
“Before getting in a taxi ensure the driver knows the destination and always sit in the back. Make sure that you’re picked up and dropped off somewhere familiar and well lit, however if you feel uneasy with the driver ask them to stop at a busy, familiar place and get out.”