With the festive period upon us, Sedgemoor District Council is urging residents to stay safe this Christmas and book taxis in advance of their evening out.

When the party is over and you need to get home, the council has issued several guidelines about using council-licensed taxis.

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 small plate displayed in the front windscreen.

Hackney Carriages can pick up passengers from designated taxi ranks and can pick up passengers if you 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 small duplicate plate in the front windscreen and a blue and white roof sign.

Private Hire Vehicles can only be booked in advance through an operator at an agreed fare and they cannot be flagged down.

Drivers must display their Sedgemoor identification around their neck on a lanyard and somewhere on the dashboard for the front passenger to see. If you have any doubts, a genuine licenced driver will be happy to show you their identification before starting your journey.

Never get in to 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. For your own safety, always take a council licensed vehicle – the driver and vehicle have both been checked.

Always ensure 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.

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