Picture the scene.
You’re out on a night out and as you walk out of a club or bar all you can think of is going home, and as fast as possible. So you go to the nearest taxi, jump in and after a brief haggle you get on your way.
Now how many of you realised that what you just did was illegal and you are uninsured for the journey? No? Me neither. For years I have been jumping into taxis without booking and asking them to take me home, blissfully unaware that what I was doing was illegal.
However, the simple fact is, if you don’t book a taxi and it is not registered as a Hackney Carriage then the driver’s insurance does not cover you as a passenger.
When I found that out I was shocked. I always book a taxi en route for a night out but rarely do I give them a call for the return journey.
It made me think back to times I have ever been in any danger and I’m pleased, and fortunate, to say I have rarely had problems with taxi drivers in the city.
However, I did jump into a cab once after a night out when it had been snowing. The driver, while being cautious, skidded going round a roundabout and into the path of what could have been oncoming traffic.
It doesn’t bear thinking about what could have happened had a car been coming the other way or if we had been going just a few miles an hour faster.
If you speak to any of the city’s private hire companies they will encourage you to book a taxi whenever you can so that they are as safe as possible but when alcohol takes over how many people are going to do that?
And if you do give a company a call how many of you will actually get in the taxi you booked? So many times people just lean into a cab, ask who the cab driver is waiting for and then claim to be that person.
Now I know what you’re thinking. If it’s been booked by someone else then it’s not illegal. Wrong. The person who books the cab must then be in it or it is again not a valid booking and not an insured journey.
But it is happening across the city, not just after nights out, and people need to be made aware of the potential dangers they face when they are getting into a cab they have not booked.
Everyone I have since told about this issue has been as shocked as I was and equally unaware of the problems they face after a night out.
They have vowed to be more careful and start booking taxis more in the future.
I hope they aren’t just saying that because I would hate to be writing about a friend of mine who has got into an illegal cab and something has happened to them.
If the difference between security and danger is a 30 second phone call don’t you think it’s worth it?