Transport for London (TfL) has illegal minicab touts in its sights as it steps up the Safer Travel at Night campaign.
We've all been there — a few too many in the bar, missed the last tube and not a black cab in sight, but getting into an unlicensed minicab is never a good idea. Now in its thirteenth year, TfL's campaign, run in partnership with the Metropolitan and City of London police has seen 8,000 arrests made since 2003.
The team carries out vehicle and driver licensing checks as well as anti-touting operations and engages with people on the streets to discourage them from using illegal minicabs. Last year, more than 3,600 minicabs and taxis were stopped and checked, while 94 arrests were made for minicab touting. The Met's chief superintendent Matt Bell said:
"The Roads and Transport Policing Command is committed to reducing cab-related sexual offences as a priority. These results show the importance we place on stopping and tackling illegal cab drivers operating in London.
"The dangers of using unlicensed and unbooked minicabs should never be underestimated. Any minicab journey that is not booked is not safe."
The police and TfL's Safer Travel at Night team urge Londoners to remember these key points:
- If you approach a minicab driver directly, or they approach you, it doesn't mean your minicab is booked. Minicab drivers who accept a fare this way are acting illegally.
- If someone hails you a minicab on the street, it doesn't mean they have booked it.
- Even if your minicab has a licence sticker, your minicab is illegal and unsafe unless you have booked it with a licensed minicab company.
If you can't find a black cab to flag down, book your taxi directly with the minicab company on the phone, online or in person.