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Women’s fears about getting into a taxi after night out

Women’s fears about getting into a taxi after night out

Taxi drivers have to go through demanding safety and licensing conditions to earn and maintain their badges.

Despite this, many women say they do not feel safe jumping into a cab after a night out. Instead, they prefer to use a booking app because they know the details of the driver and vehicle and there is an electronic log of the journey.

It is understandable for passengers to seek this reassurance, as well as the families of young people who are studying at universities away from home. But passengers might not realise that black cabs can also be booked using apps, as well as being hailed in the street or at a taxi rank, unlike PHVs which can only be booked in advance.

Safety

Safety is at the heart of taxi and PHV regulation, with the Statutory taxi and private hire vehicle standards guidance aiming to protect children and vulnerable adults. As well as people with disabilities and extra needs, this includes those who have had too much to drink and women on their own at night. Drivers undergo thorough background checks and safeguarding training to be able to help vulnerable people, as well as being able to spot exploitation.

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Particular concerns have been raised about women’s safety in Reading, where the Reading Chronicle reports that Thames Valley Police received almost 250 complaints of violence and sexual offences in December, 2023.

The Chronicle points out that this is a particular concern with more than 23,000 students in the town, and the University of Reading’s population fuel’s the town’s night-time economy.

University’s student union welfare officer Ish Aa Sujai said not all students feel safe going out in the town centre.

Concerns

She told the Chronicle: “Students generally feel like the university’s venues are safe, but there is a growing concern about the places in town.

“There is still growing concern about drink spiking. I went out in town last year with my friend and her drink was spiked which was really scary.”

They reported their suspicions to staff who eventually checked CCTV which revealed a man came up close to her at the bar and at one point put his hand over her drink.

Security

Speaking to women in the town, the Chronicle discovered that they feel safer using Uber and other PHVs that can be booked using an app, and the driver’s details and location are logged.

Lois Wilson told the Chronicle she felt very unsafe because of a lack of Ubers in the town.

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She said: “I don’t like jumping into black cabs outside The Purple Turtle. I like to be in taxis that can be tracked via an app with a named driver and star ratings.”

Issy Mclaughlin said she felt the same: “I don’t feel safe and ideally, I would always want to be in a taxi with friends. But if I wanted to leave town alone, I would feel unsafe going in the back of an unmarked black taxi.”

They both said they would feel safer using black cabs with apps.

Reassurance

Black cabs can be tracked by Free Now and other apps, but not every taxi is signed up to them. And while women say they would feel safer in an Uber, the company is not licensed to operate in Reading.

Reading Borough Council reassured passengers about the safety of black cabs licensed by the authority.

“Reading currently has around 50 licenced private hire operators in the town with the majority now using some form of app-based booking service. Reading’s Hackney Carriage fleet also use apps for bookings, in addition to taxi ranks.

“We would also emphasise that Hackney Carriages in Reading have demanding safety levels and licence conditions to ensure the drivers are checked, safe to operate and display their licence information inside and outside the vehicles.”

All information is correct at time of publication. Information provided within this article may have changed over time. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by John Patons Insurance Services or any of its employees.

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About The Author

Patons Insurance

Established for over 60 years, we are one of UK's leading Taxi Insurance brokers. We specialise in Public Hire, Private Hire & Taxi Fleet Insurance.

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