Beware Rogue Taxi Drivers
A WARNING has been sounded about rogue taxi drivers as the Christmas party season approaches.
Licensing chiefs at the local authority are urging people across Carmarthenshire to stay safe when they use a cab.
They fear unlicensed drivers will be cashing in as growing numbers of people need taxis over the busy festive period.
The Cab Safe scheme run by the Council will ensure people get a safe ride home over the coming weeks.
All people have to do is to text the word Cab to 83222 to get the numbers of the three nearest licensed taxi firms in their location anywhere in the county. This scheme has now also been rolled out in eight local authorities across Wales.
It is thought initiatives of this nature will help, as cabbies will be in high demand over the coming weeks as partygoers decide to drink and not drive.
More people are also out shopping and the cold weather means less will be inclined to walk home or wait at bus stops.
Licensing officers at Carmarthenshire Council have joined forces with the police to raise awareness of the problem and posters and flyers are being distributed across the county.
Residents are being warned they are not insured if they travel in an unlicensed cab, and people are being urged to check out cars and their drivers before they get in.
Drivers should always wear identification badges and taxis are usually parked at known ranks, or their numbers can be found in the Yellow Pages.
Hackney carriages, which can be flagged down by the roadside, always have a roof sign, which is illuminated when they are available for hire.
They also display two identifying white door stickers and a white plate on the back bumper.
Taxis should display a list of fares for passengers and be fitted with meters, which should always begin with £2.20 for the first five tenths of a mile before 10pm and £2.40 afterwards.
Private hire vehicles can only be pre-booked and not stopped in the street.
They carry two identifying yellow door stickers and a yellow plate on the back bumper.
Carmarthenshire Council head of public protection Philip Davies said: “This time of year is popular for shopping, parties and visiting people.
“Alcohol and driving is a lethal combination and many people take advantage of the taxi service.
“But people should check that the taxi is licensed and reputable before they get in. If you travel in an unlicensed cab you will not be insured. We are urging people to be on their guard.”
Carmarthenshire County Council’s Executive Board Business Manager and Member for Public Protection and Youth Services Councillor Pam Palmer said: “This is a very busy period for the taxi industry and there will inevitably be rogue cabbies looking to cash in.
“We want to protect the public from unscrupulous drivers and protect the reputable taxi firms in the county.”
To report an unlicensed cab or for more information, contact the council’s licensing section on 01267 234567.
If you are in Llanelli or Carmarthen town centres this Christmas you can use the Taxi Marshals that have been employed by Carmarthenshire’s Community Safety Partnership.