A new public safety campaign, urging revellers preparing for the Christmas party season to pre book their taxis, was launched by Birmingham City Council today (4 Dec).
Adverts broadcast on Capital FM and displayed on trains in and out of Birmingham stations until 5 January 2015, also remind people to check private hire drivers have their name before getting into the vehicle after a night out.
Pre-booking your taxi or private hire car before going out is the best way to make sure you get home safely. The public are warned never to flag down a private hire car in the street as the driver will commit an offence if he picks them up and the passengers will not be insured for the journey in the event of an accident.
People who havenâ€™t booked their ride home are also urged to get a taxi at one of the cityâ€™s two marshalled taxi ranks on Broad Street and Ladywell Walk, near the Arcadian complex.
During the party season, Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police are keeping Christmas revellers safe by clamping down on private hire drivers who ply for hire and looking for unlicensed motorists posing as private hire drivers.
Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of the city councilâ€™s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: â€œAt this busy time, our bars, restaurants and clubs are packed with people enjoying themselves and their evening should be memorable for all the right reasons â€“ so weâ€™re encouraging them to pre-book a private hire car or use the marshalled ranks to ensure they have a safe journey.
â€œTaxi and private hire safety is a priority for our licensing department: this kind of activity is monitored all year round but itâ€™s particularly important at peak times like the festive period.
â€œBirmingham has around 1,300 Hackney Carriage and 4,500 private hire drivers and vehicles – and they must adhere to the high standards we set for them. If any of our licensed drivers fall short of these in any way, we will take relevant legal steps to protect the public who use their services.â€
Only Hackney Carriage vehicles can pick up fares on the street. Private hire drivers cannot accept passengers unless a booking has been made through their private hire operator. Customers who get into private hire vehicles that have not been booked through an operator place themselves at risk because the driverâ€™s insurance does not cover plying for hire.
Birmingham is one of more than 40 British cities awarded Purple Flag status â€“ similar to the Blue Flag for clean, safe beaches â€“ for standards of excellence in delivering an enjoyable, diverse, and safe night out.