Top tips on using taxis

Published Date
27/04/2018
Category
Trailblazers
Lauren West being assisted into a taxi by a driver

Whether or not your council has developed a Section 167 list, we have built this guide with the help of taxi and minicab access specialists SymsRudd to help you with your next journey.

 

Use this checklist for taxis – known in law as Hackney carriages – to make sure you are being treated fairly:

  • The meter in a taxi starts when the journey starts, not when you are being assisted into the vehicle. It also stops when the vehicle stops. The driver can then assist you out of the vehicle and help you to your destination. There should be no charge for this assistance. This follows guidance from the Department for Transport, which is further bolstered in explicit council guidance in some areas.
  • The meter must start from the correct rate – you can ask to see the tariff chart to make sure a higher rate is not being used.
  • When hiring a taxi on a rank, ask the driver for an estimate before you set off. If you can, check this against the tariff chart. If the journey is within the local district area a taxi can only charge a maximum of the rate shown on the tariff. If the journey goes outside of the district taxi drivers can ask for more or refuse to carry you.

 

When booking a minicab, follow these steps:

  • Ask for a quote from the company. If you are given a fixed price from the operator this is the amount the driver should charge you.
  • If you are told that the minicab will use a meter to charge you, this should be started when the journey begins and switched off when the journey ends. You should not be charged for assistance in and out of the vehicle.
  • Ask if they will sub-contract the booking to a locally licensed taxi. If they say they will sub-contract the booking (this is fairly common), do not agree a fare that is higher than the local taxi tariff would allow.
  • There should be no extra charge applied by the company if a person who travels in their wheelchair books a fully wheelchair-accessible vehicle – all customers should pay the same rate for the same type of vehicle from that particular company.

 

Drivers’ obligations and general information

  • Legally, the driver must make sure you are safe and secure before driving. Speak to the driver before the journey if you are worried.
  • Unless you have requested a wheelchair accessible vehicle, you should not have to wait for any longer than any other passenger would. Almost all vehicles will be able to carry a fold-up wheelchair.
  • The driver must take the shortest or quickest route unless you have asked to go a certain way.
  • A driver refusing to take you because of your disability is discrimination, and may also be a criminal offence.
  • If the driver says that the ramps are not working or that they do not know how to use them, this should be reported.
  • Different councils have different fares for taxis, while minicab firms set their own fares. This may explain why a journey from one town costs less or more than a journey in another town. If you are unsure, call the local council to check.

 

How to make a complaint

  • Make a note of the vehicle registration number, plate number, make and model and colour, as well as the driver badge number. Don’t worry if you can’t get all this information – a couple of bits are often enough to trace the driver. If you can, ask for a receipt from the driver. This is often an easy way to get the driver or company details. You can find the driver number and registration on the boot, inside the door, and sometimes on a badge worn by the driver.
  • Across England (not including London), Wales and Scotland, you will need to contact the relevant local authority. If in doubt, call your own local council licensing department.
  • If you live in London, you need to contact Transport for London via their online form.
  • Even if you do not want to go forward with a case against a driver, do report the matter as this helps local councils build a picture of any behaviour that is below the required standard.

Find out whether your council is ready for the law and let them know why it is so important.

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