Ooooh, I Know What’ll Fix This! More Regulation!

OK, hands up anyone who isn’t aware of this:

Hackney carriages are licensed to pick up fares at the roadside, but private hire cabs, sometimes called minicabs, can only pick up fares who have booked a ride in advance.

Thought so.

But something bad has happened, and something must be done!

Mr Saunders wants the council to insist minicabs are prominently marked with notices warning they are not allowed to pick up fares on the street.


It follows an incident, in which two women in their twenties got into a car in the town centre, believing it to be a taxi. They were allegedly assaulted in the Villa Road area of Stanway.

We aren’t told what time this happened, what state the women were in – did drink play a part in their decision? If so, it’s hard to see how a sign would have helped, given that those who get themselves into such a state are notoriously resistant to reading signs…

Mr Saunders said: “I would like them to make it a licensing condition they have to print on the side that they will only pick up pre-booked passengers.“That way people will know they can only get into those which have a taxi light on the top. They should only be getting into cars on the street if they are hackney carriages, which have a licence number on a plate at the back.”

Great! I mean, it’s not like these illegal minicab drivers are going to break the law by putting up a sign they aren’t supposed to display, are th…

Oh. I might have found a flaw in his plans.

He said: “If there were signs on the side of the minicabs, I really think it would make people more aware they should not be getting into them, unless they had been pre-booked.”


You’d expect this to be met with a chorus of ‘Don’t be so bloddy stupid, man!’, but no.

Colin Daines, the council’s licensing officer, agreed it was a good suggestion and said he would raise it the next time officials met taxi drivers.

I bet they’ll be delighted….

Tim Young, councillor responsible for community safety, agreed Mr Saunders’ suggestion was “a very sensible idea”.

And when the next incident happens? What will you propose then?

9 comments for “Ooooh, I Know What’ll Fix This! More Regulation!

  1. May 20, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Some cities already do this, I’ve seen the signs on the cars. Not my own though. The licensed taxi drivers occasionally go on strike in protest.

  2. May 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Yep, seen those pre-booked only signs on some private hire vehicles myself, and as I haven’t been in the UK for several years they must have been around a while. The obvious thing to do would be to check to see if it’s made any statistically significant difference where it’s been done. My guess would be no, partly because predators won’t use the signs and partly because you’d need to know that signs are in use. And of course also because pissheads are known to climb into anything they think might go in the direction of home and occasionally in the hope that the driver, whether taxi, hire or just someone passing, has a better grasp of what direction home actually is than they do at 2am with a gallon of Wckd inside them.

  3. patrick Harris
    May 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    It has always been, by law, thus and the law has always been broken by the illegals, dya fink the said illegals will conform to regulations?
    Do me a fiver.

  4. May 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    I have seen similar signs on minicabs round here too.
    But I am concerned that this doesn’t address the wider problem. Shouldn’t EVERY vehicle have such a similar sign to say they are not a taxi, so that ordinary criminals can’t cruise the city at night and collect drunken maidens or easy mugging victims? You know it makes sense (not).

    • May 20, 2011 at 6:25 pm

      Argh! Don’t give them ideas!! :mrgreen:

  5. Scan
    May 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Hackney carriages are already noticable by the fact they’re black and white – mostly white with black bonnets (save for the London Taxi style cars…which are noticeable for being taxiesque in appearance). Private hire taxis are only allowed to be one colour…I think.

  6. May 20, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    They also have these signs in our area. Along with the taxi firm logo and the taxi plate on the back.
    What good would another sign do?
    If it’s a fake taxi, wouldn’t you notice the fact that it didn’t say “Joe’s Taxis” on the side? When help would another sign be?
    Folk who are pissed up at the end of the night and want to get home aren’t really concerned about the finer points of the law. If a taxi is willing to take them, they get in, regardless of weather they are supposed to or not.

  7. May 20, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    The prebooked which comes here on occasion has no sign but it does have a registration thingy on the back and so it’s pretty obviously a taxi and a car without is pretty obviously not.

  8. May 21, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Private Hire Taxis in my city also have signs saying “not Hackney licenced” though few punters know or care what that means. There is also a disclaimer inside the windscreen to the effect that non pre-booked passengers may not be covered by insurance but it’s a bit late by then.
    Hackney Taxis are identified by having an illuminated “TAXI” sign on the roof but again few know or care what the difference is,they just want to get home.

    Out and about in my teens in London we would never dream of getting in an unknown mini-cab, usually a beat up Ford Cortina with a driver who didn’t speak English or know his way around. If our own local firm could not get us home from town we would either pay though the nose for a Hackney or walk.

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