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.
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?