Travelling safely - Touts and illegal mini-cabs
Touts pose as taxi or mini-cab drivers and are commonly found outside clubs or in town centres offering 'minicabs' to people looking for a taxi home. They may also stop their car as you are walking around at night, to offer you a 'minicab' home. The service they offer is illegal and sometimes dangerous.
Touts are not vetted and often over-charge you for your ride home. Many have previous criminal convictions or are illegal immigrants with no legal right to work in the UK. Their cars may be unroadworthy and may not be properly insured. There has been a disturbing trend of muggings and rapes related to illegal cabs, so don't take any chances - NEVER accept a ride home with a tout.
It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish a legal minicab from an illegal one. Here are some pointers to distinguish them:
A real minicab driver will display an ID badge, and will have company cards and receipts to offer passengers. He will not mind you calling his company to verify his identity or the details of his car-type and registration.
A real minicab will usually have a radio and possibly a meter to calculate fares. The car will often have a long stick-on aerial for the radio which will be magnetically attached to the bodywork of the car.
If you wish to go somewhere by licensed taxi or minicab, call Scoot (0900 2 192 192) or Talking Pages (0800 600900) for the telephone numbers of companies in your area.