In Barnstaple, unlike many places in the UK, you can choose any taxi on the rank (except at the train station.)
How and which taxi should you choose?
You might then chose the most approachable looking driver, or the cleanest, most looked after vehicle. Maybe there’s a particular taxi company you trust or you prefer a female driver.
Some taxis here have tinted windows. Most councils have banned these as not being able to see into the back of the taxi poses some serious safety concerns, but here it’s allowed.
North Devon Councils website lays out your rights as a passenger:
- The driver must only charge the fare that is being shown on the meter unless the fare is agreed before the journey commences.
- The driver must comply with your instructions as to the route etc. the driver must take you to your destination by the shortest route possible.
- The driver must not allow other passengers to share the vehicle without your agreement when requested, the driver should assist in loading and unloading luggage and should also carry it to and from a house, station or place where the passengers are taken up or set down
- Drivers are required to offer reasonable assistance to passengers from their gateway to the car.
Some simple things to remember:
It’s always a good idea to take a business card from the taxi, take note of the company or registration number (or a picture with your phone) in case you lose something or have cause to complain. Complaints should be made to the police or to the council as they are more likely to deal with it properly than the taxi company.
Why you should use a licensed taxi.
More and more now drivers are offering cut-price taxi services through social media networks.
It’s legal for friends or family members to offer late night lifts but those who do it for profit and advertise themselves are breaking the law and leaving themselves and their passengers open to all sorts of risks.
Passengers may not know the drivers and when they look for lifts, often when drunk, they could put themselves in a dangerous position.
Licensed taxi drivers have to have enhanced Criminal Record Bureau checks every three years, regular health checks, take a DVLA taxi driver assessment test, and have been driving for over a year.
Their vehicles have higher standard vehicle inspections every year to make sure they offer is safe.
Many of the unlicensed taxis being offered through Facebook or texts are from new drivers looking to make some extra money. They have no experience, licence or security checks.
These drivers instantly invalidate their insurance, meaning their car and it’s passengers have no legal or financial protection if there was an accident.
Ask yourself if it’s worth it? Is it worth risking your safety or even your life for the sake of a few pounds?