We are urg­ing all users of taxis to en­sure that you pre-book

Evening Times - - NEWS - BY STE­WART PATER­SON

PEO­PLE go­ing on fes­tive nights out are be­ing warned to be care­ful of “pi­rate” and il­le­gal cab driv­ers. With more peo­ple out in pubs and clubs in De­cem­ber, the Unite union has started a cam­paign to help en­sure peo­ple don’t take risks with un­li­censed driv­ers.

It wants to clamp down on peo­ple pos­ing as taxi driv­ers and on rogue li­censed driv­ers flout­ing the rules on pick-ups.

Unite has launched the “Know what you’re get­ting into” cam­paign to high­light the risks of get­ting in an un­li­censed car.

It will see hundreds of cabs in Glas­gow and Ed­in­burgh with posters and leaflets, and mes­sages on so­cial me­dia.

The next two week­ends will be among the busiest nights of the year for taxis.

Unite has been try­ing to crack down in pi­rat­ing, which sees pri­vate hire cab driv­ers breach their li­cence con­di­tions and in­val­i­date their in­surance by pick­ing up fares on the street.

Unite are re­mind­ing peo­ple that they need to pre-book a li­censed pri­vate hire car and can only hail li­censed taxis on the street.

And they want peo­ple to en­sure the driver is le­git­i­mate by check­ing their iden­ti­fi­ca­tion which must be dis­played in the car.

Pat Raf­ferty, Unite’s Scot­tish Sec­re­tary, said: “Unite’s Glas­gow and Ed­in­burgh taxi branch mem­bers are send­ing a vi­tal and im­por­tant safety mes­sage to all who use taxi cabs and pri­vate hire ve­hi­cles dur­ing the fes­tiv­i­ties.

“The mes­sage is sim­ple: stay safe. We are urg­ing all users of taxis to en­sure that you pre-book your taxi­cab or pri­vate hire ve­hi­cle, and if you hail on the street it must only be a li­censed cab.

“If you have not pre-booked or you are not us­ing a li­censed cab you are just get­ting into a stranger’s car.”

Over the past five years more than 100 driv­ers have had their li­cence sus­pended by Glas­gow City Coun­cil for pi­rat­ing.

Ear­lier this year the chair of the city’s li­cens­ing com­mit­tee, Coun­cil­lor Alex Wil­son, said the prob­lem was more wide­spread than the fig­ures show as the num­bers are only those re­ported for the of­fence.

He said more en­force­ment of­fi­cers would be needed and a change in the law to give the coun­cil more pow­ers to take tougher ac­tion.

Taxi driv­ers have called for pi­rat­ing to be a crim­i­nal of­fence.

Unite’s Cab sec­tion called for the ac­tion to stop driv­ers pick­ing up hires in the street.

There are 1420 ac­tive taxis op­er­at­ing in Glas­gow and 3600 pri­vate hire cars.

Unite want a system where it is a crim­i­nal of­fence and points can be ap­plied to the driver’s li­cence which will act as a de­ter­rent – as it will af­fect their in­surance pre­mium and even the abil­ity to get in­surance to work as a driver.

A Union is urg­ing peo­ple to check taxi iden­ti­fi­ca­tion

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