We've all been there, it’s 3am, you've stumbled out of the party, and a ‘cab man’, or to be exact, a random man with a car, offering you a lift home for just a tenner, seems like a God send. But lets change the situation a little, its 2 o’clock in the afternoon and this same man offers you a lift, you are more than likely to tell him where to go.
We all know the danger of getting into an unlicensed cab, yet a recent survey by Bounce found that 58% of women in Central London have knowingly taken an unlicensed minicab home. And with 16 reported cab rape offences, in London between 2013/2014, this is clearly an obvious and chosen way to prey on vulnerable women.
How do you make sure you are safe in mini-cabs, how do you even know if the cab you are in is licensed or not. The obvious suggestion and the only way to ensure your safety in a mini cab is to book ahead. Let's be clear: The only journey that is safe in a mini-cab in on that is booked. Booking a cab through an operator or an app means that your journey is on record and someone somewhere knows where you are.
The message here is to always book! Martin Bell, Chief Superintendent from the Metropolitan Police Service Roads and Transport Policing Command explains, “Any minicab journey that isn't booked is dangerous and puts you at risk of sexual attack. Even minicabs lined up outside pubs and clubs are breaking the law if they accept your fare without a booking being made first. I would urge everyone to help us encourage safe journeys.”
So this season, and every other night out always remember these tips from TfL’s Safer Travel at Night (STaN) campaign.
1. Look for the sticker
A minicab that has a licence or sticker in the window (or a driver who has a badge) still needs to be booked in advance with a licensed minicab firm.
2. Don't be fooled by clipboards and jackets
You should never take a minicab offered by a bouncer or someone in a high visibility jacket with a clipboard outside a venue.
3. Know what's legal
A minicab driver that approaches you directly on the street is acting illegally.
4. Think about your safety
If you approach a minicab directly, only the driver knows where you’re going, which isn’t safe.
5. Travel together
There's definitely safety in numbers so if you can stay with one of your friends after a night out, it's not a bad idea. Travelling home together means at least one other person knows where you are.
6. Always tell someone where you are
It's important that people know when you're on your way home. You know that text you promised to send your mum/boyfriend/BFF - about getting home safely - set yourself a reminder alarm on your phone to make sure that you do.
7. Keep it classy
We all like to have a drink at Christmas and sure, it can lead to some fun, but things can all too quickly take a turn for the worst when you have one shot too many. Try and keep your drinks to a set limit so you know you'll still have your wits about you at the end of the night.
Have you ever got into an unlicensed mini cab? How do you stay safe? Tweet us @SofeminineUK
This article was written by Tolani Shoneye. Follow her on @tolly_t
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