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Taxi safety and advice

Assistance Dogs

Under the Equality Act 2010, licensed drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles are under a duty to carry passengers with guide, hearing and other assistance dogs without additional charge. Drivers can apply for to the Council for a certificate exempting them from carrying assistance dogs on medical grounds. None of the drivers licensed by Runnymede currently have a exemption certificate, drivers licensed by other Councils may have these.

Runnymede will take any refusal to carry assistance dogs very seriously, if you are unfortunate enough to be refused carriage of your assistance dog please obtain as much information as possible about the driver / vehicle and inform the licensing team.

The Guide Dogs Association have produced a 'top tips' leaflet to help drivers understand the needs of people with assistance dogs. All Runnymede licensed drivers and operators have been made aware of this. .Top tips flyer


Seatbelts

The law regarding seatbelts can be confusing and there are some exemptions for taxis and private hire vehicles, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) produce a useful guide to this. Seat belt law


Personal Safety Guide

Taxis and private hire vehicles must be licensed to be able to work. Councils throughout the country are responsible for licensing drivers and vehicles who work in their Council areas (Boroughs) but these drivers and vehicles can also work legally in other areas on a pre-booked basis.

The Council as a licensing authority is responsible for ensuring drivers and vehicles provide you with a safe means of transport. Each Council will have it's own standards and requirements.

Drivers in Runnymede are subject to a knowledge test to ensure they know their way around the area, driving licence checks, enhanced criminal record checks, right to work / leave to remain checks and medical tests to ensure they are safe and suitable while vehicles are required to be of a specific standard and regularly inspected.

Vehicles and drivers which are licensed by other Councils can be found working legally in Runnymede.

It has been known for people to operate illegally, such as without a driver's or vehicle licence from the Council. As well as being illegal it puts you at risk as you will not be covered by any insurance and the driver and vehicle may not have had any safety checks.

In the interest of your own safety there are a number of simple steps you can take to ensure you are getting into a licensed vehicle with a licensed driver.

You can download or print a pdf icon Taxisafe leaflet [126kb]. The Taxi safe guidelines are also listed below.

Guidelines for local taxis (hackney carriages) licensed by Runnymede Borough Council.

Local taxis (hackney carriages):

  • are usually ordinary saloon cars or purpose built Taxis approved by the Council displaying a large rectangular sticker on the rear of the car - black lettering on a white background. This shows the vehicle licence number, the date the licence expires and the number of passengers it is licensed to carry. Taxis must have an illuminated roof mounted sign when plying for hire.
  • are found on taxi ranks and plying for hire in the streets.
  • must have tested and sealed meters
  • must display the fare scale (cost per mile) in the vehicle, which is approved by the Council
  • drivers must wear an identification badge showing their photograph and Council licence number
  • always take passengers to their destination by the most direct route unless otherwise agreed.

If the journey takes the taxi outside the Borough of Runnymede, the driver must still charge in accordance with the fare table unless they have agreed otherwise with the hirer before the journey has started.

As a passenger, you should always:

  • check that the driver and vehicle are licensed and that the meter is working
  • ask the driver who they are collecting to make sure you are in the right vehicle
  • make sure the driver puts his meter on only when you commence your journey - not before. BUT beware of keeping your taxi waiting, if you have called one out, you will be charged waiting time.

Some companies provide female drivers, and wheelchair accessible vehicles on request.

Guidelines for local private hire vehicles licensed by Runnymede Borough Council

Local private hire vehicles:

  • are ordinary saloon cars approved by the Council displaying a large rectangular sticker on the rear of the car, black lettering on a green/white background. This shows the vehicle licence number, the date the licence expires and the number of passengers it is licensed to carry
  • must not ply for hire in the street, so you can not flag them down, they cannot pick you up anywhere unless you have pre-booked. The driver is acting illegally if they allow this and can lose their licence, and you are also at risk as you will not be insured in the vehicle
  • cannot wait on taxi ranks
  • must be booked with their office or by phone or app
  • drivers must wear an identification badge showing their photograph and Council licence number
  • fares are not set by the Council (unless they have a meter)
  • should always take passengers to their destination by the most direct route unless otherwise agreed.

As a passenger, you should always:

  • ask for a fixed price for your journey or check the likely cost of the journey before booking
  • check that the driver and vehicle are licensed
  • ask the driver who they are collecting to make sure you are in the right vehicle

Some companies provide lady drivers, and wheelchair accessible vehicles on request.

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