Much like most “newly turned 18” year olds, going to a nightclub was always going to be the first thing on the bucket list. So, on the night of my 18th birthday, 7 of my friends and I did exactly that. We had gotten ourselves into a state, being first time drinkers, and managed to get home after hailing a cab.
However, without noticing I had made one potentially fatal mistake. The cab that I had hailed was not a black cab, and it certainly was not one that we had called and booked from a minicab office. Fortunately, all my friends and I got home safe despite all of us being bundled into a regular car where we had to sit on one another’s laps. In hindsight, this should have been my first clue, but alcohol and the naivety of my young age, and lack of experience with minicabs overrode all logic.
We often assume that in these “Unlicensed Minicab” cases it is women who are always at risk, but anyone can put themselves in a dangerous situation if they don’t call a licensed minicab office and book their car before getting in the vehicle.
TFL have launched a great campaign that can help you become “Cab Wise”, they also answer pretty much any question that you could have about this issue.
An Unbooked Minicab
An Unbooked minicab is literally a minicab that you have not booked and asked for. You may be tempted to approach a driver, and a driver may be tempted to approach you, but unless you call the office, you should not get into that car. Even if the cab driver says that he will book it for you, once again, you should not get in that car.
You could easily be fooled by a minicab that has a licence sticker. However, unless you have called the office and booked the vehicle the minicab is unsafe and illegal. Also, your driver is behaving illegally.
A simple reason for this is that if a complication were to arise, whether it’s related to your minicab or not, there would be no trace of you getting into that car. It would also make it impossible to track down your driver.
How are unbooked minicabs different to Black Cabs?
Unlike every other cab, you can approach a Black Cab anywhere in London and they’re easily recognized as being a signature part of London. However, you can also book one using an app on your smart phone.
What you shouldn’t rely on;
- Don’t rely on getting in an unbooked cab just because there is a group of you and your friends.
- Don’t rely on talking to someone on the phone for reassurance.
- Don’t rely on whether you think you’re sober enough to take care of yourself or not.
- Don’t rely on the cab driver being smartly dressed.
- Don’t rely on somehow recording the number plate.
In other words, make sure you book a cab before getting into the vehicle.