Tonight’s Inside Out London programme focused on the number of illegal minicabs in the capital. The feature was prompted by black cabbies who said their passengers are being touted by illegal minicab drivers, who solicit would-be passengers on the streets. This is a major issue in London, and we’re proud that Kabbee is designed to combat the problem. As far as we are concerned, one illegal minicab is too many.
The dangers of getting into an unmarked vehicle are absolutely unthinkable, and TFL has invested a lot of money into raising awareness and educating people about avoiding the use of illegal minicabs or ‘cowboys’ as night time revelers refer to them. This programme reveals that there is still a lot of work to be done. One London black taxi driver said: ‘There are so many touts, we can’t get through to the partygoers as they leave the nightclubs.” That’s rather concerning when you take into account that there were only 74 arrests for touting last year – that’s obviously not enough. We need more enforcement against drivers who are breaking the law.
What are illegal touts doing to the minicab and taxi industry?
In London alone, there are 65,000 licensed minicabs (40% of all licensed minicabs in the UK), whose drivers do a fantastic job, helping to get millions of Londoners from A to B safely. The behaviour of illegal minicabs, or ‘touts’ is completely undoing the great work that licensed minicab drivers do in the capital, by damaging the reputation and creating a ‘grey area’ for people who aren’t familiar with what type of transport options are safe, and which aren’t.
How can you tell if a minicab is licensed?
By law, licensed minicabs must only pick up passengers who have pre-booked a journey. It’s as simple as that. The only cars that can be flagged down, or taken without a booking via a licensed office, are London’s iconic black cabs. The Kabbee app allows people to book a minicab instantly, or to book ahead – either way, a licensed minicab arrives and the passenger receives a text message beforehand with the car’s registration plate details – there’s no room for error. Kabbee works with over 70 fantastic fleets, who provide up to 15,000 cars to app users – all fleets have to pass a strict 30-point check, to ensure 100% safety and professionalism on every journey.
What can you do to stay safe?
In the event that a black cab or night bus is not an option, always have a minicab aggregator app on your smartphone. You will be able to access a safe, licensed minicab within minutes. No matter where you are in London, you’ll have access to up to 15,000 licensed minicabs, night or day. Licensed minicab apps like Kabbee allow you to pay by card and even pre-load your account with credit, so there’s no need to stop off at a cash machine late at night. We always recommend that when waiting for a minicab, you stay exactly where you have specified as your pick-up point, and whilst waiting, stay with a friend, or whoever you’re out with. As soon as a licensed minicab driver collects you, they will alert the minicab office to say they have collected you, and that you’re on your way to your destination.
How can you help?
There are a few ways that you can help yourself, and others:
- Never get in an unmarked vehicle, ever. No matter how many people you are with, or what the driver says, by taking an unmarked cab, you’re encouraging the illegal behaviour, which is causing a danger to others.
- Pre-book a minicab before you go out or when you are thinking about heading home – don’t leave getting home to chance
- You can help your friends by suggesting that they download a minicab app – they’ll never be stranded with no way to get home again. (With Kabbee you and your friend get £10 free credit every time a new friend joins)
- Raise awareness, and act smart – when you’re out, remind friends to think before they start to head home – what’s the safest way?
Thanks for taking the time out to read this blog – it’s people like you that can spread the word to keep others safe.
Justin Peters, Kabbee CEO & Founder