Taxis and Minicabs (private hire vehicles) - Find out the best options for travel, and how to complain or report incidents.
#Know the difference
Get a TAXI
- Must be clearly marked as a taxi
- Can be flagged down in the street or at a taxi rank
- Can also be pre-booked
- Must display the external taxi plate on the rear of the vehicle showing the vehicle registration number, vehicle details and the licence expiry date.
Book a MINICAB (private hire vehicle)
- MUST be pre-booked - Minicabs need to be booked direct with a licensed minicab company via app, phone, or at their office.
- Cannot be flagged down in the street or approach you for hire
- Must display the external private hire plate on the rear of the vehicle showing the vehicle registration number, vehicle details and the licence expiry date.
- Must display the internal private hire plate in the front windscreen showing the vehicle registration number, vehicle details and the licence expiry date. This plate should be visible to you as a passenger.
- The driver must be wearing a private hire licence ID badge. This must be shown on request. It will include a photo of the driver as well as their name and badge number.
If the car picking you up isn't displaying the private hire licence plate, or the driver can’t produce his licence ID badge, don't get in the car - it isn't safe. Never use an un-booked minicab - they are dangerous and illegal.
What is a booked minicab?
It's one that's been booked with a licensed minicab company. You could do that:
- Over the phone
- Using an app
- In person at a minicab office
This means that:
- A Three Rivers District Council licensed minicab driver and vehicle will be sent to pick you up
- A record will be kept of your journey, your driver and the vehicle they used
- Your driver will have been thorough police background checks
What is an un-booked minicab?
It's one that has not been booked with a licensed minicab company. If it's not booked, it's not safe, even if:
- It has a Three Rivers District Council plate attached to the rear of the vehicle
- You approach a driver directly
- The driver approaches you
- A bouncer takes you to a minicab
Remember, un-booked minicabs are dangerous. If there's no booking, there's no record of your journey in case there are any problems.
Un-booked minicabs are illegal and uninsured for carrying passengers. Only black taxis (the ones with the 'taxi' rooflight) can be hailed on the street or hired at a rank without a booking.
Do’s and don’ts while in a taxi or minicab
- Let your family and friends know the information about the taxi/minicab you are hiring/riding.
- Always make it a point to text or call your friends or family about the name and plate number of the taxi/minicab you are riding.
- If something seems wrong, don’t get in or get out if safe to do so.
- Be wary of your surroundings and the route the driver is taking.
- Avoid sleeping inside the taxi/minicab.
- Do not give away personal information about yourself if engaging in a conversation with the driver.
Policing and enforcement
There are police officers as well as a licensing team dedicated to improving the safety of travelling by taxi and private hire vehicles, tackling illegal activity and working to prevent taxi and private hire journey related sexual offences. We take all incidents seriously. All complaints and reports to Three Rivers District Council or the police will be fully investigated and appropriate action will be taken.
Reporting a sexual offence
Thousands of taxi and minicab journeys are taken every day, the majority without incident. We take passenger safety extremely seriously. If you experience any behaviour of a sexual nature from a minicab or taxi driver, including if they comment on your appearance or look at you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, please report it. It will be taken seriously and investigated.
All crimes should be reported to the police so that they can investigate. You can report sexual behaviour offences (e.g. groping, indecent acts, flashing) to the police by calling 101, or by reporting it online https://www.herts.police.uk
In case of an emergency, dial 999.
If a driver makes you feel uncomfortable but you think their behaviour is not a crime (e.g. by making inappropriate comments or leering at you), we would still like to know about it. You can report this type of inappropriate driver behaviour to Three Rivers District Council by calling 01923 776611 (Monday to Friday, 09:00-17:00) or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org