‘Tis the season to be safe, book your taxi home.

As the festive party season begins, Birmingham City Council is encouraging Christmas revellers to stay safe and pre-book their taxis.

People are being reminded to check private hire drivers have their name before getting into the vehicle after a night out – and not to flag down private hire vehicles, which are not allowed to pick up fares on the street.

Make sure you get home safely by pre-booking your journey home before going out or make your way to an official taxi rank. The ranks in Broad Street and Hurst Street/Ladywell Walk are marshalled for added security. You can also flag down a black cab.

Private hire drivers who accept fares on the street are not only committing an offence, but putting passengers at risk – as they would not be insured if it was involved in an accident.

During the party season, Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police will be keeping Christmas revellers safe by clamping down on private hire drivers who ply for hire and looking for unlicensed motorists posing as private hire drivers.

Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of the city council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “This is a very busy time when our city is packed with people enjoying themselves, whose nights out should be memorable for all the right reasons.

“This is why I’m urging everyone either to pre-book their ride home through a private hire operator, flag down a black cab or go to a taxi rank. The marshals at the city centre ranks are there to maintain orderly queues and keep vulnerable passengers safe.

“Don’t encourage private hire drivers to take you home if you haven’t booked them in advance. It’s illegal and unsafe.

“Birmingham has around 1,200 Hackney Carriage and 4,300 private hire vehicles. We set high standards for our drivers to ensure that the public are protected. My committee will not hesitate to take action against drivers who don’t comply with the conditions that we set for them.”

Only Hackney Carriage vehicles can pick up fares on the street. Private hire drivers cannot accept passengers unless a booking has been made through their private hire operator.

Customers who get into private hire vehicles which have not been booked through an operator are placing themselves at risk because the driver’s insurance does not cover plying for hire.

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