It is a volatile time for those in the private hire vehicle industry; between petrol shortages making it harder for taxi drivers to meet their quota day-to-day, and emerging reports showing that 93% of taxi drivers received racial abuse on the job, a crucial – but often thankless – line of work continues to disincentivise new recruits. But with the vast majority of customers a joy to serve, and demand for taxi rides higher than ever, the job remains a lucrative and rewarding prospect. So how can you make yourself feel safe while at work? Here are five tips to keep you safe on the road.
This might seem a peculiar first suggestion, but windows clear of grime and condensation allow a clear view out – and in. You can survey arriving customers before they reach your door, and passers-by can also see in – increasing the chances of intervention in the event of an attempted assault or robbery. For the same reason, it is a good idea to avoid tinted windows in your taxi.
You want to be sure that when your car doors are locked, there is no chance of lockpicking or forced entry – whether to access goods left in the vehicle overnight or for your own safety on night shifts. If your cab is old enough to require a key for entry, you might want to take a look at more up-to-date taxis for sale, with improved immobilizers, alarm systems and windows.
A dashcam is an essential piece of technology for taxi drivers in the 21st century; with more than 300 dangerous driving prosecutions per month due to dashcam footage, they have proven a valuable tool in making roads – and taxi cabs – safer. The camera acts as a deterrent for antisocial behaviour in the cab, and in the event of a crime, the footage can be used to prosecute.
Carrying any amount of cash, whether your float for the day or a full evening’s fares, makes you a target for robbery. In an increasingly cashless society, a simple solution for the private taxi driver could be to invest in a portable contactless card machine. If you share your taxi lease or work for a private firm, regular stops to drop off takings could lead to less loss of earnings.
On the subject of takings – in the event that you do become the target of a robbery, do not resist. The temporary loss of your takings is a preferable outcome to potentially serious injury at the hands of a robber. If you work for a firm, they will likely have private-hire insurance and your takings can be reimbursed.