Disputes arise when both parties think they are right. Sometimes it’s not so black and white who’s right and who’s wrong, but in the context of a taxi journey, it usually is.

There are rules and rights in place for both taxi drivers and passengers, which makes settling a dispute that bit easier. However, having an awareness of the other party’s rights can ensure that you rarely get to the point of dispute.

As a taxi driver, you should know the rights of a passenger and adhere to them. If you don’t, you could find yourself in trouble with the law or having your taxi licence revoked.

Of course, if passengers breach their rights, you are protected, too – but it pays to have taxi insurance covering you in case a passenger causes damage to your vehicle.

So, what do you need to know about passengers’ rights?

 

Show your accreditation

Passengers should be able to clearly see your accredited ID on display at all times. This provides them with some reassurance that they are stepping into an official, licensed taxi with the right person.

 

Take the quickest route

There is, of course, more than one way to get to the passenger’s desired destination. But the guidelines set out by the Department for Transport insists that taxi drivers must take passengers to their destination by the quickest possible route, unless the passenger states otherwise.

Quick tip: Why not discuss the route you plan to take before you set off? That way you can agree with your passenger what the quickest route to the destination is. Of course, the passenger might not know and prefer to entrust you with your local knowledge – that’s fine too, but there’s no harm in checking sometimes.

 

Be careful what you refuse

Taxi drivers are within their rights to refuse a fair – but only if they have a “reasonable excuse” or the passenger wants to travel outside of the controlled district.

Taxi licences are given out by local authorities on the basis that you will provide a service.

To this end, every person who wishes to undertake a journey in a taxi (provided it is within the controlled distance) is entitled to do so and this right is protected by law.

You can’t refuse a journey for being too short, even though it might be frustrating to lose your place at the taxi rank having hoped for a substantial journey.

The dashboard of a taxi with a person holding a phone up and navigation on screen

Don’t make passengers share your car

On some occasions, it can make sense for passengers, both heading in the same direction, to share your vehicle.

It’s better for the environment, cheaper for the passengers and good for business. But all passengers have to agree to share their ride. If one is not happy with the arrangement, you can’t make them.

 

Be a helping hand when needed

If a passenger looks like they need a hand with their belongings, try to offer that assistance before they have to ask for it.

If they do ask for help with their shopping or a suitcase, it’s seen as ‘part of providing good service’ that you do the loading and unloading of those items.

Who knows, it might get you a tip at the end of the journey? Even if it doesn’t, it’s the right thing to do for your customers in any case.

 

Stick to the meter

The meter is there for both you and your passenger. There’s no excuse for trying to charge a passenger more than the fare that is being shown on the meter, unless there was a prior agreement.

Of course, if you feel it’s necessary, you can charge a lower fare than what's shown – perhaps the passenger has made it known to you before the start of the journey that they only have so much money in their pocket.

But if you charge more, the passenger has every right to make a complaint.

If a passenger requests a receipt, you should ensure you have a proper receipt book so that you can write one out.

 

Carry out a visual inspection of your taxi

At the end of the shift, you must carry out a search of your vehicle for property that may have been accidentally left behind.

If you find anything belonging to one of your passengers, you should try to return it to them, either directly or by completing a found property form on your local police website.

Most found property does not need to be taken to a police station, unless the items are:

  • Mobile phones, laptops, cameras - anything with an internal memory
  • Personal ID - such as a passport, driving licence, bank card, utility bills
  • Drugs
  • A significant amount of money

Those items that do not need to be taken to a police station should be kept by the driver for at least 28 days.

 

Keep your vehicle neat and tidy

A paying customer should enter a clean, tidy and well-maintained taxi – so try to  incorporate a quickly daily clean (and a thorough weekly clean) into your work schedule.

Finally, it’s against the law to smoke in your vehicle, whether you have a passenger with you at the time or not.

 

Protect yourself with taxi insurance

When transporting passengers, you want to do your utmost to protect your taxi.

If your vehicle was to be badly damaged by a passenger following a dispute, you want to ensure that you can restore it back to full working order as quickly as possible – taxi insurance helps you to do this.

Here at Taxi Insurer, we can help you find a taxi insurance policy that suits your needs and we can work out a payment plan to make your payments manageable alongside all the other business expenses.

Benefits of arranging taxi insurance through Taxi Insurer can include:

  • Public Liability cover
  • Employer’s Liability cover

With Comprehensive, Third Party Fire & Theft, and Third party only cover available, get a quick quote for your taxi insurance today.

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