Fresh safety warning to students over taxis not registered in Newcastle

Newcastle City Council has already revoked 25 taxi drivers’ licences for allegations of sexual offences

For many students, flagging down a taxi is a normal part of a night out in the Toon, but some local taxi drivers are warning of the dangers of getting into cars that are not registered in Newcastle.

Ever since Newcastle City Council’s decided to scrap the so-called ‘locality’ test in 2015, private hire companies have sent hundreds of new cars from around the country to take advantage of the night-time trade in the city.

Some local cabby drivers are warning that these new cars may not be subject to the same safeguards as local taxi companies and therefore pose a threat to people made vulnerable through the consumption of alcohol.

The Chronicle reported this week that one local taxi driver says he would not even allow his daughter get a taxi off the street on a night out.

Stephen Sholder, who has been a cabbie in the city for 36 years said: “I’ve got a 20-year-old daughter and she rings me when she’s out now,” he said. “I wouldn’t let her get just any taxi in the city. Even if I’m in bed I will come and get her.”

Newcastle City Council say they are doing all they can to ensure everyone who lives and works in Newcastle are safe using the city’s taxis.

Councillor Nick Kemp said: “The safety of people who live and work or visit our city is paramount.

"We conduct stringent background checks to ensure our private and hire and taxi fleet are safe and this is backed by a rigorous enforcement programme to identify rogue unlicensed drivers.”

Students are advised to take taxis only from registered taxi ranks at the Gate, Central Station and Bigg Market, and avoid any unmarked cars that purport to be taxis. It is also advisable to drink responsibly!

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