Published: Monday, 24th Dec 2018

Council and police chiefs have warned that passengers who use anti-social behaviour towards taxi drivers this party season face tough action.

No excuse for abuseCouncil and police chiefs have warned that passengers who use anti-social behaviour towards taxi drivers this party season face tough action.
They say that anyone who physically or verbally assaults a driver will be reported to the police.
And the council has launched an awareness campaign to hammer home the importance of the message.
Stickers are to be placed prominently in all private hire and Hackney vehicles with the slogan ‘No Excuse for Abuse’.
The campaign has been launched after several incidents in which drivers have been attacked by passengers.
Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Cllr Nick Peel, said: “We know that the vast majority of private hire and Hackney cab users in Bolton are courteous and well behaved.
“However, unfortunately there is a minority who have no qualms about being abusive to drivers, especially when they have had too much to drink.
“We need to make it clear that this is totally unacceptable. We want all our drivers to be safe and feel reassured that we have made their welfare – as well as passengers’ – a top priority.
“There will be no hesitation for drivers to call the police immediately if their safety is compromised.”
Director of the Hackney Drivers Association, Charlie Oakes, said: “We welcome this campaign to raise awareness of this issue.

“It is unacceptable that any driver should be put in fear for his or her safety when they are doing their job. During the festive period, the job is more challenging as there are many more passengers in the town centre and some are adversely affected by alcohol.

“If that means they do not show drivers respect and courtesy or, worse, are abusive verbally or physically it is important for the public to know that this is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

“We want people to come into the town centre, enjoy themselves and then get home safely.”

Secretary of the Bolton Private Hire Association, Mr Yasif Khan, also welcomed the campaign.

He said: “It is everyone’s right to feel safe in their workplace and our drivers are no different.

“Every day private hire drivers suffer abuse and violence from a minority of the public to the point where it has become a normal thing for them.

“This can range from verbal abuse, racial abuse to damaging vehicles and kids throwing stones.

“We are looking forward to working with the council and Greater Manchester Police to help eradicate violence and abuse against drivers and educating the public that it is against the law to be abusive and violent.”

Chief Inspector Mike Russell, from GMP’s Bolton Division, added: “It is important that people are able to do their job without fear or intimidation and I want to make it clear that we will not tolerate violence or antisocial behaviour in our community.”

Get Home Safe

Get Home Safe

Another initiative to help keep town centre revellers safe is Best Bar None’s ‘Get Home Safe’ scheme.

Best Bar None is a Home Office backed initiative where the police and council work with bar and club owners to make the night time economy safer.

Stickers will be displayed in private hire vehicles to inform passengers of licensing obligations and posters will be on display in bars and clubs around town.

Private hire vehicles must be booked in advance of pick-up, have a licence number on their vehicle and a private hire driver’s badge either on them or on display in the vehicle.

Anna Gough, Manager of Yates Bolton and Chair of Best Bar None Bolton, said that she was delighted that Best Bar None are launching this campaign.

She added: “Christmas is a busy time of year for pubs, bars and restaurants and we want to ensure that all of our customers feel confident in going out and enjoying themselves without worrying about their journey home.”   

Ch Insp Russell added: “Bolton has a vibrant night time economy and it’s important that all our partners work together to ensure the safety and enjoyment of those visiting the town centre this Christmas.

“Stay safe and enjoy the festivities but if you do witness an incident please contact us as soon as possible.”

Cllr Peel said: “We want people to be safe when they are out this Christmas. Always use a licensed taxi and remember only hackney cabs can pick up fares on the street.

“Private hire vehicles are only allowed to pick people who have pre-booked. Drivers who ply for hire could be in breach of their insurance, which means passengers would not be covered in the event of an accident.

“Any drivers caught picking up passengers illegally could face a steep penalty, fine or even lose their taxi licence.”

Taxi marshals

Taxi marshals

A taxi marshal scheme to help town centre revellers get home safely over the busy festive period will also run again this year.

Bolton Council teamed up with Exclusec Security to provide marshals at the taxi rank on Bradshawgate last Christmas

Due to their success, the marshals have been working on Saturday evenings throughout the year.

And over the festive period they will operate on both Friday and Saturday evenings, from 11pm until 5am, until the New Year.

Marshalling schemes have proven to be effective in helping vulnerable people, reducing illegal ‘pick-ups’, controlling taxi queues and reducing anti-social behaviour.

Cllr Peel said: “The marshals will be there to give help, information and reassurance to members of the public at the end of their evening. 

Exclusec Managing Director, James Bancroft, added: “We are delighted that we will be working with Bolton Council once more to provide support to the public during this busy Christmas period.”

Tips to help passengers stay safe:


• Only ‘hail’ Hackney Carriage Vehicles (London style traditional taxis). You should only approach a hackney carriage vehicle which has a lit sign and has a white plate with the vehicle licence number displayed on the rear of the vehicle.
• Only book a Private Hire Vehicle (saloon type cars and up to 8 seater minibuses) through an operator (booking office/base) – do not try to ‘hail’ a private hire vehicle as you may not be insured in the event of an accident. These vehicles must have a yellow plate on the front and back of the vehicle with the licence number on.  They must also have the operator name and number displayed on the front doors.
• Make sure you give your full name to the operator and the number of passengers so they can record full details as required by law.
• Contact the Licensing Team if you are contacted after the journey by the operator or driver, or if you have any concerns about a journey or driver. You can report any behaviour by a driver which you think is unacceptable.  They can be contacted on 01204 336584 or by email at
• Ensure the drivers badge is on show before you enter a private hire or hackney carriage vehicle – this should always be visible by law – if not ask them to show it to you.
• Make a note (take a photograph if you have a phone) of the licence number of the vehicle as you enter it in case you need to contact the Licensing team about the driver or vehicle.
• Make sure you wear your seatbelt for your own safety.
• Check the price of the journey before you get in – prices may increase over the Christmas period, especially on bank holidays.

Do not:-

• Please do not drink alcohol in a private hire or hackney carriage vehicle – this is for your own safety, the driver’s safety and for the safety of other passengers. Drivers have been instructed to refuse to carry passengers that have alcohol in open containers.
• Do not get into a private hire vehicle unless you have booked through the operator – ask them who the vehicle is booked for and make sure the correct name before you get in the vehicle. Do not give them your name first.
• For your own safety, do not get into a vehicle which does not have the licence plate on display. The yellow or white licence plates displayed on the vehicle show that the vehicle has been tested at an approved garage within the last 6 to 12 months and was roadworthy at the time of test.