NEW Year revellers in South Tyneside are being urged to stay safe with a few simple precautions.
South Tyneside Council licences all taxis and private hire cars operating in the borough to protect passengers, ensure drivers are “fit and proper” and to make sure the vehicles are safe.
These include 236 taxis and 450 private hire cars.
Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “We want people to enjoy a great night out as they celebrate the New Year, but we also want them to stay safe. At this time of year, people are more likely to let their guard down particularly after having consumed alcohol when decision-making and judgement can be impaired. We would encourage people to drink responsibly.”
She added: “The key to a safe journey home at this busy time of year is to plan ahead. Taxis will also be in very high demand, with most people heading home after the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, so we would encourage people to be patient. It’s best to pre-book.
“By following some simple but effective advice people can make sure they have safe and happy New Year celebrations.”
Before a night out, people are advised to:-
n Plan their journey home and tell a family member where they are going;
n Go home in a group of friends, if possible;
n Use one of the designated taxi ranks or have the telephone number of one of the licensed companies operating in the borough programmed into their mobile phone;
n Check that any vehicle you are getting into has a licence plate and permit displayed in the front windscreen;
n Ask the driver to show you his/her badge;
n Do not accept lifts from strangers under any circumstances.
Taxi passengers are also urged to try to remember some details about the vehicle, the driver’s licence number or part of the vehicle’s registration number.
Coun Dixon added: “Any of these details will help the council to trace the vehicle or driver if there is a problem or the passenger leaves property behind. Unfortunately we find the vast majority of people who call the council’s licensing team to report lost property cannot remember any details relating to the vehicle or driver, so it is impossible to track down.”
To report any taxi-related concerns, or to obtain advice, the licensing team can be contacted on 424 7695.