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Lincolnshire Drivers Decline Fares Due to High Crime Rates

Lincolnshire Drivers Decline Fares Due to High Crime Rates

Taxi drivers have for years been subject to a difficult clientele with the youth demographic infamous for carrying out what is commonly known as a ‘taxi run’. This activity is when those who have received a taxi service yet do not want to pay, exiting the taxi quickly without settling the balance on the meter. This is not only immoral and illegal but is detrimental to the success of the taxi driver, using their precious time as well as fuel to assist these wrongdoers. This pastime has been particularly prominent of late especially in the Lincolnshire area. In addition to the runaway passengers robbery has now become a crime that drivers are to contend with. Dave Atkin, chairman of the North East Lincolnshire Hackney Carriage Association, said: "It is a constant worry to my drivers but I wouldn't say there has been an increase in this sort of thing. "These things tend to come in groups, either because of copy-cat attacks or because it's the same people." Horror stories fill the industry news, tales that send shivers down the spines of the taxi drivers. Roy is a taxi driver that was in 2008 attacked in his taxi: "I started in 2001 and I believe it's getting worse. We are hearing on a daily basis of people not getting paid and being threatened. "I have had plenty of people refusing to pay, arguments with people that have been abrupt towards me, but this is the worst I have felt since 2008. "My view's on the job at the minute aren't very good. We are very vulnerable. "I think I'm going to have to stick with it at the minute but as soon as I get the chance to get another job I will be gone. It's just not safe." Roy drives for Links Taxis and recalls a time he was asked to pick his passengers up from outside a phone box on Park Street, opposite Clerke Street, at just after 5am, but said he had taken "stranger fares" in the past. He told the Grimsby Telegraph that he would think twice about carrying out such a fare today and so would his colleagues. "I'm going to be carrying on going out in the morning but I'm going to be very much more aware and self-conscious about picking people up on street corners and phone boxes," he said. "A lot of the taxi drivers I have been talking to said they are going to do the same. If they don't like the look of somebody or are suspicious acting or who are not from a proper address they might all refuse the fare. "There's innocent people out there and you shouldn't tar everyone with the same brush but we have got to do what is safe for us." Links Taxis manager Paul Revell feels that this is to get so bad that taxi drivers will start to refuse to take fares in the twilight hours. "We have always had a problem with people not paying fares, but we have had a lot more support from the police than in the past in that they do tend to make an effort and follow up incidents in order to retrieve drivers' fares," he said. "I can see a time where we are not going to pick anybody up in the twilight hours if they are not seen to come from an address." "They have got to make a decision before they have got somebody in the car," he added. "It's very difficult if you stop and they approach the car. The best thing is to weigh it up as you're driving – you are not necessarily their car as far as they are concerned." This really does bode a sad thought for the state of the taxi industry, a trade that is struggling to not only feel safe but to receive payment for the service they provide.

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