What rights do taxi drivers have?
In simple terms, taxi drivers have the right to go about their work in peace and to collect payment for it. This does mean that they can pre-vet passengers before deciding whether or not to accept a fare. It also means that they have the right to insist that passengers sit in the back and to install protective equipment in their vehicles.
Drivers also, typically, have the right to choose what payment methods they accept. Taking payment by digital means (eg by card or contactless) can help to make drivers less of a target for criminals.
What legal protections do taxi drivers have?
Taxi drivers have several avenues which allow them to protect themselves in the event of an attack or aggressive behaviour. By law, tax drivers do not have to wear a seatbelt, as this enables them to make an escape should they find themselves being attacked from behind.
Taxi drivers can also install CCTV in their vehicles, which is becoming increasingly common. Should passengers be aggressive or act out of place, taxi drivers have clear video evidence of this taking place. If a driver chooses to install CCTV or other video recording devices, they should be aware of how data protection laws apply to such practices to uphold people’s rights to privacy. For more information, read Security products on commercial premises.
What rights do taxi passengers have?
As a rule of thumb, passengers should always be accepted by a taxi driver unless the driver has ‘good reason’ to refuse them service. In simple terms, there are only 3 reasons a driver can use to decline a fare:
their light is off, indicating that they are not for hire at that moment, although they may still be working. For example, they may be waiting for someone
it would be outside the terms of their licence. This would usually mean a journey that ended outside of the driver’s licence area. Or,
it would put them at risk in some way
In order to comply with the Equality Act 2010, which prohibits discrimination, including discrimination due to somebody’s disability, taxis must be accessible. This includes wheelchair accessibility. Wheelchair users must be carried at the same cost as non-wheelchair users. Likewise, officially-accredited service dogs must also be transported unless a driver is legally exempt from carrying dogs (eg due to an allergy). Passengers also have the right to transport a ‘reasonable’ amount of luggage.
Your driver must take you by the quickest route and keep the meter running at all times. They must provide a receipt on request. They must also take reasonable steps to return any property left in their cab (unless it’s illegal, in which case they are obliged to hand it over to the police).
What obligations do taxi passengers have?
In basic terms, the obligations of taxi passengers are simply to behave reasonably and respect the law. In particular, do not smoke or soil the cab and pay your fare at the end of the journey.
Generally, babies should be strapped into a carrier and toddlers (under 3 years old) should sit in the rear seat. They may sit without a seatbelt. From the age of 3, children must sit in their own seat and wear their own seatbelt (or, if appropriate, use a carrier). All adults must wear a seatbelt at all times.
Can pets be taken in taxis?
Taxi drivers do not have to agree to transport pets. If you want to transport a pet, they should be suitably restrained and trained. If they are not, this may count as a good reason for the driver to decline a fare (eg if the driver feels like the pet poses a safety risk). Note that different rules apply to service animals (discussed above).
If you drive a taxi or other private hire vehicle and you’re unsure of your rights, you can Ask a lawyer for help.