EDUCATORS, see information at the end of this article if YOU would like to host a Ride Safe transit safety workshop for YOUR students and faculty.
Article By Sean Stultz
It is common knowledge that Taxis and Limos are marked & painted to be visible and verified for customers, pedestrians and other vehicles in traffic.
In light of the numerous reports of sexual assaults, kidnapping, robbery and murder involving falsified Uber and Lyft vehicles, you do not have to guess at the reasons WHY Taxi cabs and Limos prefer to retain a clear exterior marking vetted by local and state authorities.
Even rideshare vehicles that are actually operating for companies like Uber and Lyft now contribute more crime to the commercial transportation market than their Taxi, Limo and public transportation counterparts.
This is one reason why Taxis and Limos prefer to remain clearly marked and maintain safety and insurance standards for the benefit of customers, drivers and the general public.
PASSENGER AWARENESS AND OVERSIGHT
It’s vital to the Taxi driver, the Limo Driver and company they represent that customers recognize their vehicles as a Taxi or Limo and confirmation that they are indeed a properly vetted company with the proper permits and safety compliance to do business.
The addition of a LIVE dispatch department that constantly monitors all calls and rides from a central location is an additional essential layer of safety and oversight.
With Taxis, customers have a phone number to a living human that will instantly report any issues to law enforcement and update the exact location of the vehicle.
This level of oversight also serves as a safety net for drivers who may find themselves dealing with a robbery or assault.
Assaults against rideshare drivers is yet another issue that a lack of vetting, compliance, oversight and clear vehicle marking directly causes.
It’s important that non customers, and other drivers are able to recognize if a vehicle is a Taxi or Limo.
Taxis and Limos sometimes have to load or unload people in less than idea areas or can be prone to frequent stopping.
If a commercial vehicle is involved in an accident, a clear exterior marking makes it easy for identification and instant communication with that Taxi’s company for emergency notification.
Highly visible vehicles that are clearly marked are easier to identify and find.
It is imperative that law enforcement have clear means of communication with commercial transportation providers for several reasons, not just an immediate need if and when an accident or assault may occur involving the vehicle.
The law enforcement community is routinely obstructed by the poor vetting and vehicle marking practices of Rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft.
Even in cases of sexual assault and murder, police departments are stalled from several hours to DAYS after incidents involving Rideshare vehicles. This is due to companies like Uber and Lyft lacking simple vehicle marking and public communication standards that Taxi and Limo providers practice regularly as the industry standard.
HOW ARE TAXIS AND LIMOS MARKED?
Top lights are a highly visible piece of equipment that help identify Taxis, especially at night.
An illuminated light should indicate that the Taxi is available for hire.
If the light is off, it should mean they have a passenger on board, or on their way to a pick up or are off duty.
While not such a big deal during the day, sadly some night drivers seem to not to care whether their light operates or not.
With the availability of magnetic, plug in Taxi top lights on Amazon & EBay, this is a fast and easy way to fraudulently appear as a Taxi and should not be used as the primary verification.
Color schemes are important to help distinguish different Taxi companies.
This is useful for passengers and law enforcement in areas where multiple companies operate.
This is a fast way to recognize at least what company a vehicle belongs to in case of an emergency or for dangerous driving / violations.
Painting a non Taxi in a color scheme is an added expense, and could show intent to commit fraud.
It also makes that vehicle more noticeable law enforcement.
Since most companies want to advertise their brand, most will advertise their name boldly on their vehicles.
Some areas require lettering to be a specific size to ensure visibility.
Company names help passengers and law enforcement to easily recognize vehicles.
Lettering is another expense and is not easily applied and removed like magnetic signs.
Phone numbers are a good way to advertise for potential customers, and also provide a way to anyone wanting to file a complaint.
Certain areas require all Taxis to have a medallion and for it to be visible or placed in a specific spot.
These are usually hard to duplicate & hard to remove.
Older medallions might have been riveted on, while newer ones may be highly adhesive.
Some are attached to the license plate that was issued.
PERMITS and DOT NUMBERS
Permits help verify that the vehicle inspection is up to date and commercial insurance is valid at least until the expiration date.
Limos, Party buses and some taxis also use DOT (Department of Transportation) Numbers.
These are usually placed on the passenger side of the windshield, the front and/or Rear of the vehicle’s mid line or on the sides in lower quarters of the doors, fenders or side panels.
Rates are posted to let customers or potential customers know what they will be charged.
Rates will usually include the “Drop” or “Pick Up” charge, the charge per mile, and slow traffic / wait charge.
Rates are usually required to be a certain size as to be seen from a prescribed distance.
Some areas control the pricing and place flat rates for certain locations.
SECURITY CAMERA INSTALLED
Many Taxis now maintain constant interior and exterior camera recording. Some now have these camera feeds streaming to a central monitor at their dispatch in real time so a LIVE person can provide over-site on the ride and the driver’s performance.
With Taxis, cameras are maintained for security and safety purposes ONLY. The recordings and streams are held in confidentiality with respect to the customer.
If nothing occurs that would require criminal or accident reporting, the footage is destroyed.
With most Rideshare drivers who employ dash cams, the video is often uploaded and shared to the world wide web, often without the customer’s knowledge. Due to the low standards of driver contracting, customer contracting and regulatory over-site with companies like Uber and Lyft, this is currently allowed under the law.
This is just one dangerous aspect of rideshare operations that Ride Safe strives to one day have properly regulated by authorities.
If you would like to be part of a Ride Safe Commercial transit safety workshop or know of an educational institution, law enforcement institution or public event that could benefit from one of our workshops, contact Ride Safe at this email address:
Or This Phone number:
Ride Safe workshops are free to the public and will provide your students and faculty with the essential tools to navigate today’s dangerous transportation market.