SAFETY campaigners fear women could be at risk from predators and bogus taxi drivers after a number of private hire companies introduced the new policy.
WOMEN will be put at risk over the party season by a new ban on advance taxibookings, safety campaigners have warned.
A number of private hire companies have introduced a new policy in which customers can’t book a cab in advance to pick them up from their night out.
It means revellers may have to wait outside their party venue for lengthy periods before a cab arrives.
And that could put them at risk from predators and bogus taxi drivers.
Rape Crisis Scotland co-ordinator Sandy Brindley said yesterday: “There really needs to be easy access to safe transport home for women.
“There have been incidents where men posing as taxi drivers have attacked and raped women on their own.
“It is also known that there are men who prey on women who are drunk and who are on their own at night.
”Customers should be able to prebook their taxi at any time so that they can feel safe when they leave a venue and are not left hanging about.”
Glasgow’s Hampden Cabs – one of the biggest private hire firms in Scotland – admit they are not allowing customers to prebook at weekends over the festive period.
A spokesman said: We have a big demand at this time of year and cannot predict when drivers will be free.
“So rather than knock them back or let them down later, we ask customers to phone at the time.”
Eastwood Mearns Taxis in Clarkston, Glasgow, say a taxi can only be prebooked over the festive period if the customer has previously been dropped off by them.
They said: “When we drop people into town we will take bookings for the return journey as we are obliged to.
“When people phone for two or three in the morning we are telling people to phone when they require it.”
Network Private Hire in Glasgow say customers can book in advance over the festive period, but not if they are being collected from pubs and clubs.
The company said:”We do not refuse prebookings as long as it is not from a pub or a nighclub. They can call when they are leaving and wait for the cab.”
Glasgow Private Hire say customers can book. Spokesman Peter Kelso added:“The only thing we cannot guarantee at this time of year is that it will arrive exactly on time.”
Scotland’s biggest taxi firm, Glasgow Taxis, say customers can prebook any one of their 900 black hackney cabs in advance over the festive period and women on their own are given special priority.
The two main Edinburgh firms, Central Taxis, who run black cabs, and Capital Cars, who supply private hires, say customers can prebook to be picked up from party nights.
Aberdeen Taxis and Inverness Taxis, who supply both black cabs and private hires, both offer prebooking, as do Dundee’s main cab firm, Tele Taxis.