Marshalled taxi ranks for a safer Christmas

CF-taxi-rank-sign credit to (c) transport for London 2005

Look out for signs like these to ensure safety. Photo- Transport for London

A man raped by an illegal taxi driver from Deptford warned last week of the dangers of using unlicensed mini-cabs.

This follows news that marshaled taxi ranks and private-hire pick-up points will open for the first time outside clubs in Hackney and Tower Hamlets as the Christmas party season begins.

The 19-year-old victim, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Get into a black cab, don’t get any other taxi. Take it to the train station and wait there for your first train home.”

His attacker, Mohamad Caid, 38, was convicted this week at Woolwich Crown Court of rape, attempted rape, sexual assault and two counts of false imprisonment. He will be sentenced on January 11.

The move to use marshals and police officers to help commuters find taxis heading to similar destinations to prevent them taking illegal cabs is the latest in the ongoing Safer Travel at Night campaign, which is run by TfL and Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Other initiatives include an increased number of night buses and the installation of a hotlink phone in Goldsmiths University linked directly to a local minicab operator.

TfL reports show the number of cab-related sexual offences in the capital has fallen year on year since the campaign began in 2002. The five years up to 2007 saw a 46 per cent reduction in attacks.

Marshalled taxi ranks are currently situated outside Macdonald’s at Liverpool Street Station and outside 333 club in Shoreditch, with more expected in the new year.

For immediate information on taxi operators, text the word CAB to 60835. The numbers of one taxi and two local licensed minicab numbers that serve the area the text was sent from will be sent directly to the phone.

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