Lancashire Police are asking the public to “not be offended” if they are asked to pre-pay for their taxis over Christmas.
Members of the Community Safety Team at Lancashire Constabulary are promoting the practice of pre-payment with all taxis in the Preston area over the festive period in a bid to reduce the number of bilking offences where passengers evade payment.
Insp Caroline Edwards, Community Safety Team said: “We want to ask the public not to be offended if they are asked for a deposit or pre-payment of fares when they take a taxi.
“Christmas and New Year is an extremely busy time for all taxi drivers and over this period we see an increase in bilking.
Insp Edwards added: “By encouraging pre-payment, we can hopefully reduce the number of these incidents.”
Mark Selley of Preston Hackney Carriage Association said: “I understand that the police will be encouraging this practice because if there is a problem with people running off without paying it takes up their valuable time.”
However, Mark, said it must be up to the taxi drivers to be honest when taking deposits or pre-payment.
He said: “It is the law to have the meter running so if a taxi driver takes money from you, make sure that the amount is taken from the final fare that is displayed on the meter.
“Drivers don’t want to run the risk of payment problems on long journeys in particular.
Mike Thorpe, Licensing Manager at Preston City Council added: “Security of both drivers and passengers is of paramount importance and any measures to reduce the risk of conflict or crime is to be welcomed.”