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New warning over illegal minicabs

15:31 10 January 2013

Many offices, friends and families will be preparing for a night out together after the festive break to celebrate the new year. That can mean a trip to the West End or one of East London, Kent or Essex’s bigger towns for a night of drinking and dining.

After a good night out though, comes the challenge of getting home safely. The Metropolitan Police, as well as forces in Kent and Essex continue to warn of the dangers of unlicensed minicab users.

Transport for London has campaigned for years to raise awareness of the dangers.

A spokesman said: “While London is safe for most people travelling at night, there are major concerns over the dangers of travelling in unbooked minicabs or illegal cabs picked up off the street. All minicabs must be licensed by TfL and must be booked in advance. Any minicab that isn’t is illegal and unsafe.

“Despite significant progress over recent years, illegal cabs remain a serious problem in London.

“These ‘cabs’ are unregulated and uninsured to carry passengers, and in some cases the drivers are linked to more serious crimes, including rape and sexual assault, robbery and drugs.”

The onus is on individuals to make sure they get home safely, but help is at hand. Taxi and minicab companies run schemes to promote safety and reliability among drivers.

As well as safety, cost can also be a factor: unlicensed minicab drivers charge whatever they like but licensed firms have tariffs. Even these can vary, but one firm has launch a new app and web tool to help revellers find the best deal with licensed firms.

Kabbee runs a price comparison and booking service used by more than 50 minicab fleets across the capital.

Users can check prices and choose the best cab for them. Functions in the app and website allow users to see arrival times and make ratings on their cab for others to see.

Kabbee spokesman Phil Makinson said: “We expect our cab companies to meet exacting standards so our customers can expect great service, a punctual driver and a pleasant car at an affordable price. At this time of year availability can be low and prices high so Kabbee makes sure you can get a cab and saves you money on expensive taxi fares.”

Anyone with an iPhone or Android smartphone can download the app by searching for Kabbee. Alternatively, visit www.kabbee.com

*Try Kabbee before the end of January and get £5 off your first booking. Enter promo code Kab24 when you sign up on the app or website and choose “account” when you get to the payment screen.

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