In light of the alleged rape and robbery of a woman who flagged down a white minivan that had livery plates in South Boston this week, the Massachusetts State Police provided safety tips when using taxis and livery services.
The State Police suggested these tips when using taxis or livery services:
- If at all possible, use the “Buddy System” when getting around. Remember, there is safety in numbers.
- Have the phone numbers of licensed reputable taxi companies programmed into your cell phone or in your wallet so you can easily call them.
- Before getting in a cab, look for indications that the taxi is licensed: Licensed cabs must have a medallion on the rear trunk area of the vehicle. This will have a number on it and state that the vehicle is a licensed hackney carriage; a placard identifying the driver as licensed hackney carriage driver and bearing the driver’s name and photo must be displayed on the dashboard; in Boston, the words “Boston Lic. Taxi” will be on the rear fender of all licensed cabs.
- These indicators will not be present in vehicles with livery plates or other vehicles from other services such as Uber cabs. It is better to make an appointment for pickup via the internet if possible rather than hailing one of these vehicles, so that a record is created. It is best not to get into unmarked taxis or livery cars.
- Use your cell phone to take a photo of the vehicle, its license plate and the cab driver as well, and send the photo and company name and license number to a friend or family member to tell them this the vehicle you are in. If the driver objects to having photos taken, let him go and get another cab.
- If you feel uneasy or threatened at any time, call 911 on your cell phone to immediately be connected to a police dispatcher.