Last night, I was made to feel unsafe in a taxi, and not for the first time either.

The man who collected me from a private hire company turned on the light to look at me when I entered the car, dwelling unnecessarily before turning on the engine and pretending that he didn’t know my home address when he clearly had it (he uttered the road name) before proceeding to act confused as to where it was. Testing him, I asked how long it would take and knowing it was just 5 minutes away, he ‘joked’ it would take 200 minutes. Not funny. Panicked, I phoned my husband to say I was on my way home and when I hung up, the taxi driver enquired whether he was worried I’d been kidnapped, laughing.  Again, not funny. Unnerving and pretty frightening in fact. I firmly told him I felt unsafe and just wanted to get home safely to my kids, to which he apologised.

I complained to the firm and they have assured me they regard this as a serious matter and the driver in question will be disciplined internally but I’m frankly tired of being made to feel unsafe as a woman travelling at night, particularly in taxis.

This isn’t the first time I’ve suffered in the back of a cab. A taxi driver tried to force me into the front of his car in Holborn many years ago when I was a uni student, after a night out, and had it not been for a street cleaner seeing me frantically bang on the passenger window as I’d been locked in, I could have been raped or worse.

I was so grateful to have escaped and managed to return to a friend’s house nearby, I didn’t call the police. I wish I had now, of course.

I remember staying in bed for a week after that experience, traumatised and broken. I’m still nervous to get cabs at night, to this day.

To be honest, over the years there have been several incidences like this, in cabs, a place where as women we’re at our most vulnerable, on our own with usually a man driving us.

I’ve had taxi drivers make inappropriate sexual comments towards me or who have asked me on dates and even phoned me after I’ve left the cab as they had my number as part of the booking, or others who behaved oddly and made me feel unnerved. Another driver from a well known company uttered that he wasn’t sure he’d be able get me to my destination safely while driving manically. WTF?

On reflection there are so many #Metoo stories I could share, I could fill a book, and many of my friends and colleagues feel the same.

Time is up though. Let’s shout it loudly enough so the taxi drivers* take note too.

*There are many decent taxi drivers out there, of course.

Unsafe Cab

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12 Responses

  1. eTaxiportal

    Very sad moments, We are launching eTaxi portal, Online taxi booking service which has live tracking all the time to prevent such incidents. Coming Soon in Switzerland.

  2. Tom

    It was genuinely a spine chilling incident in the taxi. I am glad you are safe now.

  3. José Frans

    I’ve had a lot of problems related to taxi drivers, people who are rude and nosy, you need to improve it there.

  4. Zaz

    No, not cool in any way shape or form. I’m sorry darling you had this happen – again – but so well handled, firm and clear. It will take a long step for empathy to become second nature over and above baser instincts, but by bringing up our boys to be sensitive and sympathetic, I keep praying we are doing our bit for humanity.

  5. Emerald

    Crikey Vicki, that is $h1te, excuse my Glaswegian! How dare these idiots do this? To these men it’s a joke, a bit of fun and you’re “overreacting”. To us it’s terrifying. We’re at the mercy of someone whose physical strength is beyond ours and who is in control of the vehicle.

    I’m so sorry you felt scared but well done for speaking up and telling the fool. And for reporting him too. A bit of consideration from these morons wouldn’t go amiss. xx

  6. Lucy At Home

    Oh what a horrible experience. I avoid taking taxis on my own for this very reason – there are lots of great taxi drivers, but there are too many who make it an unnerving, scary experience. I hope you’re okay and will done for reporting it.

  7. Amancay

    What an idiot and hope he gets disciplined. Remember that taxi journey in Cannes ?? It was all good in the end but we were frightened for a while! You came across as super strong that night .

  8. Mary Varville-Rodriguez at World of Writer Mom

    So sorry you had to go through that again, Vicki! Good idea to stay on the phone with someone who is aware of your concerns, and it definitely called for reporting that driver. You are loved and appreciated, and we all want you to stay safe. Keep on advocating and bringing awareness to these situations.

  9. Kate Hitchens

    That’s horrible Vicki sorry you had this happen again. You imagine it only happens with dodgy unlicensed minicabs, not through reputable companies. Someone I went to school with was brutally raped and murdered after a night out by getting in a dodgy taxi, it’s so important to take all the steps you can to be as safe as possible in these situations.

  10. Alex

    It’s just shit, and I hate it. I very very rarely get a cab on my own – but when you work in town you don’t often have much of a choice, do you? Glad you advocated for yourself and followed up with the company, as I think too often we’re conditioned to think we just have to put up with it. Just sorry you were made to suffer this again. x


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