Taxi firm boss brands social media lifts a 'horror story'
A taxi firm boss has branded a trend where people arrange lifts through social media apps as a 'horror story'.
Some drivers in Worthing have reportedly been posting on social media to advertise lifts for people going on nights out.
It sparked concern from some quarters of the community that young or vulnerable passengers could be taken advantage of by strangers.
Andy Hall, director of taxi firm Wortax, based in Victoria Road, Worthing, has spoken out against the trend. He said: "There are all kinds of risks involved in this day and age.
"With what you hear in the news every day, I think it is a horror story to be honest. It is an accident waiting to happen."
Mr Hall, who has been in the role for three years, said he had not noticed it affecting their business, but that as a father he would not be happy for his children to use such a service.
He said: "If they used a taxi, the journey would be recorded. But if they went missing in one of these drivers' cars, there is no record.
"You don't know the state of the car; you don't know if it is safe; you don't know how many people they are trying to fit in the vehicle; you don't know the history of the driver."
He said all his drivers have to be DBS-checked, and their vehicles must have two MOT tests: a normal one and a more stringent test for taxi drivers, which checks the state of the seat belts and upholstery among other criteria.
If there was an accident and the passenger needed surgery, he said his drivers are insured for £10million in public liability insurance as a minimum - but a regular driver may not have this kind of cover, or have insurance at all.
Mr Hall, who has himself driven taxis for five years, said accepting a lift in a car with a stranger could leave passengers vulnerable.
He said: "Every journey is recorded in a booking system. You know who did the job and where they have been taken to and from. If something were to happen in one of these cars, where is your proof? You may have been assaulted but there would be no evidence you were in that car at that time."