Investigation is launched after two women are left ‘shaken’ by their taxi trips in Exmouth

The hunt is on to identify the taxi drivers who left two women ‘shaken’ in Exmouth after ‘inappropriate’ talk, speeding, and rudeness.

The two women reported separate distress to the district council in December and January, from drivers picking up fares from the taxi rank in The Strand, Exmouth.

The women’s accounts have prompted East District Council (EDDC) to launch an investigation to identify the drivers, and warn against using unlicensed taxis.

The council said unlicensed taxis ‘posed a threat to the safety’ of residents.

An EDDC spokesperson said: “The vast majority of licensed drivers continue to operate professionally in the manner expected of their role and do not tolerate nor welcome incidents of this kind.

“Licensed taxis uphold an important role in our communities by providing safe travel for the public.”

EDDC received the first complaint in December 2022 from a woman who had been subjected to ‘inappropriate behaviour’ on the drive home.

A second woman came forward in January 2023, reporting a separate incident of excessive and high speeds by a driver who turned ‘rude and unprofessional’ when she spoke up.

An EDDC spokesperson said: “East Devon District Council’s licensing department has received two reports in the past month from people using taxis taken from a rank on the Strand, in Exmouth.

“The first passenger reported an incident, in December, where she said she was subject to inappropriate conversation from the taxi driver, behaving below the professional standard expected from drivers.

“In January, during a second incident, a lone passenger using the same taxi rank said she was subject to excessive and high speeds by a driver who became rude and unprofessional when she highlighted her concerns.

“No taxi plates or vehicle registration numbers were identified in the incidents, and there is currently no link between the reported cars or drivers.

“EDDC has now launched an investigation into the incidents but would like to remind anyone using a taxi service to remember to stay safe.”

EDDC recommended using licensed taxis whose drivers who were regulated, wore photo ID and drove vehicles with a roof sign and fare meter.

Councillor Joe Whibley, EDDC licensing and enforcement committee chair, said:  “Our taxi drivers do a brilliant job providing a much-needed service to the local community.

“Unlicensed drivers pose a threat to the safety of our residents – these recent incidents prove that.

“Even after a long night out, if you follow EDDC’s advice, you’ll get home safely. Check the taxi for EDDC licence plates, ask to see an ID badge and if in doubt, get out.”

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