Maxi cabs in Melbourne are a convenient means of transportation – whether you don’t drive, your car is unavailable, you’re travelling to or from the airport, or you want to be able to enjoy a night out responsibly, they’ll get you from point A to point B.
As a driver, maxi cabs in Melbourne are a great way to earn a living – they’re pretty constantly in demand and provide flexibility in allowing you to set your own hours. Whether this is something you do as a full-time job or a side hustle at night and weekends, it can be a lucrative way to make money and meet new people.
It is, however, important that drivers and passengers alike remain safe when using maxi cabs in Melbourne. Here, we have shared some of our top tips for staying as safe as possible during your journey.
Safety Tips for Drivers
- Be Alert and Aware: Be mindful of where you park your maxi cab when on a break or waiting for a fare. If you have to leave the vehicle for whatever reason, make sure that it’s locked before walking away.
- Necessary Supplies: Make sure that your cab is equipped with everything you’ll need to get through your shift, particularly if you’re working at night. Supplies include a mobile phone, first aid kit, torch, spare car key, and basic tool kit.
- Take Care with Valuables: Never flash cash or expensive items, as this is just an invitation to potential thieves. Try to spread cash across two or more pockets, and don’t pull it all out when returning change for a big note.
- Assess Your Customers: A seasoned maxi cab driver will be able to quickly assess the associated risk of all customers by reading their body language and taking in their appearance. This will help them to avoid troublesome situations.
- Make Eye Contact: Making direct eye contact and greeting people confidently can be useful in driving away potential troublemakers. It lets them know that you’re alert and aware, which can make them think twice.
- Emergency Response: Ensure that you’re well aware of emergency procedures, whether they’re set by your maxi cab company or are relevant to specific roads (such as Eastlink). If you aren’t aware of the procedures, get on top of it.
- Keep Your Windows Up: Keep your doors locked and windows up, especially on weekends and busy nights. If a passenger comes to your vehicle, roll down the window just enough to speak with them – never all the way.
- Lock Your Doors: Only unlock your doors once you’ve located your passenger (if the trip has been pre-booked) and once you’ve ensured that they’re not going to be a troublemaker.
- Be Clear on Destination: Troublemakers are known for not telling maxi cab drivers where they’re going. They’ll say things like “keep going, I’ll let you know when to turn/stop”. Be clear on the destination before starting the journey.
- Place Passenger in View: Try to ensure that the passenger sits within your field of vision. Sitting directly behind you, for example, can be a red flag (unless there are multiple passengers travelling together).
- Don’t Resist Thieves: If you are caught in a situation where someone has decided to rob you, it’s important that you don’t resist. Hand over whatever it is they’re asking for – it’s not worth serious injury or even your life.
- Stay Covid Safe: Many people are still practising social distancing. In this case, do not invite passengers to sit in the front seat – instead, the back passenger side is the best place in terms of social distance. Wear a mask if you prefer.
Safety Tips for Passengers
- Note Down Cab Number: Once you get into a taxi, be sure to note down its number, the company it’s from, and your driver’s certificate number (this should be displayed on the dash by law).
- Be Aware of Route: It’s a good idea that you do your homework before getting into a cab – have some idea of the route before starting your journey. If you’re travelling to a new place, look up the directions.
- Metered Taxi Fares: Ensure that the driver has started the meter only once the trip has started. The driver should not be starting the meter while you’re getting situated and they should stop it once you reach your destination.
- Fixed Fares: Many companies, like ours, offer fixed fares for maxi cabs in Melbourne. If you’ve been told a fixed fare, either over the phone or when booking online, ensure that the driver honours this.
- Baby Seats: If travelling with infants or children, be sure to let the taxi company know so that they can provide a suitable car seat. It’s also possible to provide your own car seats, which you will be able to install.
- Wheelchair Accessibility: If travelling with a wheelchair passenger who carries a multi-purpose taxi card (part of the MPTP), it’s required by law that the driver not put the meter on whilst loading or unloading the wheelchair.
- Take the Receipt: Regardless of whether you pay by cash or card, make sure that you take the receipt to ensure that you’ve been charged properly. The receipt can also be useful if it turns out you’ve forgotten something in the cab.
- Stay Covid Safe: Many people are still practising social distancing. In this case, do not sit in the front seat – instead, the back passenger side is the best place in terms of social distance. Wear a mask if you prefer.
- Airport Transfers: If you need to get to or from Melbourne Airport, it is highly recommended that you pre-book to ensure that your taxi arrives exactly when you need it to. At the airport, your driver will advise of the pick up location.
- Emergency Response: If you find yourself in an emergency or life-threatening situation, call 000 for help. Do not call the taxi company or a local police station, as they will not be able to provide immediate assistance.
The next time you get into a maxi cab in Melbourne, whether you’re a passenger or a driver, we hope that you find the above safety tips useful in having an enjoyable journey. By exercising some common sense and courtesy, everyone can have peace of mind that they’ll arrive at the destination without issue.