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21 November 2018

Bournemouth council urges residents to avoid social media ‘taxi’ service

First publishedon www.ITSInternational.com

People in the UK resort of Bournemouth are being warned not to use a ‘lifts-for-cash’ service which is operating in the town.

A closed Facebook group called ‘Bournemouth & Poole town lifts’ has more than 7,000 members but council leaders say the service could be illegal.

Members communicate via social media. Once accepted, they can ask for trips, talk to drivers or make money by using their vehicle as a taxi.

But Nananka Randle, licensing team manager, planning and regulatory services, at Bournemouth Borough Council, says ‘lift sharing’ is only legal if the fees being requested are to cover the cost of petrol and running of the vehicle.

While modern technology has provided new and more convenient ways to travel – for example by enabling legal ride-share services - it has also given unlicensed ones a more convenient platform in which to operate.

Randle adds: “Offering lifts in an effort to make a profit is technically providing an illegal taxi service. Not only does this put passengers at risk but also the vehicle owners are invalidating their car insurance, and they could be liable to prosecution.”

Randle emphasises that the Bournemouth Licensing Authority says people getting into a car with someone they do not know are putting their safety at risk.

“All licenced private hire and taxi drivers undergo regular criminal record checks and their cars are examined at accredited garages every six months to ensure they are safe,” Randle concludes.

In February, Dorset Police uploaded a Facebook post which says people offering a lift in exchange for money may result in their car being seized by the Police. It can also lead to a fixed penalty or prosecution resulting in a fine, points on your licence or disqualification from driving.

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