lifestyle

The current taxi shortage is making women feel even more unsafe at night


With the ongoing petrol problems, there are fewer taxis on the road. (Picture: Getty)

The recent murder of Sabina Nessa has, once again, shaken many women to the core and emphasised the grim reality that – no matter how short the route – walking alone can be dangerous.

However, this is nothing new. Women learn to grip keys in their hand and to cross over to the other side of the road from a young age, due to this very real threat of violence.

In fact, since the murder of Sarah Everard earlier this year, 80 women have been killed by men, despite promises to make the streets safer.

Unsurprisingly, recent research shows half of UK women feel unsafe walking alone after dark – and because of the risks, taxis are often a lifeline for getting home.

But, throw in the current petrol crisis, resulting in fewer taxis on the road, and this safer option is no longer something to fall back on.

Daisy, 27, lives on her own and says that she moved into her house knowing she wouldn’t feel comfortable walking home by herself.

‘I am now kind of accepting that if I’m coming back late at night, I’ll get a taxi from the station,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.

The lack of vehicles available at the moment is problematic for many, like Daisy, who rely on this being an option.

She adds: ‘I live on a road that is about a 20-minute walk from the station, and the buses in the evening don’t always come.

‘So, if I’m ever coming back when it’s past 9.30pm, I’ll always get a taxi and it’s obviously expensive but I don’t feel safe walking. Most of the road is busy, so it’s fine, but when it gets really quiet I don’t like it.

‘It’s stupid that I have to feel like that, but the sad reality is that it isn’t safe. 

‘As much as police say the streets are safe, they are not – there have been notable things that have happened recently. And also from my own experience  – like when you’re walking home and someone starts shouting at you, follows you or looks at you in a strange way.’

‘The sad reality is that it isn’t safe.’ (Picture: Getty)

Lindsay Baxter is another individual who is particularly worried about safety at the moment.

She says: ‘I, like many women, rely on taxis to get me home safely at night time. A shortage of taxis causing longer waiting times, unaffordable surcharges and even worse, if there is no taxi at all, leaves women in potentially extremely vulnerable positions.

‘Just last night I said “no” to visiting my friend at her home, as I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get a cab home. I can imagine a lot of women will think twice about where they chose to go in the evenings if they are not sure how they’ll get home.

‘There are, of course, also women who do not have the choice of whether to go out or not if they are working late shifts. Women finishing work in the hours of darkness such as NHS workers, bar staff and supermarket workers may rely on taxis to get home in the dark and they will now be faced with a choice of putting themselves in a vulnerable position just to earn a wage.’

Lindsay started a change.org petition to ask TfL to provide free transport for women in the hours of darkness – something that’s more relevant than ever, now a taxi shortage is leaving individuals with even less choice. 

She says: ‘While some may not need the assistance because of the affordability factor, many other reasons could come into play, such as the horrifying and needless case of the Nottingham student who was raped after being refused entry on the night bus because she didn’t have enough change.’

This is something backed up by Elizabeth – who feels that something needs to change in the interim, to prioritise the safety of women while taxis are not a reliable option.

She says: ‘I was out in central London at the weekend and left my friends in a club to order a taxi home when I realised getting one might be tricky – especially having missed the last tube and with the night tube no longer running.

‘With my phone battery rapidly depleting, I waited on my own trying to order one from different taxi services (Uber/Bolt etc) for almost an hour. I then decided to walk a bit further north from central to see if demand was less. 

‘Thankfully, after 50 minutes of frantically trying to order a cab at 2am I got one and waited at a bus stop in the street light for it to arrive. The cost was significantly higher than usual (£25 for a 15 minute trip – and at one point it was showing £45).

‘I was scared waiting on my own for that long, with absolutely no idea how I’d get home otherwise.

‘I also know that some people can’t afford to pay that much for a taxi at surge prices. 

‘I think TFL needs to get night tubes running again if the petrol crisis continues – or get more buses running at night that everyone can actually fit on. Some sort of solution needs to be presented in the meantime.’

Women already feel unsafe on the streets – and they have every reason to be. But the taxi shortage is intensifying this problem and many want something to be done, not just in the short term, but going forward indefinitely.



How to stay safe at night with the current taxi shortages:

It goes without saying that it shouldn’t be up to women to change their behaviour.

But for anyone looking to feel a little safer, Alison Marsh from MissAMinvestigations.co.uk has shared some things to keep in mind, with taxis in short supply at the moment.

She says: ‘While the fuel shortage shouldn’t prevent people from going out, the shortage of taxis on the streets could be cause for concern – especially for women.’

Here are some tips which might help:

  • ‘With a reduced amount of safe public transport available for those getting home late at night, I’d advise women to come together more than ever. Don’t travel or walk alone – even if it’s just a short distance.
  • Tell loved ones where you are going and anticipated arrival times.’
  • If you’re unsure when you are out press 999 on your phone but don’t press send, just keep your finger on it should you be in an emergency situation – you don’t need to speak as the police will be able to locate where you are.’

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.


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