Recently I had a complaint from a gay couple who booked a cab from a gay venue in Vauxhall. On the way home they were asked by the driver to stop holding hands and kissing in the back of his cab – as he thought their behaviour was unacceptable. They were left extremely upset and distress by his behaviour towards them.
What is unacceptable is homophobic cab drivers.
I followed this up with the mini-cab service who provided the service and they confirmed the alleged actions of the driver were unacceptable.
They pride themselves on providing a Gay friendly service to the local LGBT community and clearly display the Rainbow Triangle on their shops and business cards.
I advised them to address the following points;
(1) Identify the driver – and make it clear to the driver that this type of behaviour is unacceptable. The company should have a disciplinary/grievance procedure in place for dealing with these type of incidents.
(2) Check your current policies and procedures cover the expectations of your company regarding the equal provision of service to members of the LGBT community. You are obligated by the updated Provision of Goods and Services Act and the Equality Act 2010 to provide an equal standard of service to all members of the public, including members of the LGBT communities.
(3) Do your drivers sign a Drivers Service Level Agreement when they join/work for your company – if so – ensure this covers your company’s expectations.
(4) Do you have a Venue Service Level Agreement with the venues you work with? If so – make sure this covers your expectations and explains how venues can raise their concerns with you.
(5) Have regular meetings with your drivers to remind them of your expectations and address any issues arising. During these sessions you could provide driver training on how best to deal with awkward situations/incidents.
(6) Driver Training – make sure all your drivers attend an induction/training session where you cover your polices and procedures, sign off any paperwork and include your expectations on how LGBT customers should be treated, it should also include some diversity training.
(7) Ensure you have a complaints/customer care procedure in place – how do you make your customers aware of this? Should be clear on your website, business cards and posters.
(8) Publicity/Posters – I would suggest they you design some LGBT friendly posters which can be displayed in LGBT venues (a) clearly outlining your commitment to equality of service to the LGBT community and (b) how people can complain if they do not receive the service expected. Perhaps each of your driver’s cars could have a sticker along the lines “Let us know when your not happy with the service provided through our customer service care line number and email” this could also be a strap line on your posters/business cards.
Thankfully the cab company in this case are taking immediate action to address what has happened with their drivers to ensure that this type of incident does not occur in their cabs again.
I also contacted the Public Carriage Office who license mini-cab and taxi drivers.
“…all complaints arising out of Private Hire bookings need to be directed at first, formally to the manager or owner of the Operating company with which the booking was placed.
Should, as a result of a complaint, a driver be dismissed by the Operator, the Operator is obliged to inform us of the dismissal, and the dismissal would be noted by us and automatically trigger a review of the drivers suitability to remain licensed.
Should the Operators outcome of the complaint not be to the passengers satisfaction the passenger can escalate is to us.
I must also advice that since racial / homophobic abuse is a criminal offence, the passenger can additionally report to the Police. Should the Police take action, any resulting caution or conviction would also trigger a review to the drivers suitability to remain licensed.
Regardless of whether the passenger chooses to report the matter to the Police, the above complaints procedure can still be followed.”
There is no place for homophobic cab drivers in Lambeth.
Working together with the Public Carriage Office, the LGBT community, LGBT venues and the mini-cab/taxi companies who operate in Lambeth, we all want to ensure that there is no place for homophobic cab/taxi drivers in Lambeth.
If you experience any form of hate whilst your in the back of a cab/taxi in Lambeth then note down the license plate details and let me know what happened by filling out the online Lambeth Hate Crime Reporting Form so we can take action to prevent this happening again.
The Public Carriage Office / London Taxi and Private Hire can be contacted directly on:
Telephone: 0343 222 4444
Fax: 020 3054 5314
Or you can write to them at:
Address: TfL – Taxi and Private Hire Office
4th floor (Green zone)
197 Blackfriars Road
London SE1 8NJ