Taxi Trauma

Have you ever felt anxious in a taxi?

Whether using taxis to get home from a night out, or using them for work, people can often feel nervous when they are on their own.

If you have daughters or sons, you may be concerned for their safety if they are travelling alone. After all, they could simply have hailed a taxi on the street.

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Travelling for work may may involve regular use of taxis. For the most part, taxis are very safe, but you don’t want to be the exception. If you are female, you are likely to be at a higher risk of unwanted attention than a male passenger.

What about situations where you are taking a taxi in an unfamiliar city? Possibly one where you don’t speak the local language or know anybody. If the driver takes a ‘scenic’ route to your destination, you may become concerned if the areas you are travelling through don’t appear safe.

As an aside here, I worked with a guy from France, who was married to an Irish woman and had spent nearly 20 years living in Dublin. Despite the length of time he had spent living in Ireland, he retained his very strong French accent so taxi drivers would often assume that he was unfamiliar with the city and they took him on some very interesting routes from the airport to his house. If there was not much different in time or cost, he didn’t say anything, but on the occasions where he was being ‘taken for a ride’, the taxi drivers were shocked at his local knowledge!

Anyway, back to the scenario of using taxis in unfamiliar cities, especially where you don’t speak the local language.

Many years ago, I had to travel to Paris for work. I got into a taxi outside Charles de Gaul airport and handed the driver the address of the company I was going to visit.

We left the airport and headed into the city but as we left the dual carriageway, the taxi driver began to appear more and more anxious.

I became very alarmed when he stopped randomly and got out to speak with someone on the street. After a few moments, he got back in the taxi, muttered something in French and began to drive again.

He stopped again and went into a shop. The meter was still running and I became concerned that this was some sort of scam. I didn’t know where I was. My school-French was really poor so I couldn’t communicate with anyone and at this stage, we had been driving for quite some time.

This was in the days when mobile phones were not ‘smart’ and GPS navigation devices were expensive and weren’t widely used.

When he returned from the shop, he stopped the meter and explained in broken English that he now knew the way to our destination.

There followed more driving around in circles until eventually he spotted the street. But it was a one-way street.

So he reversed along the street for quite some distance before depositing me outside a building and pointed to indicate that this is where I had to go.

He could have been dropping me anywhere, and although the street itself looked ok, some of the surrounding streets that we had been on seemed run-down, with people hanging around on street corners.

Although statistically, the person most a risk on a taxi journey is the taxi driver, a passenger using the Safe Amigos App can be reassured that their smartphone can be used as a tool to help protect them from harm through either an emergency alert, or through the expiry of a timed alert.

Check out the video that explores how this works:

@safeamigos Safe Amigos provides a personal safety smartphone app that can be used to protect yourself, your family, or work colleagues - see www.safeamigos.com If you have ever felt uneasy in a taxi, this video outlines some practical ways in which Safe Amigos can be used to help keep you safe.

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