A TAXI crackdown between police and Dudley Council is being planned in the run-up to Christmas to improve customer safety.

Council licensing enforcement officers and cops will be hitting the streets on covert operations to ensure hackney carriage and private hire vehicle drivers are operating within the rules of their licences.

The planned pre-Christmas operations follow a successful operation held on October 11 in the Stourbridge and Lye areas where around 20 vehicles were checked.

The checks ensure private hire drivers are only taking pre-booked customers and not collecting people who hail them down without making a reservation.

Hackney carriages will also be checked to ensure they are running their meters appropriately from the start of all journeys.

In the October operation all eight hackney carriages checked used their meter appropriately.

Only one of 12 private hire vehicles inspected collected passengers without a reservation - the driver of which is currently the subject of an investigation before any action is taken by the authority.

Councillor Richard Body, chairman of the taxis committee, said: “The hugely successful operation this month showed the vast majority of taxi drivers are obeying the rules of their licence which is very pleasing and reassuring for customers. “We will be looking to carry out similar operations in the run-up to the busy Christmas period to help maintain these high standards and enhance the safety of the public.”

Private hire vehicles in Dudley are white vehicles with a roof sign. If members of the public do not pre-book them before travelling they will not be insured for their journey.