Murray Edwards student sexually intimidated by taxi driver

Judith Welikala - News Editor 20 October 2011

Students from Murray Edwards College have been warned not to take taxis alone, after an undergraduate was sexually intimidated by a Cambridge taxi driver on her journey home alone.

In an email circulated on Wednesday night to all Murray Edwards undergraduates, Welfare Officer Jenny Tollmann and Women’s Officer Alice Gormley cautioned students: “where possible, taking taxis in twos or threes is advisable.”

The incident occurred last Thursday around 3am. The student took the taxi from Market Square beside the “Trailer Of Life”. She was reluctant to comment on the details of what was exchanged, but revealed that remarks made by the driver were of a highly sexual nature and made her feel incredibly uncomfortable. The student has not since been able to establish whether the taxi was licensed. The only licensed vehicles permitted to be hailed by passengers from streets are hackney carriages, licensed by the Cambridge City Council. All licensed hackney carriage drivers must undergo CRB checks, which must be renewed on a regular basis. They must also take a knowledge test of the local area, a medical test and the Driving Standards Agency test. However, they receive no training regarding etiquette towards passengers. All licensed drivers are required to prominently display their personalized licence on the dashboard or hanging from the car mirror. If the license is not displayed, and the driver does not show their license when asked, the Council state there is reason to believe the taxi is not licensed.

Following the spate of sex attacks on women in Cambridge since August last year, taxis have been recommended as a safer alternative for students, particularly females, walking alone after dark. Many colleges have organised taxi systems for students traveling alone late at night.

Judith Welikala – News Editor