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Taxi drivers do not always have a good reputation. Some road users are annoyed about the way they drive and wonder whether other traffic rules apply to taxi drivers. Here are seven facts about taxis and their drivers.

1. A taxi is always ivory in color

That is correct in most of the German federal states: In 1971 the legally required color for taxis in the western German federal states was changed from black to light ivory. The color designation is RAL 1015. The typical color, together with the illuminated sign in yellow with the black lettering “Taxi”, which is attached transversely to the direction of travel, ensures a high recognition value in road traffic. In the meantime, the stipulated coloring has been lifted in Baden-Württemberg, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein. There the haulier is free to choose the color.

2. Taxi drivers do not have to buckle up

In the past right, now wrong: after the introduction of seatbelt compulsory, taxi drivers were initially exempted from it while transporting a passenger. This should help ensure that the driver can leave the car faster in the event of an assault. With an amendment to Section 21a of the Road Traffic Act, this exception regulation no longer applies as of October 30, 2014. Taxi drivers also have to buckle up!

3. Taxi drivers are allowed to stand in the second row

Even if other road users don't like it: A taxi can stand in the second row, for example so that passengers can get on and off. However, this only applies if the traffic situation allows it. And taxis have another privilege: They can use the bus lanes if there is an additional sign saying “Taxi free”. Especially in the "evening rush hour" they are usually far more traffic jam-free than individual traffic. Otherwise, taxi drivers, like all other road users, are bound by the rules of road traffic regulations.

Further requirements for taxis and their drivers

Taxi drivers and their vehicles are subject to a number of additional rules and obligations. Examples:

  • Taxis have to undergo a general inspection every year.
  • Fixed transport tariffs apply in the compulsory driving area, the use of the taximeter to determine the fare is binding.
  • A driver must choose the shortest or cheapest route without being asked.
  • The road traffic regulations also apply to taxi drivers.
  • Taxis must be clearly marked with the officially assigned serial number in the rear window.
  • The name and registered office of the haulage company must be displayed in a place that is clearly visible to the passenger.
  • The duty to operate applies: The taxi operator must keep the taxi in operation. Because taxis are part of the public transport network.

4. Red flashing lights on the taxi sign mean ...?

Everyone knows that a taxi is free when the yellow taxi sign on the roof lights up continuously. But most taxis also have red lights on the typical taxi sign: the silent alarm that flashes when the driver is in an emergency, for example due to a violent passenger. For older taxis, the whole sign also flashes.

Anyone who notices such a silent alarm should inform the police immediately and provide the location, license plate number and, if necessary, direction of travel of the taxi concerned. If you notice a taxi with a loud alarm - flashing lights, loud horns - you should of course also call the police on emergency number 110. A driver will only trigger the loud alarm when the danger is so great that the situation can hardly get worse. Under no circumstances should you intervene!

5. Passengers must take the first car at the taxi rank

No, that's not true: the passenger can freely choose the vehicle from the queue at the taxi stand. The drivers would like to reward their colleagues' waiting time by usually referring to the first taxi in line, but this is by no means mandatory for the customer.

6. Taxi drivers have to take everyone with them

Not quite: In principle, there is a so-called transport obligation within the compulsory driving area determined by the competent authority. However, in exceptional cases, a driver can still refuse transport. However, a very short distance or an aversion to the passenger are not reasons to refuse the ride. Exceptions are only possible if operational safety is at risk (§ 13 BOKraft). Examples are excessive alcoholisation of the passenger, armament (e.g. a loaded firearm), a large or unleashed dog, aggressiveness or an infectious disease of the passenger. A destination outside the compulsory driving area is also a possible reason for a refusal.

7. Everyone can do that ...!

Not everyone is allowed to drive a taxi: A taxi driver is at least 21 years old, has a valid driver's license recognized in Germany and has two years of driving experience. In addition, prospective taxi drivers have to pass a local knowledge test and a medical examination as well as submit a police clearance certificate. The responsible driving license authority also queries the applicant's score at the Federal Motor Transport Authority in Flensburg. The more points a candidate has, the less likely it is that the passenger transport license will be issued. It is valid for five years and is usually extended upon presentation of an eye test and a police clearance certificate.

Mutual consideration helps everyone

Everyday life for taxi drivers is therefore determined by many restrictions, and often enough by passengers in a hurry who urge the driver to exceed the speed limit. Maybe the next time you take a taxi you will think about it and do it differently. And if a taxi stands in front of you in the second row to drop off passengers, don't be angry: mutual consideration is required, and elderly people or inmates with a lot of luggage are especially grateful if they can get off directly at their destination.

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