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'His terrible jokes weren't worth the extra cash': Here are Ireland's complaints against its taxi drivers

Almost 500 complaints were made to the NTA between November 2015 and April of this year.

File Photo Three taxi drivers who challenged the deregulation of the taxi market in 2000 have lost their case in the High Court. The drivers argued that the sudden deregulation of the market had reduced the value of taxi plates from almost 100,000 euro to Source: Wanderley Massafelli/RollingNews.ie

IN 2015 THERE were more than 900 complaints made to the National Transport Authority (NTA) about taxi drivers.

Out of these, more than half (491) related to the behaviour or conduct of the driver.

It is worth noting that with almost 20,000 taxis and hackney cabs in operation around the country, the overwhelming majority of customer-driver interactions would appear to be cordial and friendly affairs.

However, when things become frayed, the NTA has an online system that makes it easy for the public to vent their spleen.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, information has been released to TheJournal.ie showing what upset taxi customers between October of last year and April of this year.

In this period there were 497 complaints made, and here are just a few of them…

Back in April, one woman felt that she had been shortchanged by her taxi driver.

Fare came to around €16. Gave him €20. He gave me loads of 10/20c coins and apologised for the shrapnel. After I got out I counted the change which came to €2.40. Not the end of the world but that’s not his decision to make. His terrible jokes weren’t worth the extra cash.”

Nothing ultimately came of this complaint as no evidence of an offence could be produced.

3/10/2012. New Taxi Signs Source: Laura Hutton/RollingNews.ie

 

In another complaint made in March one customer had difficulty in trying to hail a taxi on Dublin’s quays.

Last night with a friend we attempted to hail a taxi near the Ha’penny bridge. The driver pulled over for us, but before unlocking the door he asked us where we were going.
When we told him it was Ringsend, he said ‘it will be at least €25′. We both told him we just want to use the meter and when he refused, we told him we would report him. He then cursed at us and put up his middle finger.

This driver was slapped with an €80 fixed penalty notice for refusing a passenger without a good reason.

This complaint made in February was by someone taking a punt on trying to get their change back after accidentally leaving it in a taxi.

Hi, I took a taxi to Heuston this evening. Receipt no is xxxxx and car reg is xxxxxxxx. I realised after getting out of the car that while I took the receipt I forgot to collect my change.
The fare was €8.60 and I paid €20. I would appreciate if you could make contact with the driver and ask him to send €10 to my work address. I am sure it was €20 as I only had €20 and two €50 notes in my wallet.”

There was no outcome to this complaint after the driver in question insisted that he had given the correct change.

Filling out a complaint form on the Transport for Ireland website back in February, one passenger became annoyed after the driver deviated from what they thought was the most direct route.

We asked driver to make an immediate left turn upon entering taxi to take us straight to our destination. The driver refused our advice and drove us into Blackrock. We kept asking driver to stop and let us out since he was taking us in the wrong direction.
He refused to stop. We ultimately stopped in Blackrock and he actually charged us €6.40 for taking us in the wrong direction against our will. We have 2 passengers witnesses and the entire scene was captured on my phone video.

A compliance officer from the National Transport Authority subsequently took a look over the case and found no evidence of an offence.

The driver said that he took a direct route, and that he did not stop when asked as he was in the middle of a roadway, and was continuing until he could stop safely.

File Photo Three taxi drivers who challenged the deregulation of the taxi market in 2000 have lost their case in the High Court. The drivers argued that the sudden deregulation of the market had reduced the value of taxi plates from almost 100,000 euro to Source: James Horan/RollingNews.ie

Back in December of 2015 one individual wrote a complaint after questioning the premium rate they were charged for their taxi fare.

I feel that we were overcharged on our trip. Taxi driver failed to explain how it is that premium rate kicked in at 7.50pm half way through our journey, when it should have started at 8pm. We also seem to have taken a ‘scenic route’, as it was referred to by a different taxi driver on our way back.
My wife and I went to a concert on Friday evening. We found a taxi just outside of our apartment blocks; he was just dropping off somebody. We began our journey at around 7.30pm. We drove through North Circular Road, then onto Phibsborough Road, then through Ballymun.
At 7.50pm I noticed that tariff on the meter was set to premium. When I asked the driver why premium rate started at 7:50pm, I received no clear explanation.
At that point he became very agitated. I stopped further questions and just noted his driver number. The trip cost us €35. While return trip at around 11pm cost us €30 (fully premium rate) and taxi driver has suggested making a complaint as we were clearly overcharged and the used trip route was worse than suboptimal.

This was another incident where a review by the National Transport Authority led to a slap on the wrist for the driver in question.

After being questioned, he offered a partial refund as it was found that he had set his meter to premium 10 minutes early.

shutterstock_350763968 Source: Shutterstock/Michaelpuche

In November of last year a passenger in Cork took issue with the taxi driver’s choice of route.

My mother and I were visiting relatives in Cork and took a taxi from the train station. We asked for Ballinlough, the driver said no problem and we were on our way. Approx 5 to 10 minutes into the journey, I noticed we were going through Ballintemple and asked why, as this would not be the usual route.
He said no problem, no problem, he knew the way, so I assumed there were roadworks or some reason to go this way and left it at that. A few minutes later he started to slow down and ask us the address and I could see we were nowhere near our destination. I said so, but he insisted that it was, then I saw a sign for XXXXXXXXX and repeated XXXXXXX XXXX a couple of times and spelt it for him.
He then seemed to know where it was and set off, but was very argumentative all this time and insisted we had said Ballintemple instead of Ballinlough. When we got to our destination the fare was €14 and I said to him that I thought he should give us a discount as he had taken us to the wrong place, but he was very argumentative, insisting we had made the mistake, not him.
I paid the full fare and told him I would be making a complaint. I can understand that mistakes happen, but I know where my relatives live and don’t think I should have to pay for his.

This particular disagreement ended with the driver being interviewed, and although he denied taking the wrong route, did accept that he’d become argumentative.

The difference in fare was judged to be €2.

Read: Taxi drivers work an average of five hours a day, new study finds

Also: Dodgy tips, aggressive drivers, “smelly” vehicles – taxi complaints went through the roof in the last four years

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