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Dublin: 1 °C Wednesday 17 January, 2018
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Taxi driver 'in need of a shower' prompted one of 998 complaints last year

New figures provided by the NTA show that the complaints by passengers about taxis climbed by 7.5% to 998 last year.

A SMELLY TAXI driver in desperate need of a shower and another allergic to dogs were just two taxi drivers subject to just under 1,000 complaints by the public to the National Transport Authority (NTA) last year.

New figures provided by the NTA show that the complaints by passengers about taxis climbed by 7.5% to 998 last year.

During the same period, the amount taxi-drivers paid out in fines or Fixed Charge Penalty Notices (FCPN) ranging from €40 to €250 to the NTA as a result of breaches increased by 38% from €40,465 to €56,005.

This arose from the number of fines imposed on taxi drivers by the NTA increasing by 59% going from 692 to 1,099.

Complaints

An earlier FOI released to TheJournal.ie showed that up to October, 797 complaints had been received.

In one complaint received in August, concerning driver conduct, a man wrote about an incident in which a taxi driver allegedly became aggressive and broke an iPhone.

Figures

shutterstock_45080 Source: Shutterstock/Alphalight Pro Stock

The figures released by the NTA in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request which show that the largest proportion of complaints in 2016 related to driver behaviour at 444 with 348 complaints relating to ‘fares matters’ along with an additional 172 concerning ‘hiring matters’

Another 34 concern the condition of taxis and one of the those complaints stated that the taxi-driver was “in desperate need of a shower and something to clean the car”.

The complainant wrote that the taxi was battered “and the smell inside the car was frankly disgusting”.

Another passenger complained about an ‘extremely filthy’ taxi with “a layer of dust on the dashboard and a very strong smell of smoke”. That driver was fined by the NTA due to the state of the taxi.

In relation to one other driver, a passenger complained to the NTA about being subjected to “an unexpected barrage of abuse and swearing” from a taxi driver.

The passenger said: “It came out of the blue and I was shocked. I have no idea what caused it, but such a foul mouth and total uncalled-for abuse and swearing is beyond belief.”

The passenger said that the driver needs to be taken off the road and said: “Imagine a tourist being met with such abuse?”.

The passenger suspected “this individual is part of the city’s criminal or underworld scene – it just felt like it”.

In the case, the driver was fined by the NTA after admitting to using foul language.

Dishonest

A female passenger hit out at the ‘sickening and shocking dishonesty’ of a taxi-driver who brought her from George’s Street to Shankill.

She said that her date unbeknownst to her gave the taxi-driver €20 as she was getting into the taxi and she was charged €30 for the trip. She said that after handing over €50, the taxi-driver gave her back €20 and never mentioned receiving the €20 from her date.

She said: “The taxi driver completely took advantage of my date’s kind gesture and my unawareness of it. I think this is truly awful behaviour.”

Another passenger complained over a taxi-driver who refused the fare after stating that he would not take a guide-dog into his taxi as he was allergic to dogs.

The passenger explained to him that he had to carry a guide dog but the taxi driver refused and he was fined €40 by the NTA.

The NTA records another complaint from a man that a taxi-driver knocked an iPhone out of the hand of his wife and smashed it on the ground after she tried to take a photo of his details. The NTA state that the matter is under investigation by the Gardai.

Read: From alleged aggression to dog allergies: Why people complain about taxi drivers

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Gordon Deegan

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