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Driving an unregistered car and overcharging: Increase in number of complaints about taxis

The most common complaints were about driver behaviour and issues with fares.

File Photo Should taxi drivers here have to take an English language test. The NTA is asking that question. File photo Source: Wanderley Massafelli/RollingNews.ie

THE NATIONAL TRANSPORT Authority (NTA) generally receives more than 1,000 complaints about taxis every year.

As of the end of November, the NTA had received 1,163 – more than the 1,146 received for the entirety of 2017.

The number of complaints has been increasing in recent years – up from 998 in 2016 and 928 in 2015.

The complaints received about taxis were about driver behaviour (474), vehicle condition (46), hiring matters (222), fare matters (418) and identification (3; location and content of logos, stickers or ads).

taxis Source: NTA

As of the end of October, most of the examined complaints were not proceeded with as there was no response from the complainant (285) or the diver was given advice (193). In 24 cases, the complaint was referred to gardaí. 

taxi outcomes Source: NTA

A selection of the complaints, released by the NTA to TheJournal.ie, can be read below.

Driver behaviour

Complaint: “The drive down the quays to the petrol station was uneventful. He asked me if it was ok to stop for petrol and I said it was fine, he stopped the meter and that was fine. On leaving the petrol station he pulled across the path of another taxi and there was much beeping and flashing of lights from both cars.

“I have just found out on the taxi checker app that he is driving an unregistered cab! I wasn’t going to complain until I found out this. I usually get the Nitelink home but I was treating myself to a taxi to get home quickly.”

Outcome: Fixed Payment Notice – Driver failed to notify NTA of vehicle being operate.

Complaint: “I handed the driver a €20 note. The driver stated that he did not have any change to give me. He stopped the fare and decided he would bring us to a shop in order for him to get change.

The driver was in possession of the €20 note that I had handed to him earlier. He entered the store to get change and returned to the vehicle. He stated that “I am not a bank” and “you should have my accurate money”.

“The driver stopped the vehicle at our destination and handed me €8. I informed the taxi driver that the correct change was in fact €8.40. With this, he opened the rear passenger door and proceeded to lift the rear passenger seat looking for small change.

“The driver eventually gave me the correct change and the journey was complete.”

Outcome: Not proceeded with – No response from complainant when contacted.

Complaint: “We queued at the taxi rank. 4-6 males got into a car that pulled up and the driver had a discussion with them and then they got out again and walked away from the queue.

“The driver in question instead of pulling to the top of the queue pulled to the back and took people who had been queuing less of a wait time. We argued with both the passengers and then also the driver (when he rolled his window down) and I pointed out he had not followed standard taxi rules in picking up the first passenger in the queue.”

Outcome: Not proceeded with- No evidence of any offence.

Vehicle condition

Complaint: “The car was in a bad condition, all the lights were on in board like “check engine light” and others, the car was making strange noises and inside was very dirty and it had an extremely bad smell of cigarettes.”

Outcome: Advice given to licence holder – Vehicle had undergone repairs immediately after incident.

Complaint: “Smelly car, had to have window open on a cold day. Dog hair (I think) on seats.”

Outcome: Not proceeded with – No response from complainant to assist in the identification of the vehicle.

Complaint: “Hired the vehicle from the taxi rank. The vehicle was shabby externally with significant wear and tear to paintwork and visible dents to panels.

“The interior of the vehicle was filthy; heavy staining on dashboard and seating. The boot was also cluttered.”

Outcome: Fixed Payment Notice – Vehicle failed to meet required standard.

Complaint: First of all seatbelts in back seat were not accessible, back seat covers were ripped and filthy dirty and car was generally dirty.

Outcome: Advice given to licence holder- Seatbelts accessible but seat covers were replaced.

Fare matters 

Complaint: “We had 3 passengers. My friend tried to tell him which way to go but he wasn’t listening to us and kept ignoring us. I got dropped off.

“When he pulled up he said “the fare is on your card” and tried to block the meter from me. When I said “50 euro, seriously? ” he started raising his voice and saying the journey was long and that is correct.

I felt intimidated by myself so I just left it. I spoke to several drivers i know and even checked the fare estimate on your website and it all said it was nowhere near 50 euro.

Outcome: Not proceeded with – Complainant unwilling to pursue matter; had also complained to taxi company and fare was part-refunded.

Complaint: “Taxi stopped for me, I sat in, he asked where I was going. I said X, he said it’ll be €17. I told him it’s not, the meter will tell him how much it is, he claimed the meter wasn’t working tonight and that he’s estimating prices himself.

“I told him that he shouldn’t be out working if his meter isn’t working. He drove me home, extremely quickly, no lights, no traffic so I imagine it would have cost a lot less than €12 or €15. I still gave him the €15 and took his number down.”

Outcome: Fixed Payment Notice – Failure to operate taxi meter while on hire.

Complaint: “Requested a taxi to go to the airport [that was] able to accept credit cards, the driver agreed and accepted the service. Once we got to the airport the payment terminal did not work, therefore I had to go into the terminal, got the fare and paid in cash.

Outcome: Fixed Payment Notice – Failure to print and offer a receipt.

Hiring matters 

Complaint: “Driver stopped. Asked where I was going. Took off when I said the [name of the] road. Obviously too short a journey.”

Outcome: Not proceeded with – No response from complainant when contacted.

Complaint: “This man was waiting at the rank and refused to bring us because he said “we could walk”, so we asked again if he would bring us or not and he got angry so we had to leave the taxi. I told him I was taking down his number and then he said he didn’t care.”

Outcome: Fixed Payment Notice – Unreasonable refusal.

Complaint: “Taxi driver denied service despite having light on and taxi empty. After pointing at his light, he turned it off, drove off and then turned it back on.”

Outcome: Fixed Payment Notice – Unreasonable refusal.

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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