Limerick taxi driver who ‘asked passenger for hug’ among complaints to regulator

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Overcharging accounted for nearly half of complaints to taxi regulator

Overcharging accounted for nearly half of complaints to taxi regulator

A TAXI driver who asked for a hug upon completing a journey was one of 28 Limerick drivers to be complained to the authorities last year.

Almost half of all complaints regarding taxi drivers in Limerick last year, however, related to overcharging.

The behaviour of drivers and the refusal of some to take passengers on their requested journeys formed much of the rest of the complaints, made to the National Transport Authority (NTA).

According to the NTA,  one passenger complained that a driver “asked for a hug” having arrived at their destination, while another complained  that a driver threw water at passengers after they had gotten out of the vehicle. 

In that case, the driver has since apologised for his behaviour.

The NTA has confirmed a number of small public service vehicle (SPSV) drivers were fined for overcharging while others were cautioned or given advice about their behaviour. 

Figures released to this newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act show the NTA received 28 complaints via its website during 2018 under Section 64 of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013. 

Several of the complainants alleged that drivers had deliberately taken a longer route than necessary while others expressed concerns relating the accuracy of the meter and the fare being charged.

“The driver tried to charge me €15.60 for an €11-€12 trip. He demanded a two euro surcharge. When I asked for a receipt, he refused,” stated one complaint.

The poor condition of vehicles was another bugbear of complainants.

Each of the complaints were investigated and a ten drivers were subsequently given Fixed Charge Penalty Notices for breaching the revelevant regulations.

A further five drivers were cautioned by NTA inspectors while four were given advice relating to their conduct and behaviour.

The NTA says a number of the complaints did not result in any action being taken as the complainant failed to follow through with investigators.

Complaints

Pedestrian blocked: A taxi driver parked across the pedestrian crossing, completely blocking my way. I asked the driver to move the car. He refused. At this point a traffic warden told him to move. He did move. I asked the taxi driver for his name, which he refused to give. I contacted Gardai. They attended. They told me to contact the NTA to make a complaint.

Complaint upheld, fixed payment notice issued

Overcharged: I noticed his meter wasn’t even on and he decided to take us. He told us the fare would be €4.50 per person when we got in. Which sounded about right considering the cost of the fare is normally around €20 from after 8pm. I was expecting it to be slightly more than that so that sounded fine. The fare was €26. I told him that he couldn’t do that and just make up his own fare and charge per person and not by the meter.

Complaint upheld, two fixed payment notices issued