herald

Friday 20 September 2019

610 taxi gripes include 'very sticky seats' and roaring drivers

A busy Dublin taxi rank
A busy Dublin taxi rank

Complaints about sticky seats, an "unpleasant smell" and an "absolutely filthy" taxi were just some of the 610 complaints made concerning taxis in the first six months of this year.

New figures provided by the National Transport Authority (NTA) show the largest number of complaints, at 229, concerned taxi driver behaviour.

A further 214 complaints were made in relation to overcharging and other fare matters; 128 in relation to hiring and booking taxis; and 36 in relation to the condition and cleanliness of taxis.

A further three complaints gave the total of 610, which compares to 629 complaints for the corresponding period of last year.

One of the complaints released in response to a Freedom of Information request concerned a driver who did not provide the option of accepting a fare by credit card.

The passenger said the driver, "made me go alone to an ATM, yelled at me and made me pay two more euro because, 'I made him waste time'."

In response, the NTA issued the taxi driver with a fine for failing to offer a receipt.

In March, in a complaint concerning driver behaviour, a 20-year-old girl and three of her friends got into a taxi.

Dirty

"I am using my mobile phone, which the driver suddenly grabs out of my hand," she said.

"He holds my phone out the window as if to throw it, at which point I reach over and grab it back.

"The driver laughed, and I said: 'I know it was a joke but I don't think it was very funny'."

Another passenger in January of this year complained that she "felt very dirty coming out of this vehicle".

"I was deeply shocked... on entering the vehicle as to the level of unkemptness by the appearance of the driver and the vehicle itself. The seats were very sticky," she said.

The complaint was not proceeded with as there was no evidence of any offence.

In February, another passenger complained "the vehicle was old and torn up. I felt every bump". As a result, advice was given to the driver and the vehicle was inspected.

Another passenger wrote: "There was an extremely unpleasant smell in the car.

"It was so bad we travelled with the windows down, even though it is winter. The driver's clothes were dirty and the car had not been cleaned for some time." The NTA imposed a fine over the state of the car.

In June, a passenger wrote: "Car was absolutely filthy. Driver provides no leg room. Said he needed the leg room. Full of white hair, dirty tissues."

The response was that advice was given to the driver.

In an overcharging complaint, a customer said that a taxi driver "played the fool".

The customer said the driver took the long way to the destination, with the fare costing €38 when it usually costs €25.

They said Google Maps showed there were roadworks on the M50, and the driver pretended to be surprised about this. The NTA imposed a fine for failing to offer a receipt.

In total, the NTA has imposed 820 fines totalling €25,900 on drivers who have contravened regulations during the period.

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