Monday, 26 November 2007

Taxi Regulator issues details of complaints

All I can say is "keep complaining", it's the only way to clear out rogue drivers.

There was 650 complaints made against taxi drivers in the first 10 months of this year. This compares with 145 between late September and December 31 last year, when the regulator started taking complaints.

Most complaints this year related to the conduct or behaviour of a driver, of which 293 were made. These include allegations of of aggressive behaviour and use of bad language, or driving in a dangerous manner.

Another 225 complaints were made about fares, including being overcharged or failure to turn on the meter.

On "matters relating to the hiring of a public service vehicle", 97 complaints were received. These relate to pre-booked taxis not showing up, or drivers taking longer routes to get to destinations.

Finally, 35 complaints were made about the condition and cleanliness of vehicles. The Regulator also revealed that 58 complaints were referred to the gardai and Office of Tobacco Control, which deals with smoking in the workplace. Taxi drivers are not allowed to smoke in their vehicles. Enforcement officers are entitled to issue on-the-spot fines for non-compliance .

There are over 23,500 public service vehicles -- which include taxis, hackneys and limousines -- operating in the Republic.

"Overall, the commission believes that the vast majority of the industry operates to very high standards, however the commission is committed to enforcing full compliance with the small public service vehicles legislation to promote consumer safety and confidence," a spokesman said.

"The commission also believes it is essential in the interests of consumer confidence, comfort and safety that all public service vehicles be required to meet the same high standards and operate in the same manner.

The level of complaints was welcomed by Tommy Gorman of the National Taxi Drivers Union, who said that enforcement was the only way to rid the industry of rogue operators.

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