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Taxi fare issue

By ozmackem - 17 November 2009 38

My elderly mother was at Belconnen Mall a few days ago, and after missing her bus home became a little overwhelmed by the heat and decided to get a taxi home.
The taxi was from the mall to Flynn and she was charged $70. I don’t travel very often by taxi myself, but know that this fare must be a lot more than it should be.
We’ve suggested she take a taxi whenever she feels the need, but in her two years in Australia this is the first time she has felt she had to. She’s on a UK pension which equates to around $270 a week, so I can’t see this episode pursuading her to use cabs more often. I have emailled Canberra Elite to politely enquire how this fare could have been charged, but have had no reply.
Anywhere else I can pursue this?

What’s Your opinion?


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38 Responses to
Taxi fare issue
p1 12:04 pm 17 Nov 09

Are taxis able to issue receipts, as a general rule? I assume that they are, as a fair bit of taxi travel is for business purposes? I think in the future I will just ask for one no matter what.

CapitalK 10:50 am 17 Nov 09

If the lady was in the cab the length of time it took to rack up $70 – that would be quite some time.
For example – Gundaroo to Gungahlin after 10pm on the weekend – cost $70 (including a stop off at the servo)
I am just saying that the driver would have had to do a lot of driving to rack up a $70 fare.
In any case – write to the taxi company as you have done, at the very least you need to include the date and time as well as pick up and destination – as mentioned the taxi number would also be super helpful.

icantbelieveitsnotbu 10:29 am 17 Nov 09

hellspice said :

it may have been an honest mistake, all taxi drivers are new to the country they are struggling to get a drivers licence, cant speak english and have never seen currency before let alone Australian currency, i caught a cab the other week and had to ask the driver twice to stay on the left side of the road and not drive in the middle. At least your mum got home safe. You have to keep in mind the poor taxis in Canberra are the hardest done by service ever !!

No excuse… if they can’t perform the service then they should have their licenses removed and undertake further training. As for the comment of $17 versus $70… the cabbie should have noted the mistake an returned the difference. All in all… bad for the poor lady who was taken advantage of.

prhhcd 9:54 am 17 Nov 09

Mall to Fraser is $12 off peak and $17 during peak. So she should have payed somewhere in th emiddle there. Contact the Chronicle – they will run the story about how your mother was ripped off. Bad publicity is what you need here. Good luck!

Postalgeek 9:50 am 17 Nov 09

phototext said :

I can bet the driver didn’t put $70 down in the book and pocketed the excess.

If the driver is doing this on a regular basis then the tax office may be interested in their undeclared income.

I’m sure the police would be just as interested in taxis ripping off pensioners. I don’t know how modern taxis work, but I assume the date and destination address would be logged? If you can provide the taxi company/TAMS with those details (and the police) you should be able to narrow the search for the driver and ensure he’ll only ever be a passenger in a taxi.

hellspice said :

it may have been an honest mistake, all taxi drivers are new to the country they are struggling to get a drivers licence, cant speak english and have never seen currency before let alone Australian currency, i caught a cab the other week and had to ask the driver twice to stay on the left side of the road and not drive in the middle. At least your mum got home safe. You have to keep in mind the poor taxis in Canberra are the hardest done by service ever !!

Honest mistake my arse. Coulter Dr-> Ginninderra Dr-> Kingsford Smith Dr-> Flynn. How do you screw that up? Dual lane and two to three suburbs away. He’d only need to drive a few fares to know exactly what he’s charging. No-one’s looking to hammer honest taxi drivers, but corruption (or costly gross incompetence at best) in any service needs to be resoundingly crushed and ground into a greasy smear on the cement.

sepi 9:31 am 17 Nov 09

Maybe it was 17 and she misheard 70 and paid it – you should definitely follow this up with someone – the police maybe? Or an ombudsman? Or Consumer Voice in the Canberra Times.

Australian citizens who are elderly and infirm can get 1/2 price taxis after being medically assessed. I’m not sure if she will qualify for this if she is english, but might also be worth checking into.

You could also get her a cabcharge book, and at least this way you will have receipts for all her costs, and you can chase them up. but do always keep cabcharge receipts – some dodgy dealings go on with those too.

Skyring 9:26 am 17 Nov 09

I wouldn’t be quite so quick off the mark here, guys. Was it seventy dollars the cabbie said? Or seventeen? I’m also prepared to believe that your elderly mother, unused to taxi fares since they changed to decimal currency, said to you in an outraged, overcharged tone, “I was charged SEVENTEEN dollars,” and it was heard by you as SEVENTY, because around Canberra, seventeen dollars isn’t something to put an outraged tone of voice into. Not unless you are going from the main City rank to Braddon McDonalds, and we wouldn’t do that to a poor cabbie, would we?

Having said that, if your mother was charged $70 to go from the Mall to Flynn, then she was definitely ript off. Could be hard to get any sort of remedy if she didn’t note the number of the cab.

Something you should always do when you get in a cab, BTW. I’ve learnt this lesson myself; I got in a cab at SFO a couple of weeks back, had a pleasant cab ride into Fort Mason, and when we got there and the cab was gone, my traveling companion said, “Where’s my watch?” and we realised she’d taken her watch off in the cab and not put it back on or retrieved it. We rang Yellow Cabs – weren’t sure if it was even Yellow Cabs – and gave the details, but of course we never heard anything more. Lucky it was only a cheap plastic watch, but still…

Write down the taxi number. You might forget something, you might get a bad experience, and, may the cabbie gods smile on you, you might get a good trip. Whatever, it might be something you want to share with the taxi company, the police, the general public, and if you have that vital piece f information it’s just a matter of looking at the computer to see who was driving that cab at that time and what their GPS-tracked movements were. Possibly the security camera footage can be downloaded if there was anything untoward.

Or, if you think you are being ripped off, then get out your mobile phone or camera, hit “Video Record” and ask the driver to explain the fare into it. I would dearly love to see cabbies who aren’t doing the right thing booted out of the business, because they are not just ripping off their passengers, they are cheating other cabbies as well. Cabbies like me, and I love helping little old ladies, because it makes me feel useful.

astrojax 9:16 am 17 Nov 09

muFasa said :

Contact Fair Trading or the Ombudsman – it’s not right to take advantage of the elderly!

or anyone!

hellspice 8:56 am 17 Nov 09

it may have been an honest mistake, all taxi drivers are new to the country they are struggling to get a drivers licence, cant speak english and have never seen currency before let alone Australian currency, i caught a cab the other week and had to ask the driver twice to stay on the left side of the road and not drive in the middle. At least your mum got home safe. You have to keep in mind the poor taxis in Canberra are the hardest done by service ever !!

phototext 8:18 am 17 Nov 09

“Looking at the site, it may be that they only reply to written complaints and are not legally obliged to acknowledge or reply to emails.”

Scrap that, taking a better look it includes complaints in the drop down.

Here is the TAMS taxi complaints info page.

http://www.tams.act.gov.au/move/public_transport/taxi_services_and_information/complaints

muFasa 8:10 am 17 Nov 09

Contact Fair Trading or the Ombudsman – it’s not right to take advantage of the elderly!

phototext 8:09 am 17 Nov 09

$70 !

Very dodgy.

Sounds like the driver saw an opportunity to rip off an elderly passenger who may be suffering from the heat.

I can bet the driver didn’t put $70 down in the book and pocketed the excess.

If the driver is doing this on a regular basis then the tax office may be interested in their undeclared income.

Looking at the site, it may be that they only reply to written complaints and are not legally obliged to acknowledge or reply to emails.

Written complaints can be mailed to Complaints at Aerial Capital Group Ltd PO Box 1233, Fyshwick 2609.

Perhaps TAMs has info on complaint procedures on taxi drivers.

A very low act.

OverreACT 8:05 am 17 Nov 09

That is a complete rip off. It is definately no more than roughly $20!

How dare they take advantage of an elderly patron.

I know I have been in a cab before and they switch the meter off straight away as soon as we get to the destination and I have noticed it would say something like $25.65 and they would say oh that’s $31.65 or something.

LaLa 7:24 am 17 Nov 09

According to the Canberra Elite website (www.canberracabs.com.au) this fare should have cost under $20 (see below). Sadly, it seems like your Mum has been ripped off. I would suggest logging an official complaint with Elite, if you get no joy I would pursue it through other avenues (possibly Fair Trading or ACCC, I am not too sure).

Good luck

Taxi Fare Calculator

Rate 1 : $15.43
6am-9pm M-F excl. public holidays.

Rate 2 : $17.07
all other times.

Belconnen to Flynn, Approx 6.30 kms

Eby 7:14 am 17 Nov 09

That definitely doesn’t sound right – perhaps rather than emailing you could try phoning the taxi company?

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