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Wednesday 20 September 2017

'A ridiculous waste of time and money' - Maia Dunphy's ongoing dispute with taxi driver who refused her fare

Taxi driver claimed that her buggy was too big for his car

Maia Dunphy Photo: Robbie Reynolds Photography
Maia Dunphy Photo: Robbie Reynolds Photography

Claire Fox

BROADCASTER Maia Dunphy has said she is willing to go to court in a long-running dispute with a taxi driver who, she alleges, didn't want to take her fare because he guessed she was only going a small distance.

The taxi driver refused to take her, claiming her child's buggy wouldn't fit in the car.

Ms Dunphy reported the driver to the Taxi Regulator, and the taxi man persisted with his claim that the buggy wouldn't fit into this car.

Writing on a blog post on TheMword.ie yesterday, she revealed: "He said he was 100% sure the buggy wouldn’t fit in his boot, so didn’t even get out of the car and try, as he claimed he wanted to spare me the hassle of struggling to fold the buggy in the rain (NB: it wasn’t raining)."

She said: "The regulator asked me to send photos and dimensions of the buggy (which fits in my Mum’s Nissan Micra by the way, and this taxi was a big saloon style car). They then told me that I may “have to come face to face with him again for a reconstruction” and it “may end up in court” if he disputed it.

"A reconstruction? Court? What was this, an episode of Silent Witness?? Every step of the way, I felt they were trying to make it sound more hassle than it was worth, but I persisted on principle," she wrote. 

"The long and short of it was, they decided he was at fault, had refused me service unreasonably and would be issued with a fine. I was pleased. I’d made my point and hopefully he wouldn’t turn down a hassled mother again, just because he guessed by her bags of shopping that she was only a short fare (which is clearly what happened)."

However, it didn't end there.

Ms Dunphy wrote yesterday that the driver has refused to pay the fine and that the Taxi Regulator informed her yesterday that she would need to be prepared to take the case to court.

"I wasn’t sure what this had to do with me, as it was their department who had found him to be at fault and issued the fine, but he said that it would result in it being taken further and would I be prepared to go to court? ," she stated.

She continued: "I honestly don’t think it’s right that this driver clearly thinks if he just ignores it for long enough it will go away, and that there’s no way I’d risk it ending up in court. Well he was wrong. If it does end up in court, it will be a RIDICULOUS waste of time and money, but I bet when he hears I’m not walking away, he will just pay the damn fine (which I believe is only €80)." 

In a statement to Independent.ie, the Taxi Regulator said: "Unpaid fines under the Taxi Regulation Act, in line with other legal fines, proceed to a District Court prosecution to have a judge decide on the merits of the fine and convict the accused of the criminal offence or not as the case may be.

"It follows the principle of innocent until proven guilty. Just as a private citizen can dispute a fine in court so may a taxi driver.

"Any witnesses would be expected to attend court to give evidence of the facts of the matter, so that the judge can make his or her decision after hearing both sides."

Ms Dunphy declined to comment further.

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