Mytaxi app users to be charged €2 extra from today
Customers of taxi booking app Mytaxi are set to be charged an extra €2 from today, it has been confirmed.
Passengers will have their fares increased as the team behind the app said this money previously came out of their drivers' incomes.
But the cost increase for taxi users has got a cool reception from the Consumer Association of Ireland, which said it would mean a rise in travel costs for the public.
The Mytaxi app operators sent out an email to customers yesterday evening announcing the introduction of the booking charge for members of the public.
The company said in the email to customers: "The €2 booking fee is an industry-standard fee charged by all taxi providers in Ireland. In the past, we've asked Mytaxi drivers to discount this fee for our customers.
"From Thursday the 21st of September 2017, to align with taxi industry standards, we're no longer requesting that drivers discount the €2 booking fee."
In a further statement, Mytaxi said the fees were set by the National Transport Authority. It said there was an initial meter charge of €3.60 or €4 depending on what time of day it was.
After that the fare is calculated by either the distance travelled or if the speed drops below a certain level, then by the journey time.
There is a €1 additional cost per passenger, plus the €2 fare that was previously deducted from drivers.
Michael Kilcoyne, vice-chairman of the Consumer Association of Ireland, said last night that the new cost for taxi passengers using the app would be unacceptable as it made travel more expensive.
"Very few customers were aware that they were being discounted €2 in the past," said Mr Kilcoyne.
He said that customers may not have been informed in the past that they were receiving a discount in the form of a waived booking fee.
"If it means that taxis are going to be increased by €2 per journey, I would say to the customers to shop around," said Mr Kilcoyne.
"If these guys are now charging this, maybe others are not charging it, so customers should shop around.
"If it's €2 per journey, then that's an extra €2 into town and another €2 out of town. That's €4.
"That's almost the same amount that the old-age pension went up last year."
Mr Kilcoyne said the hike in costs of journeys for Mytaxi customers would particularly affect people of slender means.
"Many of the people who rely on taxis are elderly people of small means who are on fixed incomes such as pensions," he said.
"One would wonder that in giving these discounts in the past, why weren't they promoting that and advertising that more widely? It comes as a surprise to me that they had been giving a discount."
Attempts to contact Mytaxi for comment last night were unsuccessful.