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Sunday 27 May 2018

Smelly taxi among 1,000 complaints about drivers

One passenger complained over a taxi-driver who said he would not take a guide dog into his taxi as he was allergic to dogs. (Stock picture)
One passenger complained over a taxi-driver who said he would not take a guide dog into his taxi as he was allergic to dogs. (Stock picture)

Gordon Deegan

A stinking taxi driver in desperate need of a shower and another who was allergic to dogs were cited among almost 1,000 complaints by the public to the National Transport Authority (NTA).

New figures from the NTA show complaints by passengers about taxis climbed by 7.5pc to 998 last year.

During the same period, the amount taxi drivers paid out in fines, or Fixed Charge Penalty Notices ranging from €40 to €250, to the NTA as a result of breaches increased by 38pc, from €40,465 to €56,005.

This arose from the number of fines imposed on taxi drivers by the NTA increasing by 59pc, going from 692 to 1,099.

The figures, released by the NTA in response to a Freedom of Information request, show that the largest proportion of complaints in 2016 related to driver behaviour at 444, with 348 complaints relating to 'fares matters' along with an additional 172 concerning 'hiring matters'.

One passenger complained over a taxi-driver who said he would not take a guide dog into his taxi as he was allergic to dogs.

The passenger explained to him that he had to carry a guide dog but the taxi driver refused the fare and was later fined €40 by the NTA.

A further 34 complaints concerned the condition of taxis. One stated that the taxi-driver was "in desperate need of a shower and something to clean the car".

The complainant wrote that the taxi was battered "and the smell inside the car was frankly disgusting".

Another passenger complained about an "extremely filthy" taxi with "a layer of dust on the dashboard and a very strong smell of smoke". That driver was fined by the NTA due to the state of the taxi.

In relation to one other driver, a passenger complained to the NTA about being subjected to "an unexpected barrage of abuse and swearing" from the taxi driver.

The passenger said: "It came out of the blue and I was shocked. I have no idea what caused it, but such a foul mouth and total uncalled-for abuse and swearing is beyond belief."

In the case, the driver was fined by the NTA after admitting to using foul language.

Irish Independent

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