Crackdown on dodgy taxi driver tactic costing passengers

The new technology will make it harder for taxi drivers to disregard the meter.

A taximeter showing a passenger owes $468.06 after he fell asleep (left) and a white taxi can be seen (right).
The new technology links payment terminals to taxi meters so dodgy drivers can't overcharge passengers. Source: TikTok and Getty

It will become increasingly more difficult for taxi drivers to overcharge passengers as a new technology is being rolled out on Wednesday — a move welcomed by industry leaders.

The country's largest taxi payment provider, Cabcharge, is introducing new technology which will link cab drivers' payment terminals with their meters. Under the current system the two are not connected, meaning dishonest drivers can simply disregard the distance and accrued fee on the meter and input an exorbitant fee on the payment terminal to charge passengers.

The crackdown has been approved by Australia's most extensive taxi network which includes operators such as 13cabs, Silver Service and Black & White Cabs. All taxis that use the technology will be encouraged to display a sticker which reads, 'We proudly accept Cabcharge'.

The rollout of the technology aims to minimise the number of drivers behaving dishonestly at the expense of passengers and it is the latest in the crackdown against dodgy taxi practices, with penalties recently increasing too.

In NSW the penalty for taxi drivers overcharging passengers increased from $300 to $1,000 last year while in Queensland taxi drivers face up to $3,096 or are issued a penalty infringement of $309.

Speaking to 2GB on Monday, the CEO of NSW Taxi Council said the technology was "welcomed news" which will help to strengthen customer trust with taxi drivers and the industry more broadly.

"We want people, whether they're going to a sporting event or a concert or whatever it is, not even to worry about the transport issues. We want them to go out and make sure they're having a good time," Nick Abrahim said.

He pointed out the majority of taxi drivers do the right thing but for the the few who don't, this change will help to stamp out dodgy practices that tarnish the reputation of the industry.

"The majority of drivers are out there, they want to do the right thing they want to look after passengers, but we know there are a handful of those drivers that unfortunately think they can flout the law and get away from it... [this] sends a strong message to that handful of drivers."

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