Fair Fares

The Taxi Regulation Act 2013 (Maximum Fares) Order 2015 came into operation on 30th April 2015.  The National Transport Authority introduced this Order to fix the maximum fares that can be charged by the driver of a taxi within Ireland.  Section 24 of the Taxi Regulation Act 2013 permitted the Authority to introduce such an Order but the Order has only now been brought into effect.
The Order provides that there are three rates of charges; standard, premium and special which should be displayed in the rate/tariff window as rates 1, 2 and 3 respectively.  The standard rate applies from 8 am to 8 pm Monday to Saturday.  The premium rate applies from 8 pm to 8 am Monday to Saturday.  It also applies all day Sunday and all day in relation to public holidays (except Christmas and New Year).  The special rate applies from 8 pm Christmas Eve to 8 am St Stephen’s Day and 8 pm New Year’s Eve to 8 am New Year’s day.
There is a schedule in the Order which sets out the initial charge depending on which rate applies and outlines how the charge increases depending on distance and time.  The initial charges are as follows;
Standard rate – €3.60
Premium rate – €4.00
Special rate – €4.00
The Order also provides for extra metered charges where applicable.  These include a booking fee of €2.00 and an additional passenger charge of €1.00.  This latter charge applies to each adult passenger after the first.  Also, after the first free child, a charge of €1.00 applies to the next two to three children under 12 years of age.  If a passenger uses a credit or debit card, the charge is not to exceed the actual cost borne by the operator to accept such payments up to a maximum of 5%.  When necessary, a taxi driver can request a soiling charge.  This is the reasonable cost of remedying the soiling up to a maximum of €140.  The Order also makes it clear that any toll charges (in accordance with a toll scheme adopted by a road authority under the Roads Act 1993) can be charged as incurred.
The Order contains a table which outlines the various tariffs and how they are calculated in accordance with distance and time allowances.  It also specifies the point at which tariffs can increase depending on the length and cost of the journey.  The new fares represent a reduction in the initial hiring charge accompanied by a reduction in the distance and time included in the charge.  This means that the meter will start to increment after 500 metres (1,000 metres previously) or 85 seconds (170 seconds previously).  The table can be accessed in the Taxi Regulation Act 2013 (Maximum Fares) Order 2015 at www.irishstatutebook.ie
If a taxi driver charges or attempts to charge a fare for a hire that is greater than the maximum fare that may be calculated under the Maximum Fares Order, he/she commits an offence and is liable on conviction in the District Court to a Class B fine.  A Class B fine is a fine not exceeding €4,000.
Going forward, any passenger in a taxi should ensure that the correct rate is displayed in the taxi depending on the day and time of the journey.