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Borough to clamp down on overcharging taxi drivers

A clampdown on some taxi drivers the council believes are overcharging customers has been started by the borough.

A council report has found that customer complaints and ‘test purchasing operations’ have suggested some hackney carriage drivers are overcharging their passengers.

Those drivers would either charge more than the set tariff for journeys within the borough, or use the wrong tariff.

Members of the council’s Licensing Panel decided on Tuesday to approve new measures the council hopes will prevent a driver from overcharging after test purchases found five out of seven fares had been incorrect.

Council leader Cllr Simon Dudley told panel members he had received complaints from residents that they were being overcharged or a hackney carriage driver had refused to quote a fair.

“It seems to be extremely prevalent around the night time economy in Windsor and getting back to Maidenhead,” he said.

“Very much, as I saw it, the exploitation in particular of younger members of the community, who are out having a good time in the evening when maybe they’ve had a few drinks and are a bit vulnerable and they just need to get home.”

He added that he believed the ‘vast majority’ of drivers are ‘totally honest’.

The borough’s regulations state that for journeys wholly within the Royal Borough, hackney carriage drivers cannot refuse a fare without reasonable excuse and must use tariffs set by the council.

One tariff is for during the day and the other is a 50 per cent higher rate for night and bank holiday fares.

Journeys which start inside the Royal Borough but end outside can be charged more provided the price is agreed at the start of the trip, and there is no legal obligation for the driver to accept the fare.

A consultation on making taximeters compulsory for hackney carriages and penalising drivers who refuse to take a fare without a reasonable excuse will be run. Other penalties for infringements will also be consulted on.

The consultation, which will take the views of people in the trade, will be held over four weeks. Changes can then be approved by councillors.

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