The smell of one ‘extremely dirty’ taxi was ‘horrific’, forcing the passenger to keep the window open during the journey, writes Gordon Deegan.
That is one of 492 complaints received by the National Transport Authority (NTA) for the first six months of this year as the number of taxi complaints soared by 25% on the same period last year.
The sharpest rise in complaints was in relation to the condition of taxis, where the numbers more than doubled, going from 13 to 30 for the six months.
The person who complained about the ‘horrific’ smell in the taxi in April of this year stated that in the same taxi a side panel on the door was missing, while the leather covers were torn and dirty.
In response, the NTA inspected the taxi and issued the driver with a fine for failing to meet the standard required for a taxi.
Another taxi customer made a complaint in June of this year to say: “The vehicle was dirty and there was a bad odour. Brakes and suspensions were clearly damaged as the car made several strange noises when the car was braking.”
In response, the vehicle was removed from service by the taxi-driver and replaced with a newer vehicle and advice was given to the driver by the NTA.
The largest area of complaint for the first six months of this year was “driver behaviour”, which accounted for 212 complaints — an increase of 20% on the 176 complaints lodged for the same period in 2016.
One customer lodged a complaint with the NTA concerning a Dublin taxi driver who ordered his two passengers to get out of the taxi into the freezing cold at night after one of them was hiccoughing.
The driver told the couple that he would charge €140 if the passenger was to get sick and after driving across the bridge from George’s Quay in Dublin, decided that he wouldn’t take the two.
Another passenger said a taxi driver “stuck up his middle finger at me and drove off” when the passenger took a photo of his badge after a dispute over the fare.
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.