Fair fare: €5 taxi cancellation fee defended

 

Sir, – Taxi drivers have always been self-employed and remain so. They choose to work with Mytaxi to increase their efficiency and potential earnings (“Mytaxi killed Irish taxis and now owns the future”, Opinion, May 15th).

The spur for John McManus’s rant, apart, seemingly from a general hostility to new technology companies, was that Mytaxi is introducing a new €5 cancellation fee in late June. The rationale for the charge, rather than killing something (as the headline claims), is actually to create more availability for passengers and to stop drivers’ time being wasted unnecessarily.

No more than diners not showing up for booked restaurant tables, passengers not showing up for booked taxis – particularly at peak times – is unfair to drivers and other customers who are left waiting. Our most recent data shows more than 50 per cent of cancellations take place between Friday and Sunday, when our fleet is most in demand. This fee is in line with industry practice in Ireland and is already applied by a number of our competitors here. In the UK, for a £5 (€5.79) fee applies.

This is a charge we never want our passengers to incur and is intended to change behaviour when our fleet is most in demand and to boost the reliability of our service when our customers most need it.

This new policy will apply only if there is a cancellation two minutes after the hail has been accepted by a Mytaxi driver, or if the passenger is not at the correct location within five minutes of the driver’s arrival. This policy will only come into effect following a six-week notification period, now in operation, during which passengers are being informed on the app that cancellations two or more minutes after a hail is accepted may soon incur a charge.

We also understand that driver cancellations can be extremely frustrating for passengers, and we have managed to reduce these to an all-time low. This follows an ongoing, successful campaign actioned by Mytaxi which has included a reduction in average passenger waiting-times by 6.9 per cent, an increase in the passenger pick-up rate by 5 per cent, and a 66 per cent decrease in the number of prebook cancellations in the first quarter of 2019.

John McManus gives the impression that customers and taxi drivers are somehow enslaved to us. On the contrary, competition in the taxi market is fierce and, at Mytaxi, we welcome this as it drives innovation and constant service improvement. – Yours, etc,

ALAN FOX,

General Manager

for Ireland, Mytaxi,

Dublin 2.