Rigging taxi meters to make them 'run fast' or conceal data will be made impossible following strict new regulations which will see all fare counters fitted with 'anti-tampering' devices.
Introduced by the Minister for Infrastructure to give passengers "peace of mind", the new meter requirements will also include the possibility for Driver and Vehicle Standards (DVS) officials to obtain anonymised data from the meter during the vehicle's annual inspection. It is hoped that this information will assist future policymaking.
The news comes amid ongoing concerns from taxi drivers that their industry is being penalised by trade-limiting regulations, including hotly-disputed changes to the fare system, which saw rank and private cabs forced to charge the same maximum price and only allowed to charge 20p for any ‘extras’ including passengers and luggage. During the price change consultation process, DVS officials analysed data from a number of taxi meters and found that some drivers had the ability to “manually zero” amounts charged for extras, which, if done, would make it appear that drivers earned less. The new regulations would provide a solution to this.
Pictured: Deputy Eddie Noel, the Minister for Infrastructure, announced a reform programme for the taxi-cab industry in 2015.
As part of the new minimum standards, the meters will need to be fitted with an anti-tampering device and their display will need to be in English. It will also be required to ensure that the charge displayed isn't higher than the maximum set for the relevant date and time. A lesser charge will however be allowed.
The meter should also a provide a cumulative totaliser which cannot be cleared by the driver and the capability of being measured over a specific distance.
Deputy Eddie Noel, the Minister for Infrastructure, commented: “These new requirements for taxi-cab fare measuring devices will not only give passengers peace of mind that the meter is being operated fairly but it will also provide us with valuable information on taxi-cab activity.”
Pictured: Last Summer, taxi drivers went on strike to protest against proposals to simplify the fare system.
The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) has said that the majority of current fare measuring devices should already be capable of meeting the new requirements, but that older models may need to be updated. The DfI has not announced any deadline for the update to be done.
This new change in law is part of the Minister for Infrastructure's, Deputy Eddie Noel, reform programme for the taxi-cab industry to make it "more flexible, safer and provide a better service for the public." This included various changes including 20% of the fleet being made wheelchair accessible and an extra weekend rank in town, as well as adjustments to fares, which were met with staunch opposition by taxi drivers and led to a strike. Despite a proposal to throw out the reform, it was eventually adopted in the States Assembly.
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.