Denying Taxi Fare Concession

30/10/2017 08:28

The Consumer Council of Fiji is calling on taxi drivers to be mindful of their responsibility towards passengers particularly senior citizens and people with disabilities as they qualify for 20% fare concessions for distance travelled within 20-kilometer radius.

The call comes in light of a recent complaint brought to the Council’s attention whereby a taxi driver in Labasa declined taxi fare concession to an elderly citizen simply because he did not inform the driver prior to boarding the taxi that he qualified for the 20% fare concession. The senior citizen despite having the fare concession card was denied the 20% fare concession.

Given that the complainant was in a hurry to reach his destination, he had to pay the full fare to the driver. However, he later returned to the taxi base demanding his refund and also lodged a complaint with the Council.

After the Council’s intervention the taxi driver reimbursed the 20% of the total fare paid by the complainant.

The Council also reported the matter to the Social Welfare Department and the Fiji Taxi Association.

Taxi operators must know that the government has a deed of agreement signed between them and the Fiji Taxi Association which clearly states that “The Association together with all its members jointly and severally, hereby agree that with effect of the date of commencement of this agreement, all taxi operators will provide taxi service, at a discount rate of 20 per cent of the actual fares, to disabled persons, senior citizens and those persons receiving food or family assistance from Ministry of Social Welfare, provided that these persons are certified and issued with relevant identifications card by the relevant agency. The discount rate shall only be valid for journey up to 20 kilometres”.

There is no such rule that passengers must inform driver prior to boarding the taxi that they hold a concession card. After all fare is paid at the end of the journey.

The Council is well aware of previous cases where consumers were denied service by the drivers when they showed the concession card. Taxi drivers tend to come up with excuses such as having other runs in order to avoid passengers who carry concession cards.

 The taxi drivers should not demand consumers to inform them beforehand on whether they are concession card holders as they are to provide service to all consumers equally and not be selective on the basis of losing out on a few dollars to the concession card holders.

Consumers facing such problems can always visit the Council Offices in Suva, Lautoka and Labasa or call the National Consumer Helpline toll free number 155 to seek advice or lodge their complaint.