Dealing with frustrating Fare Dodgers
When a customer enters your cab, they’re effectively agreeing to the payment of a fare upon arrival at their destination. For the most part, fares on a daily basis will usually go without a hitch. But there are those rare instances when a passenger will do all they can to get out of paying at the end of their journey.
Whether coming up with excuses, getting aggressive or simply just running away, fare dodgers are a taxi driver’s worst nightmare. Sadly, some passengers have no care or consideration for the service you provide or your livelihood as a driver for hire.
Here we take a look at what to do (and what not to do) should you come across any fare dodgers.
Asking for payment or part-payment at the beginning of the journey can help to catch out fare dodgers. Remember that you, as the driver, are well within your rights to refuse a fare should you feel unsafe or suspect the passenger of having no intention to pay. It may be a bit presumptuous to suspect potential fare dodgers – you can’t exactly accuse a passenger of not wanting to pay – so you’ll need to use your best judgement of the situation.
Installing in-cab cameras can help to act both as a deterrent and as evidence for catching fare dodgers at a later date. Make your passengers are aware that CCTV is used inside your vehicle, either by displaying signs or mentioning it at the beginning of the journey.
What not to do
Fare dodgers can go one of two ways: they may become aggressive and violent or they may leave the vehicle and dash off. Should a passenger resort to violence, drivers should remain calm and non-confrontational. After all, no fare is worth risking your own safety and wellbeing over.
Under no circumstances should you lock the doors to keep the passenger from leaving the vehicle. Along with running the risk of a violent situation, you could potentially face a charge of false imprisonment. Furthermore, the offence of theft is only deemed to be committed once the passenger leaves the vehicle.
If the fare dodger should happen to vacate and make a run for it, try not to leave the vehicle. You’re much safer staying inside and notifying your head office and the police of the incident.
In cases where someone ducks out on a fare, there are several ways the perpetrator can be traced. Whilst police can use in-cab CCTV to identify offenders, knowing the identity and even the address of the fare dodger beforehand can be advantageous. For private hire drivers, your office should also be able to trace the phone number used to make the booking. The number will most likely belong to the offender or somebody closely linked with them.
It may not always be possible or practical to recover lost fares, making incidents like these all the more frustrating. But by following our advice and knowing where you stand with the law, you can significantly reduce the probability of being stung by non-paying passengers.