16th March 2016

When it may be necessary to refuse a fare

Most drivers for hire are very reliant on their fares as a means of income. It’s actually pretty rare that a driver would want to refuse any fare, however, there are certain situations where refusal is necessary.

It can be a bit awkward trying to determine whether a job has to be refused and even trickier actually saying “no” to a potential customer. Here we take a look at the reasonable circumstances that a driver could comfortably refuse and tactics for doing so in the best manner.

When can you refuse a fare?

As situations can wildly vary, there are no set rules as to what fares a driver may or may not refuse. Drivers must accept a fare as long as the request is considered “reasonable”, however, there’s no clear distinction on what that actually means. It really all comes down to the discretion of the driver over whether they could fulfil a certain request.

Sometimes, it may be necessary to refuse a fare if the customer appears to be aggressive or violent, especially when drunk. It may sound a bit presumptuous to try and gauge whether a passenger may cause trouble for you, so if you feel the need to refuse a fare, keeping a log of time, location and details of any nearby witnesses can be beneficial. Remember, the safety and well-being of you and your vehicle are important to protect from any loutish travellers.

When it comes to troublesome customers, refusing fares relies largely on your own judgement. However, there may also be cases where you simply cannot offer the service a customer wants. A request to drive an unreasonably long distance can be a pain, but if a customer is willing to agree on a fare beforehand, it’s really a judgement call on the driver’s part whether the fare is worth accepting or not.

It’s possible that your vehicle may be unsuitable or not have the right facilities for your passenger. While electronic payments can be common in big cities, cabs without a card reader will be useless for someone wanting to pay by card. If your vehicle doesn’t have enough space to cater for a disabled passenger, having to refuse service can be horribly awkward but extremely rare for private hire drivers, as any special requirements would usually be discussed in advance.

How to say “no”

Whatever the reason for refusing a fare, turning a customer away needs to be done tactfully. If a paying customer is just given a flat “no”, it’s understandable that they may become disheartened and even complain about your service. It’s best to explain your reasoning to the customer and note down details of the job, including time, location and any nearby witnesses. If possible, you could also suggest any alternative drivers you know of that could meet their requirements. This way, the customer is assured that you’re being as helpful as you can.

As we say, anyone having to refuse a taxi fare is very uncommon, with many drivers relying on their fares as a primary source of income. However, because of this rarity, it’s best to make sure you know what to do just in case an odd situation arises. As long as you have valid reasons and can calmly and politely decline such a fare, you shouldn’t face too much trouble.

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