College News

Notoriety among students for not paying taxi fares

Students on nights out are sometimes culprits of skipping out on paying their fares. A piece in the Irish Times this week highlighted this issue which has been giving students in Galway a bad reputation. Is this also a trend amongst Dublin students?
One DCU student recalled her story of how she was banned from using ‘Hailo’ after a group of young teenagers failed to pay a fare on her account after a trip from Finglas to north county Dublin. Following a small gathering in her boyfriend’s house, hosted by the boyfriend’s teenage sister, which became over-crowded, the DCU student began to request taxis for the groups to leave. A few weeks after this occurred, she found she was no longer able request taxis which she needed after late work shifts.
“I was told by Hailo that I had an outstanding fare of forty euro. I assured them I have always paid with card as long as I have used the app.”
When she was told the date of the unpaid fare she deduced that it came from the night of the party. It soon became apparent to the Hailo user that the group of teenage boys ran from the car at a set of traffic lights.
Another student explained the reason why on numerous occasions she needed to resort to not paying her fare.
“I’ve probably done it a handful of times. It’s mainly because I wouldn’t have the money for a taxi but I’d really need to get home and its past half 11 so I wouldn’t be able to get the bus.”
She also explained the methods used to get away with it and her repetition of doing it despite feeling guilty each time.
“I used to feel really bad. The few times I did it I would leave a tenner even though I owed twenty and I would say ‘I’ll get the rest of my mam’ “.
The student went on to explain the frustration and hostility that taxi drivers have when they feel that someone is going to avoid paying a fare. “I remember one time I was with my friend and the driver would say one of you stay and he would scream at you but we would just get out because they can’t hold you against your will.”
Occurrences like this are common among college students who take advantage of taxi drivers, especially when the driver is outnumbered. However, taxi drivers have also been known to take advantage of students, notably when under the influence of alcohol.
One student spoke of how a taxi driver attempted to leave her ten euro short on her change when paying for a fare after a night out in Dublin. When paying for a fare of ten euro with a fifty note she immediately noticed she was left ten euro short.
“He clearly knew what she was doing. He didn’t apologise or double check the change he gave me. He just handed me another tenner and sped off as soon as I got out.”
While it would be unjust to generalise both students and taxi drivers, it is true that minorities of each continue to rip each other off. While not paying a taxi fare is by no means a new trend, it may be increasing due to the increasing volume of students in Irelands biggest cities. It may also stem from students knowing they can get away with it and repeatedly do it. Whatever the reason a solution would need to be found to prevent further hostile relations between taxi drivers and students.