A taxi firm in Mablethorpe is condemning the abuse of its staff by angry customers who are frustrated at rising fare costs brought on by the introduction of taximeters.
A1 Taxis in Mablethorpe installed meters to its eight vehicles at the start of April, in a bid to cope with the rising cost of living and business survival, as inflation hit 7% this month, compared to 1.5% in April 2021.
This, on top of the soaring prices of fuel and tyres so far this year, has left the firm with little to no alternative but to adjust its prices, given how much it costs to run and maintain its eight vehicles.
The company used to offer standard fares of £3.50, but the new meters now start at £3.40, with customers now likely to pay between 40p and £2 more.
The move has been criticised by some in the community, and it has sadly resulted in a spate of abuse aimed at the staff, according to the taxi firm.
Rhett Levett is a driver for A1 Taxis, and he said that customers have swore at him, refused to pay for taxis, and there’s even been an instance of someone spitting at an operator.
The abuse reached a point that saw the firm take strike action, only doing pre-booked journeys over the weekend of Friday, April 22, and they say there could be no weekend trips again if the abuse continues.
Rhett told BBC Look North: “You’re trying to provide people with a service and this is your thanks for that service, abuse for taking them home safely.”
A1 Taxis also took to social media to shut down accusations that the introduction of the meters were illegal, stating clearly that the move had been approved by the council and was “completely” in line with regulations.
The business posted to say: “I would just like to reassure all customers that what we have done with the taxi meters in our private hire cars is completely legal, despite rumours stating otherwise.
“We made sure it was allowed before we took this into consideration, I have had conformation from East Lindsey District Council’s license office, and this paragraph is also from the taxi driver license book.
“A hire car is not required to fit a taximeter, but if such a meter is fitted, it must be correctly calibrated, tested for accuracy and approved. Section 71, LG(MP)A.”