MyTaxi defends €2 increase to its taxi fares

The company says the booking fee is "an industry-standard"

MyTaxi defends €2 increase to its taxi fares

A smartphone with the opened app MyTaxi is held next to a taxi sign in Hamburg, Germany | Image: Daniel Reinhardt/DPA/PA Images

Taxi app MyTaxi is set to increase its fares by €2.

A €2 booking fee is to be added for any booking made by phone or in their app.

The company says the booking fee is "an industry-standard fee" charged by all taxi providers in Ireland.

In the past, the firm has asked MyTaxi drivers to discount this fee for customers.

But from Thursday September 21st, it is no longer requesting drivers discount the fee.

MyTaxi says this change is "to align with taxi industry standards."

It comes just days after the the National Transport Authority (NTA) approved an increase to taxi fares.

The move will see fares go up by an average of 3.22% from February 1st 2018.

New taxi fares from 2018 | Source: NTA

Tim Arnold is the general manager of MyTaxi in Ireland.

He told Newstalk Breakfast demand is growing on their business.

"There's never been more demands for taxis in Ireland - the past few weeks has been busier for MyTaxi than Christmas sand New Year's last year.

"At the same time, there are fewer taxi drivers operating in Ireland than at any time in the past 10 years.

"So for every new entrant to the taxi industry last year, three drivers retired.

"This is net decrease of 1,000 drivers in the last year - MyTaxi are working hard to increase the numbers of drivers in the industry to meet customer demand.

"We're confident that by implementing this change, that MyTaxi drivers will offer an ever-improving service and fewer customers will be disappointed when they can't find a taxi".

Joe Herron, president of the Irish Taxi Federation, says the fee should always have been applied.

"This was put in for a reason and it goes back many, many years - but it's just a €2 charge to compensate both their time and expenses in traveling".

"To my mind it's a very small fee to pay for the service shown".

Mr Herron denied that using the app was the same as hailing a taxi on the street.

"(The taxi is) right beside you - when you put up your hand he's within visual distance of you, so he's probably within 100 metres of you when you put up your hand.

"Where when you tap the app, he could be a couple of kilometres away from you - and quite often is".