MyTaxi has announced that drivers will no longer be required to waive a €2 booking fee.
According to National Transport Authority (NTA) fare rules, a booking fee 'may be applied' when a taxi is booked through any means other than hailing on the street or at a taxi rank.
MyTaxi has, however, previously asked drivers using its app to waive the fee for customers.
Announcing a change in its policy from tomorrow, the company - which took over Hailo earlier this year - said: "The €2 booking fee is an industry-standard fee charged by all taxi providers in Ireland. In the past, we've asked mytaxi drivers to discount this fee for our customers.
"From Thursday the 21st of September 2017, to align with taxi industry standards, we’re no longer requesting that drivers discount the €2 booking fee."
The move has been welcomed by the National Private Hire & Taxi Association with spokesperson Jim Waldron noting that the waiver was the "biggest complaint from drivers to MyTaxi."
"I am aware that a lot of taxi drivers said that the biggest problem with MyTaxi was that they weren't getting the full fare," he said.
"If you do ten jobs in one day you could be down €20 as opposed to working on a radio, with a radio company issuing you the work."
He said MyTaxi had been using the waived fee as a price point to attract customers to the service - adding that drivers have been turning off the app in recent times.
“It was like a loss leader [...] to build up a customer base,” he said.
“In the last 18 months or so, the work has been a bit better for taxi drivers and they may not be relying on MyTaxi anymore - they will work the streets rather than give up the €2.”
He said that MyTaxi will have to deal with any customer backlash adding that anyone who does not want to pay the fee can "step out on to the street and hail a taxi and it will be €2 cheaper."
Instant hails and pre-booking
On Twitter, MyTaxi confirmed the change will apply to both instant hails & pre-booked journeys.
Fine Gael TD Noel Rock was among those who took to social media to highlight the change:
Things got so bad in terms of taxi supply on MyTaxi that they've added the €2 surcharge. Can't say I'm surprised. pic.twitter.com/1gtjCEoXRy
— Noel Rock (@NoelRock) September 20, 2017
In the wake of the MyTaxi app merging with Hailo, and in the wake of driver & customer complaints, the then newly re-branded company insisted "increasing the availability of taxis on the system is a huge focus for us".
The NTA last week announced it has approved a general increase to taxi fares from February 1st 2018.
The board approved the proposed increase, which will see fares go up by an average of 3.22%.