/ How to get paid by a fare dodger?

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Beardyman - on 06 Feb 2013
Hi there, I drive taxis and occasionally don't get paid. Without taking the law into my own hands, how does one get the money off a fare dodger?

If the police are involved they will press charges but if the culprit does not pay the fine then I never receive the money. I was told by a solicitor that what happens is they then get caught for another offence and end up spending a few days inside, legally the culprit has now been punished, job done..... except I didn't get paid!

How can I avoid this? Demanding money up front is not a route I want to go down.

Getting into a taxi without means to pay is an offence, the amounts are small but it really sticks in my throat giving some wee chav a free ride home!
Sebastian Fontleroy - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:

This reminds me of a story a mate told me years ago. He was on his way home from a night out with the lads and unknown to him the rest of the lads in the cab had organised to do a runner but hadn't told him. When the cab pulled over to drop someone off they all took to their toes except him. He just sat there pissed wondering what was going on. The cab driver just pulled off sharpish slamming the doors shut then automatically locked them. He then took him to the police station.
gethin_allen on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:
you could take them to the small claims court but the chances of them turning up and then paying any fine imposed upon them by a court is slim so you are back in the same place.
Are there any destinations where you regularly get fare dodgers? if you so perhaps refuse to drop people off at these places or you may have to go down the route of having a deposit for these places. You wouldn't be the first to do this so I wouldn't feel to bad about doing this.
BoulderyDave - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman: I don't think it is that unusual to ask for payment in advance if it is: Late, a really long way or the 'customers' are inebriated
Richard Wilson - on 06 Feb 2013
Proper "black cabs" have an inter lock so that the passenger cant get out whilst the driver has his foot on the brake.
Neil Williams - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to BoulderyDave:

It's not, but it does give you the feeling, particularly if you're on your own, that the driver is going to rip you off e.g. by not using the meter.

I've long felt that zonal taxi fares paid up front like train tickets might solve that.

Neil
rallymania - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:

could you ask the passenger to show they have means to pay before you drive off?
EeeByGum - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

> It's not, but it does give you the feeling, particularly if you're on your own, that the driver is going to rip you off e.g. by not using the meter.

I have always found that prebooked taxis to the airport always charge a fixed price that is known in advance. But then when we went to the snooker hall using the same firm, we were on the meter. How does that work?
Cú Chullain - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:

I remember chatting to a taxi driver on the way home one night in Bristol and I asked him what he did when people did a runner. He moaned that it was mostly students and he was in no shape to give chase to them so he explained that he had come up with a solution, at this point he pulled out a paintball gun from the drivers side pocket. "I might not get the money back but I can guarantee that they will wake up with a sore arse and a dry cleaning bill"

I paid the fare.
Neil Williams - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to EeeByGum:

Usually those airport fixed prices are way below what would be on the meter.

Neil
ceri - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman: If you can't ask for the exact fee upfront, could you ask for a deposit? If they're in your cab, it would seem OK for you to hold the money then balance out discrepancies at destination.
colina - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:

pay up front no question.
TJPOON - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman: I've read somewhere that to avoid this, the cab driver would ask his customers to take their shoes off before they set off. Explaining the situation most would comply and it sorted out the situation of people wanting a brisk get-away
Edradour - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Sebastian Fontleroy:
> (In reply to Beardyman)
>
> This reminds me of a story a mate told me years ago. He was on his way home from a night out with the lads and unknown to him the rest of the lads in the cab had organised to do a runner but hadn't told him. When the cab pulled over to drop someone off they all took to their toes except him. He just sat there pissed wondering what was going on. The cab driver just pulled off sharpish slamming the doors shut then automatically locked them. He then took him to the police station.

I don't understand this story. Why didn't the taxi driver just get your mate to pay? What would the police do?

We used to do this all the time at uni. Last one left in the cab pays the fare, usually ends up being the guy in the front. Was very amusing (unless you were the last one in the cab).

davidbeynon - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Edradour: I would pay the fare, then hunt them down.
M0nkey - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:

Being pragmatic, I think you just have to take it on the chin every once in a while. I suppose you can put it down to experience and keep the doors locked until the fare is paid. I suppose that doesn't work unless you're in a black cab though.
Beardyman - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman: In reply to some of the points raised; it is a black cab, runners are very rare due to the locking doors. It is much more common to get to the end of a journey and they just don't have any money, sometimes they go into a flat to get money and don't come back.

I usually get money up front for journeys that will be over 20 or so.

All the suggestions are prevention rather then cure. I was really after an answer on what to do once it has already happened.
iccy - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:

As someone who gets quite a few cabs, if you ask me to pay in advance or take my shoes off I'd walk off and get into a different cab.
paul-1970 - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Edradour:
>
> We used to do this all the time at uni. Last one left in the cab pays the fare, usually ends up being the guy in the front. Was very amusing (unless you were the last one in the cab).

Back in my student days we were once in a late-night curry house, in Newcastle, having the obligatory post-pub feed. At the end of the meal we decided it'd be a laugh if we did a runner. Thus began the "you go first" nudges and general moving forward quickly in our chairs to try to persuade a friend to make a fool of himself by running alone toward the door. We were getting ready to all go for it when the waiter appeared and gave us our bill. We decided that the moment had passed and just paid up.

Then when we got to the door we found it was locked and was a on a remote 'press a button behind the counter' system. I suppose the anecdote would be better if we'd found this out by all piling into each other as we discovered the locked door in mid-runner. But I can remember some big waiters in there too...
Tiberius - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:
> I was really after an answer on what to do once it has already happened.

You're a business. All businesses will have an 'unrecoverable debt', which they have to right off. This figure will then need to be factored into your operating overheads alone with all other costs.

In this regards, I really don't see that driving a taxi is any different from running a sweet shop (people run out with goods), or running a double glazing company (not everyone pays up).
Beardyman - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to iccy: I agree, I have to assume people are trustworthy as that's how I expect to be treated. If I really don't like the look of someone I don't pick them up.
Beardyman - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Tiberius: True, a tax deductible loss!
Fraser on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:

Tricky one - what do your friends/colleagues in the same trade do, have they any tips?
Dave Perry - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:

Small Claims Court?
SFM - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:

Does you car have child locks on the doors? Could be a plan to engage them at nights or if you deed a fare to be a risk.
Steph-in-the-West on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:
There is a worrying trend now that women travelling in taxis won't pay and if the taxi driver becomes insistent she threatens to cry, "rape" if he doen't let her leaving without paying....
Andy Say - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Steph-in-the-West:
> (In reply to Beardyman)
> There is a worrying trend now that women travelling in taxis won't pay and if the taxi driver becomes insistent she threatens to cry, "rape" if he doen't let her leaving without paying....

You have stats for that assertion?
Timmd on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Andy Say:Not to back it up, but sometimes social trends can emerge before statistics are gathered, Steph is female for what it's worth.
janiejonesworld - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman: if students are the main problem a good hunting crossbow may be the best bet

http://www.bcstore.co.uk/product-p/CB870.htm
KellyKettle - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Steph-in-the-West:
> (In reply to Beardyman)
> There is a worrying trend now that women traveling in taxis won't pay and if the taxi driver becomes insistent she threatens to cry, "rape" if he doesn't let her leaving without paying....

The idea of that had never occurred to me before; However... Having heard that, it would be enough to make me seriously consider having CCTV installed if I was driving a cab.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Timmd on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to KellyKettle:CCTV is going to start appearing in taxis in Sheffield soon apparently.
Sebastian Fontleroy - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Edradour:
> (In reply to Sebastian Fontleroy)
> [...]
>
> I don't understand this story. Why didn't the taxi driver just get your mate to pay? What would the police do?
>
> We used to do this all the time at uni. Last one left in the cab pays the fare, usually ends up being the guy in the front. Was very amusing (unless you were the last one in the cab).

He didn't have any money. The police would have probably charged him with fare evasion and issued a penalty notice. Do you understand now?
Trevers - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Steph-in-the-West:
> (In reply to Beardyman)
> There is a worrying trend now that women travelling in taxis won't pay and if the taxi driver becomes insistent she threatens to cry, "rape" if he doen't let her leaving without paying....

Could this not be solved by locking the door and driving them straight to the police station to solve the dispute?
Edradour - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Sebastian Fontleroy:
> (In reply to Edradour)
> [...]
>
> He didn't have any money. The police would have probably charged him with fare evasion and issued a penalty notice. Do you understand now?

No, because he hasn't evaded a fare. Surely a trip to cash machine would have been more appropriate?

itsThere on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman: Ask for my drivers licence to id me if i dont come back. It will also cost and be a pain to get a new one. I think this would be fair.
Sebastian Fontleroy - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Edradour:

He didn't have any money to pay so he had evaded the fare. This was in the late 80s early 90s mate so things were a bit different cash wise. Sorry i bloody mentioned it now. I won't be replying to this Edradour, so don't bother asking an more questions.
Milesy - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Trevers:
> Could this not be solved by locking the door and driving them straight to the police station to solve the dispute?

Could put the driver in situation where he could commit an offence himself. Like a waiter trying to citizens arrest someone for refusing to pay their bill.

Taxi drivers are in vulnerable enough positions as it is, particulay if not a hackney cab so if it was me I wouldnt be putting myself in danger for a fare and just take whatever details I could to the police.

Three young teenage girls stabbed a taxi driver next to where I live for asking for his fare.

http://www.national-taxi-association.co.uk/?p=500

Beardyman - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman: To clear a few things up re the original post.

I have locked passenger in but they have no money so can't pay. They have no phone so I can't take this as insurance while they go into to house to get money. They have already told me they have no money in the bank so no point going to a cash point.

I have called the police, he is arrested and charged. He does not pay the fine issued so I still don't get paid.

My real question is: how do I get my money once this has already happened? Small claims court seems excessive for 23! Anyone in the police/legal profession got any advice on this?

This is not the 1st time this has happened to me, not by a long shot!! It's usually only a few quid and reasonable to just write it off. This particular guy was an obnoxious wee shit and I do not feel inclined to let this one go.

itsThere on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman: If you didnt see my other post, any student or wee shit will have ID. Ask to take that. If she/he cant get it back off the police it will be a bit of a pain for them. Cant remember what the cost of a drivers licence is, maybe 70 now. Take that as payment for a few quid.
RockAngel on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:
Where did you pick this guy up from? Was it a business? Was he an employee or client of said business? I would go into the place he was picked up from and complain about him. It would certainly make his life harder there and they may even be able to put the fare on the business travel accounts.
Neil Williams - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to SFM:

Child locks are evil. If you have an accident and the car catches fire, the occupant cannot escape.

I wouldn't use them for their named purpose, let alone any other.

Neil
Neil Williams - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:

"Small claims court seems excessive for 23!"

While I haven't used it, plenty of people do (via Money Claim Online) for smallish amounts. I expect there will be plenty of people who have used it on the Moneysavingexpert site.

Neil
EeeByGum - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:

> I have locked passenger in but they have no money so can't pay. They have no phone so I can't take this as insurance while they go into to house to get money. They have already told me they have no money in the bank so no point going to a cash point.

In this situation, why not just take them back to where you picked them up? It will cost you in time and money but it is a legal form of justice on your part.
Fraser on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to SFM)
>
> Child locks are evil. If you have an accident and the car catches fire, the occupant cannot escape.
>
> I wouldn't use them for their named purpose, let alone any other.


That's a bit of an over-reaction! Each year, what percentage of the thousands of car accidents result in a fire - any idea? I've been driving for over 40 years and never seen one. Besides, many cars nowadays with child locks have the facility to electroncally unlock them from the driver's seat.

deepsoup - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Milesy:
> Could put the driver in situation where he could commit an offence himself. Like a waiter trying to citizens arrest someone for refusing to pay their bill.
>
> Taxi drivers are in vulnerable enough positions as it is, particulay if not a hackney cab so if it was me I wouldnt be putting myself in danger for a fare and just take whatever details I could to the police.

^This.

But also - I have never not paid a taxi driver, and would never contemplate doing a runner. But I would *hate* the child lock idea, and the driver would know about it. As a fait accompli - ie: if I were to only find out I'm locked in when I try to get out of the taxi I might even freak out somewhat, which would be no fun at all for either of us and could result in some damage to the car.

If the idea is to avoid offending the passenger by asking for some payment up front that would be a pretty big own-goal, I'd *much* rather pay some money up front.
Neil Williams - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Fraser:

"That's a bit of an over-reaction!"

Just a personal view. So far as I'm concerned I would want my child to have the possibility of a way out in emergency. Just putting the button down should be enough to prevent accidental opening in case of fiddling with the door handle, and in any case car doors are "fail safe" in that you have to push quite hard to open one against the air stream when moving.

They are unsafe unless there is a means of releasing them from that seat. Trains have locked doors but there is always a mechanical handle to release them in emergency (it's been illegal to lock people into trains with no means of egress since the Quintinshill troop train fire that killed a lot of people in the 1930s).

Neil
Neil Williams - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

"in case of fiddling with the door handle"

FWIW, I did that as a child precisely once, and was left in no doubt that it was a stupid thing to do. Never did it again.

Neil
off-duty - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:

I think it might depend on whether he has a specific compensation order imposed via the CPS at court usually as part of trial - in which case probably approaching the court about it would be the best way.
Alternatively if it was some kind of restorative justice where the police arranged for ot to be paid as part of the process then he has defaulted and the RJ needs addressing - approach the police.
If it's just a fine for bilking - payable to the court there may be no compensation element for you at all.
Neil Williams - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to deepsoup:

I would get very, very cross if I found I was locked in a normal car using the child locks - by anyone, taxi driver or otherwise. I'm not even a fan of the electronic locks on black cabs, but if those are sensibly designed they are solenoid-locked so in the event of a power failure in an accident would unlock automatically.

While I'm sure the OP is not one of them, my experience of taxi drivers outside London, particularly those operating in the evening, is that many cannot be trusted, which is why I would want none of that and am similarly wary of paying up front the full amount. (A deposit of about half the expected fare might be an option, but that still rings alarm bells in my head as a passenger).

One way to handle it for obvious city centre to suburb type journeys (but this would have to be done by the local Council via a byelaw, or by the private minicab operators rather than individual drivers) would be that to take a taxi from the city centre you have to go to a booking stand at which you pay for a taxi ticket, based on a zonal fare. You then have no motivation *not* to hand it over. This is a common system in countries like Thailand, Malaysia, India etc, where drivers seem even less trustworthy than a number I've encountered in the UK.

Neil
geebus - on 07 Feb 2013
I'd be tempted to try a CCTV angle - plenty of cheap ways to do it.
I wonder if just having a camera and a warning there might be enough to make people think twice, as they know their picture has been recorded, at least.
Neil Williams - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to geebus:

CCTV may well be a good option.

Asking for ID before you start the journey might also work? You could take a quick photo of it with your smartphone.

Neil
neilh - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:

Its a simple business get paid up front. I have been in alot of taxis who do this. It is in my opinion a reasonable practise.

If people take offence at it, then they probably do not have the money to pay you. So it eliminates the risk.
Neil Williams - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to neilh:

If a taxi driver asks to be paid up front, I usually conclude that he is up to no good. Evidence suggests this to be the case, e.g. they will always ask for more than the metered fare would be, or they will ask for more at the destination having already asked for what the metered fare would be.

The problem is that the taxi industry itself has many skeletons in its closet. It sounds like the OP is an honest man trying to make a living, but many of them are not. If taxi drivers could universally be trusted, I would be fine with the idea.

Neil
Neil Williams - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

FWIW I have never got in a taxi without the ability and intention to pay the correct fare.

Neil
Fraser on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:

For future dodgy fares: at the start of the journey, how about tearing a fiver / tenner / 20 in half, each keeping your half until the journey is completed? One half is useless without the other.
Camm - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:
I wouldn't have much a problem paying up front, but I wouldn't want to take my shoes off.
Can't you get the Police to do a restorative of justice where they pay you the faire get let off for a first time offence. obviously the faire will be much higher by the time the Police sort it out as the meter is still running, at the end of the day, while you are waiting for it to be sorted out, you are loosing money by the minute.
neilh - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:
Does not bother me.I just view it as a retainer.
Epic Ebdon - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Beardyman:

Can you not say (when people get in) "it'll probably be bout a tenner, mate, but I've had some people do runners on me recently, so could you give me a tennner now. I'll run the meter so you don't get ripped off, and if it's more or less, we can settle up when we get there."?


Tim
Queenie - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Epic Ebdon:

Sounds like a fair suggestion, best idea so far.
Steph-in-the-West on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Andy Say:
> (In reply to Steph-in-the-West)
> [...]
>
> You have stats for that assertion?

No stats but a search of False allegations will show some up...
Steph-in-the-West on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Timmd:
> (In reply to Andy Say)Not to back it up, but sometimes social trends can emerge before statistics are gathered, Steph is female for what it's worth.

Thanks - evidence is in the news if anyone wants to research it

Steph-in-the-West on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Trevers:
> (In reply to Steph-in-the-West)
> [...]
>
> Could this not be solved by locking the door and driving them straight to the police station to solve the dispute?

"Rape" is not called till a while later - the threat is made whilst in the taxi. Any sane man would let the woman go to avoid that. Locking the door and driving to a police station I suppose whilst showing no evidenc for rape, would be classed as false imprisonment or kidnapping. Either way the driver is on a loser and is better off just losing the fare than go throught the humiliation and trauma of being Falsely Accused

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