A Tayside taxi firm owner says he’s lost hundreds of pounds as dozens of passengers have left his vehicles without paying their fares.
Sandy Smith, who runs Radio Taxis, on Scott Street, in Perth, says that since the start of the year at least 30 people have left his company’s cabs some of them “jumping out” at traffic lights before they have paid the driver, because they’ve claimed they can’t afford the fare.
He believes the problem has escalated in recent months, with his company losing out financially.
Most of those who have failed to pay have owed small amounts, but Sandy says it all adds up.
He told the Tele: “It’s far worse this year than it has ever been.
“So far this year, 30 passengers have absconded without paying their fares and that’s not counting the ones who intimate during the journey that they have no money.
“In that case, the drivers just have to drop them off at the nearest convenient stopping place. It seems to be happening more and more and that is infuriating.
“There were two instances in the first few days of this week alone.
“Folk are even jumping out when our vehicles are stopped at traffic lights.”
Radio Taxis has one of the biggest vehicle fleets in the city, operating a 24-hour service, meaning that many of the journeys are made late at night.
Sandy says he has reported the incidents to the police but there has been “very little they can do”.
He added: “I have now instructed my drivers to get fares in advance from people who wish to travel out of town.”
Despite problems with fare-dodgers, Tayside’s taxi firms have previously reported a spike in business since the new drink-drive limit was introduced in December with more people opting to leave the car at home.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Police Scotland can confirm that officers are making enquiries into incidents of Taxi fraud that have happened at various locations in Perth recently, the descriptions of those carrying out these crimes vary, as such these crimes do not appear to be carried out by same people. Officers are following all lines of enquiry available to trace those responsible in each case.
“We would ask taxi drivers and operators to remain vigilant to these incidents and take any precautions necessary to avoid becoming a victim. Anyone who has information that could assist officers with their enquiries or to report a crime should contact Police Scotland on 101.”