Sydney taxis have announced a new fee today for those who want to safeguard their credit card from being skimmed by their taxi driver.
“After a yearlong study, we found the thing people hate most about taxis is getting their card skimmed by the driver,” a NSW transport spokesperson said. “This way, passengers can simply pay a small optional fee and the driver will promise not to use one of his dodgy card readers and skim their card.”
The new fee – which will add an extra 25 per cent onto a passenger’s total fare or $200, whichever is higher – is the latest addition to a raft of charges commonly added to taxi fares, including fees for booking, flag fall, peak times, toll roads, late nights, early mornings, short distances, long distances, credit and debit cards and the carbon tax.
Taxi drivers are threatening to stage a protest against the new fee, saying it will make life harder for everyone involved.
“We’re losing too much money to Uber already, so I’m scared that if we don’t skim cards I’m not going to be able to put a new plasma TV on the table for the family,” one Sydney driver said. “Plus, with more than 200 machines in my cab, I’ve forgotten which ones are the real deal and which ones are card skimmers. This is just going to cause more delay for passengers wanting to get on with their day.”
Passengers have said there’s no way they’d ever get in a cab again, so the fee doesn’t really matter either way.
A Sydney man is in hospital with chronic drunkenness pains after the Uber he ordered to take him to the pub arrived four minutes early, forcing him to drink 400 of his 680 pre-drinks beers in under 30 seconds.
A government health spokesperson has slammed Uber, calling for an “urgent review” of the ride-sharing service.
“What a horror story. My thoughts and prayers are with this man who was trying to do the right thing by not driving after 680 beers and avoiding arriving at the pub feeling a bit awkward because he hadn’t consumed a sufficient amount of alcohol,” he said. “It’s irresponsible of the Uber to put people in this position and it’s happening far too often. Punctuality can be deadly.”
The victim’s friends, who are also in hospital recovering from the evening, said they weren’t concerned when the man failed to turn up at the pub.
“He’s a light drinker anyway so we thought he simply canned Monday-night trivia. Who would have thought the poor bloke had to drink 400 beers in under 30 seconds?” one friend said. “I know that doesn’t sound like much, but 400 beers has a lot of sugar and that can’t be good for you.”
A NSW taxi spokesperson said this was “just another example” of the way Uber’s consistent over performance was dangerous.
“If you book with a taxi, you can be confident we’ll be late or not come at all, so you’ll always have plenty of time to finish your pre-drinks drinks,” he said. “We’re proud of our motto, ‘Better late or never”.
A once-prestigious Sydney taxi company has rebranded its fleet of ageing cars as “Brown Service”, promising those who have overdone things on a night out a safe place to be sick, eat a kebab, or lose control of their bladder and bowel movements as they make their way home, without receiving the usual $50 clean-up fee.
“It was impossible for us to compete with the cleanliness and safety of Uber, Sydney Trains, or hitch-hiking, so we decided to target a market that would appreciate a ride where they can let it all out after a night out,” a Brown Service executive told the Sydney Sentinel.
A spokesperson for transport NSW said the move was “a breath of fresh air”.
“The last time I hopped into one of their taxis, the driver’s air biscuit almost cost me my lunch and a $50 clean-up fee, so I feel they are playing to their strengths,” he said. “This is a really smart move.”
Drivers have also welcomed the decision.
“I eat, smoke, and go to the toilet in my cab, so why not extend the same courtesy to my passengers?” said one driver. “This way it’s fair for everyone.”