Taxi app

Taxi app Free Now introduces €1 ‘tech fee’ on customers

Popular taxi app Free Now has introduced a €1 “tech fee” for customers using the app.

The surcharge has been heavily criticized as there is already a €2 booking fee in place, as well as a €5 cancellation fee if the customer cancels on the driver.

Free Now sent an email to customers on Monday outlining the new terms that will come into effect on August 1.

The company said: “A technology fee of €1 will apply to all taxi journeys booked and successfully completed through the FREE NOW app.

“These updates will allow us to continue to invest in improving the technology and quality of FREE NOW’s apps.”

He also said the updates will enable the introduction of new mobility services such as e-bikes and e-scooters.

Taxi fare increase

Meanwhile, taxi fares are expected to increase by an average of 12% from September 1, according to the National Transport Authority (NTA).

The NTA said it would also be mandatory for all taxis to provide a cashless payment option to customers from the same date.

The NTA said the increase in the maximum fare by a weighted average of 12% was made to reflect the increased operating costs faced by taxi drivers, combined with the introduction of cashless payment facilities in taxis.

This is the first fare increase since 2018, when the average cost of a taxi ride increased by 4.5%.

The new pricing structure will see the standard initial fare drop from €3.80 to €4.20.

The entry fee during prime periods covering 8pm-8am and on Sundays and public holidays will increase from €4.20 to €4.80.

A survey of taxi drivers in July 2019 showed they earned an average of €28,800 for working 48 weeks a year.

Although there have been public complaints about the number of taxis for hire, particularly at night in Dublin, an NTA report earlier this year put the number of taxis in Ireland at 3.7 per 1,000 population far exceeded most European countries where the average is 1.3 per 1,000 inhabitants.

He pointed out that the ratio in Dublin was 7.4 taxis per 1,000 people.