A FAMILY meal out left a Deighton couple with a sour taste when they got the bill for the taxi home.
Rochelle and John Parchment were faced with a bill for £22.60 for the journey back from the Golcar Lily on Sunday – almost double what they had paid to get there four hours earlier.
The couple, their three children and a cousin, had booked a cab with Timmy’s Taxis of Sheepridge Road, to take them from their Warrenside home to the Bolster Moor pub and restaurant. They were joining eight others members of the family to celebrate Rochelle’s sister Briony’s 40th birthday.
The minibus fare for the six of them for the seven-mile journey was £12. After the meal their son stayed behind, so five of them booked a ride home with Mount Taxis.
On arrival back at Warrenside they were shocked to be told by the driver that the fare on the meter was £22.60.
Rochelle said: “I was furious. Had I been informed that the taxi was metered, I would not have taken it.
“I pointed out that there were more of us in a larger vehicle on the outward journey, but the driver just said ‘it is on a meter’. They did not mention the meter when we booked the taxi.
“People are struggling financially these days and this is a heck of a lot of money for a taxi.
“I think the public have a right to know when they are going to be metered. People should be given the right information so they can choose if to take the taxi or cancel it.”
Rochelle told her mother, Clr Christine Iredale, of the incident. Clr Iredale is chairwoman of Kirklees Licensing and Safety Committee.
She said: “I was unaware that private hire cars were metered. I feel the amount she was charged was extortionate.
“If taxis are running on meters then the public should certainly be informed. It is a simple enough thing for a taxi firm to ask if the customer is aware that the taxis are metered when they ring up.”
Clr Iredale added that she would raise the matter with the Licensing Office, with a view to it being discussed at a full meeting of the Licensing and Safety Committee.
Mount Taxis was set up over 50 years ago and has over 50 vehicles. All of them are private hire and all have had meters for many years.
The company’s Beverley Hall said that Mount had a large regular client base and that it was not feasible or practical to say that the taxis were metered every time they answered the phone.
She added: “They are all metered, there is no deviation. It is a fairer reflection of the time and distance involved.
“Our meters are not hidden, they are clearly displayed.
“Mount Taxis has a good reputation for being reliable, on time and legal. We do everything by the book and can produce every document for every driver.
“We operate in a certain manner and this is reflected in our price.”
Mrs Hall added that, at the time of booking, the Parchments had said that six people were travelling back to Deighton and so a people carrier had been sent.
She said that the charge was in line with Kirklees’ licensing tariffs.