Concerned agencies in Hanoi have forced the female driver of an illegal taxicab to apologize to two British nationals and return the money she overcharged them last week.
The Tourist Assistance Service (TAS) office of the Hanoi Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Hanoi Traffic Inspection Agency have jointly handled the case in which Ngo Thi Nhung, the driver of a “taxi dù” – a taxi that operates without a license – overcharged two British passengers on February 15, 2014.
Accordingly, these agencies have requested that Nhung apologize to the two British nationals, Nicola Iraland and Brianna Solomon, and return the overcharged amount, US$50, to the foreigners, who had reported the case to the TAS.
The foreigners reported that they took a taxi with number plate 29Z-6587 to go from Ngoc Son Temple to the Ho Chi Minh Museum, a distance of only about three kilometers. However, Nhung asked them to pay $50 for their ride, although they argued that the meter was not operating correctly.
After leaving the cab, the foreigners took a photo of the cab’s license plate as evidence for their report to the TAS, which later investigated the case. Investigations showed that Nhung’s taxi is owned by a private group masquerading as Ha Anh Taxi Company to operate illegally, said Bui Ngoc Tan, deputy head of the Mobile Inspection Team of the Hanoi Traffic Inspection Agency.
When she returned the overcharged money to the foreigners at the TAS, Nhung shed tears and blamed the incident on a “language difference” that caused a misunderstanding between her and the foreigners.
Nhung insisted that one of the foreigners handed her an unknown amount of money for the fare, which she only realized was $50 when she returned home.
After receiving the money from Nhung, Nicola Iraland and Brianna Solomon thanked Vietnamese concerned agencies for handling their report efficiently.
They said they felt comfortable and safe when they received help from concerned Vietnamese agencies. They said that when they returned home, they would speak highly of Vietnam to their friends. They also promised to return to Vietnam in the future.
For her offense, Nhung will be fined VND14 million ($658), have her driver’s license revoked for 60 days, and be forced to take an exam to be granted her license again, according to applicable regulations, Tan said.
Meanwhile, the cab involved in the case will be impounded for up to 30 days, Tan said.
Currently, nearly 18,000 taxis from 113 licensed taxi companies are operating in Hanoi, and most taxi drivers have been trained in driving skills and professional ethics, he said.
The official also said that the Hanoi Traffic Inspection Agency has set up a hotline to receive information related to traffic issues.