A Hanoi taxi firm has fined and sacked a cabbie who has been found guilty of overcharging an Irish couple, said its inspector.
Tran Duc Tri, inspector of Thanh Nga taxi firm, Saturday confirmed with Tuoi Tre that Pham Van Linh, 38, the accused cabbie, has been fined VND5 million ($250) and sacked.
Linh has also been summoned to local police station for further investigations, Tri added.
As previously reported, James Murtagh and his wife from Ireland were asked to pay VND480,000 ($23) for a distance of two kilometers from a hotel on Hang Bong street to a restaurant on Ma May street. The maximum fee should have been VND40,000 ($1.9).
According to Murtagh, he handed the driver a 500,000 banknote but the driver gave back only VND20,000 to him. Upon being asked why, the driver replied he received just VND50,000. Murtagh then took a photo of the taxi’s number plate as evidence and reported this case to the Hanoi Taxi Association through its hotline.
The association later apologized to the couple for the overcharging and required Thanh Nga to identify the driver concerned and to return the overcharged money to them as soon as possible.
Taxi scams have gone rampant in both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, causing headache to local authorities.
On Apr 12, a taxi driver in the southern hub charged a Japanese passenger VND650,000 (US$31.1), ten times higher than the actual fee, and even punched the foreigner in the face when the latter refused to pay.
More recent, on Apr 28, a cabbie of Hanoi-based Trung Viet taxi firm charged two Australian tourists VND980,000 (roughly US$43), 10 times higher than the normal fare, for a distance of just 7 km, from the Military History Museum to the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology.
In an effort to promote a “safe Hanoi” to international travelers, Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc, deputy chairman of Hanoi’s People Committee, has pledged to impose heavy punishments on cheating taxis.
Meanwhile, Cao Bich Lan, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee of Hoan Kiem District, admitted that taxi scams have a bad influence on promotional tourism campaigns to attract more international tourists to the capital. She called on all tourism authorities to work together to deal with taxi scams.