Wednesday 5 August 2015

The Great Taxi Rip-Off

Last night I travelled in a taxi.  Among the table of fares was the following:
First mile £3.00
Each subsequent 146 yards £0.10
I asked the driver how many yards were in a mile  (which I think is not an unreasonable question:  if it's on the sign in his cab, he ought to know),  and he did not know.  Therefore, there is a meaningless disconnect between the figures:  If I don't know how many yards there are in a mile, then I can't know how many 146-yard units there are in a mile, and therefore I can't work out how much I should be paying.

Now, if it had read something like
First kilometre £2.00
Each subsequent 100 metres £0.10
then the correlation between distance travelled and amount paid would have been nice and obvious.  Because there's a clue right in the name that tells you exactly how many metres are in a kilometre.   Even if it was something like "Each subsequent 114.3 metres £0.10", the sum would still be possible -- though I might need a calculator, if  needed better precision than "about 9p for 100 metres".

I am convinced that this is another example of rip-off Britain, if we are actively prevented from working out independently how much we should be paying for a journey and instead have to trust the meter.

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