A woman from Hockley in Essex has threatened to complain to her local licensing authority after she was charged £340 for a taxi from Rayleigh to Hockley. Although the correct journey should only be two miles long, her bungling taxi driver mistakenly took her to Hockley near BIRMINGHAM – a journey that was 155 miles and lasted for THREE HOURS.
Marie O’Ryan-Tieren, a 26-year-old bank worker, contacted Southend News Network to say that she was ‘disgusted’ with the behaviour of her driver who has been named locally as Hamer Djazizizi.
She said: ‘It was 10pm on Monday evening, and I had just enjoyed a meal and a few drinks with some friends from work. I was incredibly tired, and I jumped into a taxi at Rochford Station – I asked the driver to take me to the centre of Hockley.’
‘Although I knew that the journey was only going to be about ten minutes long, I felt myself falling asleep, and next thing I knew I was waking up at 1am in a place that I didn’t recognise at all. The driver told me that we had arrived in Hockley, but I just looked out of the window in stunned silence.’
‘He didn’t speak very good English, but he kept pointing to his TomTom and saying ‘Hockley, this is Hockley.’ I got my phone out and opened the Google Maps app, and I was horrified to see that I was only a few miles away from Birmingham!’
‘I asked him why he had taken me there, and he just kept saying that he was only following his sat-nav system. He then became very aggressive and insisted that he had taken me to the place that I asked for – how can a Rochford taxi driver assume that I meant the Hockley that is 150 miles away?’
‘I was in tears as he demanded the £340 that was showing on the meter, and when I explained his mistake he agreed that he would take me home at a discounted rate. We got back to my house at 5am and the whole round trip ended up costing me £640 as he refused to admit that he had made a mistake.’
‘I have complained to my local taxi authority and am waiting for their response.’
A spokesperson for the Rochford and Rayleigh Taxi Authority said: ‘We have received a complaint from a member of the public, and now that the driver has been identified we cannot comment on any investigation that is ongoing.’
‘As far as the law is concerned, it is the responsibility of the passenger to ensure that they make it clear when there are two places of the same name – even if one is only a couple of miles away and the other is over the other side of the country. Any complaint will be dealt with along the lines of this very clear part of the UK Hackney Carriage Passenger Code of Conduct.’
‘If a passenger does fall asleep and is unable to correct a taxi driver’s mistake, they would then be fully liable for any fare and additional fees that occur.’