Columnist, Veronica Clark: At least Turpin wore a mask

Taxis queuing
Taxis queuing
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My hero of the week has to be mother-of-five, Caroline Coyle, who filmed and shamed a taxi driver after he charged her a shocking £33 for a four-mile cab ride home.

Caroline, 45, had been on a night out in Nottingham, when she caught a taxi back to her home in nearby Arnold. On previous trips, the taxi ride usually set her back around £11.

He got ‘lost’ so many times that I felt like kicking him out, climbing in the driver’s seat, and taking us there myself. Instead, like complete suckers, we paid up because we didn’t like to ‘cause a scene’.

So you can imagine her surprise when she was ordered to pay three times as much. Instead of coughing up, the outraged mum decided to film the whole thing on her mobile phone after the driver refused to let her get out without paying.

He then stepped out of the cab, allegedly locking Caroline and her two friends inside, while he telephoned the police. To add insult to injury, he then drove the three friends to a police station with the meter still ticking.

The eventual fare added up to a staggering £42, but Caroline refused to back down and continued to film the exchange between herself and the indignant taxi driver.

She then posted the resulting footage on both YouTube and Facebook, where it has been viewed more than 140,000 times. Good for her. It’s about time someone stood up to some of these cab drivers.

Caroline was so incensed by the hefty cab fare home that she took her complaint (and film footage) to her local council, which she hopes may now revoke his licence.

“I don’t want to see people lose their livelihood or anything, but it is wrong.” She insisted. “It’s important to make people aware of this. It is not on.”

Too right, it’s not on. According to the council, a standard taxi fare is £3.10 for the first 1.5km, and 13p per 100 metres. After 11pm, drivers can add another 25 per cent, making it £3.88 and 25p per 100 metres.

Now, maths has never been my strong point, but how that adds up to £33.26, I do not know. A four mile journey (approx 6.5km) should be more around the £11.38 mark.

The council has since confirmed the driver, who is self-employed, could have his licence scrapped or suspended if he is found to be breaching the conditions of it.

The police? Well, unsurprisingly, they didn’t want to get involved and called it a ‘civil dispute’. But what has she done wrong, other than stand up for herself?

I only wish I’d have been as quick-thinking as Caroline, when a conman cab driver charged a whopping £55 to drop me and two friends off at Leeds Festival from the city centre several years ago.

He got ‘lost’ so many times that I felt like kicking him out, climbing in the driver’s seat, and taking us there myself. Instead, like complete suckers, we paid up because we didn’t like to ‘cause a scene’.

It was an expensive lesson learnt, but it was still daylight robbery. At least Dick Turpin had the decency to wear a mask.