The trial of six taxi drivers accused of ripping off passengers has begun in Prague. They could face up to eight years in prison for fraud after being caught levying up to CZK 200 a kilometre when the maximum amount permitted is CZK 28. One of the drivers admitted overcharging customers but told the judges on Tuesday that in most cases they had been aware of the price before he took them to their destinations. A former official from Prague’s taxis authority is also standing trial in the case.
Tests for future taxi drivers in part of the Czech Republic including the capital could soon get a little harder, requiring more than geographical knowledge or how to operate a taximeter. Under an amendment being prepared by the Transport Ministry, individual municipalities could opt for stricter rules, for example, requiring taxi drivers to complete psychological and foreign-language tests.
The sharing economy is one of those vogue terms that can perhaps best be explained by some of the concepts which have been made possible by the Internet, digital applications, and credit cards. Crowd funding is one. Others are flat and house renting applications such as Airbnb or Booking, or perhaps one of the most famous of all, the car renting and delivery service, Uber. But they have often clashed with tradition sectors of the economy, like hotels and taxi firms, and authorities are looking on and wondering whether to regulate.
Around 200 taxi drivers protested on Prague’s main highway in the centre of the city early on Monday morning. Only one lane of the normally busy highway was left free for traffic. The protest was called by the Association of Taxi Concessionaries against what they describe as unfair completion from unlicensed taxi drivers using such services as Huber. They also want to highlight the stalled talks with Prague City Hall about higher permitted fares. Talks between licensed taxi drivers and town hall officials collapsed in November last year.
Journalist Janek Rubeš has long reported on crooked cabbies in Prague who overcharge visiting tourists many times the regular amount. Taking an apparent cue from the internet programme Prague vs. Crooks, the police conducted an operation which has now seen seven people – six taxi drivers and a former civil servant at City Hall – arrested. The gathering of evidence took months and the cornerstone was testimony from tourists themselves.
Police in Prague have charged seven people in connection with overcharging tourists for taxi rides in the capital. Six of them are taxi drivers and the seventh is an official at City Hall suspected of taking bribes to leak information on planned checks, a spokesperson for the police said on Friday. The seven are facing charges of conspiracy to defraud. The police arrested the taxi drivers earlier this week. It was the first time they had taken such action in connection with overcharging.
Police are reported to have arrested a number of Prague taxi-drivers suspected of overcharging tourists. According to the news site ihned.cz the police had been monitoring them for some time and had collected enough proof against them to press charges. Although Prague taxi-drivers are notorious for ripping off foreign visitors, this is the first time that the police have taken action against them. The state attorney dealing with the case has confirmed the news, but refused to specify how many drivers may be charged.
An inspection of the city’s taxis service has revealed that more than a third of Prague taxi drivers rip off their clients. According city hall inspectors 6 out of 16 taxi drivers upped the price and some even failed to switch on their meter. The city hall wants to introduce tougher rules for taxi drivers and increase controls.
Prague taxi drivers have announced a planned blockade of streets in the city centre on Tuesday. The precise route of the protest has not been disclosed. They are protesting against Prague City Hall’s plans to tighten regulations governing the service in the wake of numerous complaints from the public and tourists. According to City Halls plans all taxi drivers in Prague should gradually undergo tough new street knowledge and language tests. Prague City Hall has announced that it will boost public transport on the day of the protest.