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Call for all licensed taxi drivers in Medway to accept card payment

It could soon be compulsory for all licensed taxi drivers across Medway to accept card payment – despite significant opposition from some cabbies.

A recent survey among drivers showed that 52% were in favour of implementing the new policy.

Taxis in Medway will soon have to accept card payments
Taxis in Medway will soon have to accept card payments

The 48% against cited inadequate mobile data signal data in certain areas and extra charges incurred by card transactions as reasons for opposing the plan.

While 60% of members of Medway Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (MLTDA) already take non-cashless fares, the issue to make it mandatory was highlighted during lockdown with passengers considering it a safer and more convenient form of payment.

It also highlighted safeguarding issues with examples of some people stranded late at night because they did not have cash on them.

Now Medway Council, which licences to MLTDA drivers, is calling for electronic payment devices to be installed in the entire licensed and private hire fleet.

Nigel Jackson, MLTDA chairman, said: “Several issues were raised by the trade during this consultation, the main sticking point being the signal outages in parts of Medway especially in the Hoo Peninsula.

Nigel Jackson, chairman of Medway Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association
Nigel Jackson, chairman of Medway Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association

“In order for a card transaction to be made in the vehicle there needs to be a mobile data signal present. Since mid 2020 the mobile data signal strength has improved considerably with the introduction of 5g networks and in general there has been a vast improvement of mobile data signals across the whole of Medway.”

Some were concerned they would be out-of-pocket if the card was declined for some reason.

He added: “It must be pointed out that several of our senior Taxi and Private Hire drivers do have difficulty in using technology. Some drivers are technophobic so using a card reader/terminal to take payment efficiently will be a big hurdle to overcome

“The MLTDA team is always there as a support network for any driver that may face difficulty. If the card mandate is authorised by the committee the MLTDA team intends to set up workshops to assist and advise any driver that may have difficulty in adapting to this new method of payment

The council’s licensing meeting will meet on Wednesday to discuss the proposal.

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