Posted: Fri 15th Mar 2024

Cardiff Taxis to Require Card Payments Alongside Cash from September

news.wales / newyddion.cymru

Hackney carriages in Cardiff will now be required to take card payments as well as cash from this year.
Cardiff Council’s public protection committee met to discuss the proposal at a meeting on Wednesday, March 13, with one member saying the update to the council’s policy was “long overdue”.
However, some councillors said that the updated policy suggested that taxi drivers could only go to work if they had a working method of taking card payments, raising concerns that drivers with technical faults would be penalised.
The committee eventually agreed to the proposal, which will come into effect from September 1, despite attempts by two members to amend it.
Cllr Marc Palmer said: “I think this is probably a long time over due legislation to be honest.”
Cardiff Council carried out a survey which asked members of the public and taxi drivers what they thought of the proposal.
Of the 252 taxi driver respondents, 42% thought there should not be a requirement to accept card payments; 33% thought there should; and 24% were unsure.
Of the 700 public respondents, 84% thought there should be a requirement to accept card payments.
Cllr Palmer said the results show that “this is something that is needed and I think the way that people live their lives now… we need that contactless method.”
His committee colleague, Cllr Sean Driscoll, said: “I am no fan of a cashless society, but… people who use taxis are clearly in favour of it and it gives people a choice.
“We are a capital city and we need to move with the times.”
In the report put to committee members, it shows that one of the conditions considered in a 2022 report on card payments suggested that drivers must notify the council if there is a fault with their card payment system and that they should arrange a repair or replacement within 48 hours.
However, on review of the proposed conditions, the council stated: “The requirement to notify the Licensing Department within 48 hours of a fault may cause confusion as it is a requirement that the device is operational at all times.”
Cllr Helen Gunter proposed an amendment, seconded by Cllr Jon Shimmin, that drivers would be required to notify the council within seven days if their card readers had a technical fault and that they should still be allowed to work during this time.
Cllr Gunter said she was “broadly in favour of the policy” but said the amendment was put forward to negate the risk of drivers losing out on business if they hadn’t got a working card machine.
Cllr Shimmin pointed out that whilst some card readers could be fixed or replaced in a matter of days, people could  be waiting up to five days for a replacement purchased online.
He added: “[With] other businesses you don’t say to them ‘your card reader isn’t working, you have to stay at home’.
“It isn’t fair to say that to taxi drivers.”
Licensing team manager at Cardiff Council, Dan Cook, said the new requirement would reduce the need for customers to be dropped off next to cash points and improve their safety in such circumstances if this was at night time.
He also said: “As fewer and fewer customers are carrying wallets and cards… we have received comments that customers preferred to use private hire [taxis].”
He also said there were a number of card readers on the market that had fail safes built into them, like the ability for people to use smart phones as card readers and an option for customers to be sent a text message to facilitate a payment through their phones.
On the proposed amendment, Mr Cook added that it would be “very difficult” to enforce a condition to report a technical failure with a card reader and correct it within a set time frame.
He said it would be “unenforceable” if the condition was set to seven days. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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