This evening is the second evening of our new 6pm to 6am pricing policy where we fix the fare to safe guard the customer and driver.
As part of communicating our current intervention measures, we are choosing to inform the public of how pricing policy changes affect working practices.
We have been monitoring the new policy being delivered from our call centre and all customers are very happy with the fare being fixed pre-journey. We clearly communicate the fare and the response has been one of ‘thanks’, where our customers are complimenting us on how we are able to fix the price for the best milage rather than rely on drivers administering the system with variances. Customers are advised over the telephone that they may be asked for the fare at the beginning of the journey and there have been no ‘issues’ raised by any customers travelling with us.
Lone female incident
This evening we have had a lone female incident that could have gone very wrong for both customer and driver. The incident included a single passenger wanting to travel to an undisclosed location near Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire who had been socially drinking day time. In this case, we are referring to an afternoons social fun in the bar next door to our office where the passenger was noted. Up on entering the office for the second time, the ‘would be customer’ struggled to give the post code of the destination some 40+ miles away, also offering to over pay the fare. The customer was advised about the fare being fixed with the total to pay and advised she may be asked to pay the driver on entering the vehicle.
As we understand, the passenger had decided to exit an existing cab and not travel along with her friend and be dropped at the train station.
What happened next?
After leaving the office and being escorted to the vehicle by the Absolute Cabs driver, it was understood the driver was POB (Passenger on board) and the journey was underway. 15 minutes later we received a distress call from the driver who said he needed a witness. Two members of the team, one male and one female left the office to offer assistance. Up on arrival the driver was outside the vehicle with the passenger inside the vehicle. The ‘would be passenger’ was claiming she had paid and was clearly distressed.
But where was the money? Absolute Cabs driver refused to transport the passenger because he had asked her to pay and her reply was “I have paid already”. As witnesses were present these scenes were understood and in clear sight. The driver walked away from his vehicle and left the passenger to talk to the female colleague that was present. Realising that the vehicle had no engine running and that the driver had refused to transport the passenger, the passenger decided to stand up out of the car. The male witness said “your bag is still in the car” and the ‘would be passenger’ turned around and aggressively said “don’t you touch my bag”, even though all had happened is the staff member said “you need your bag”. At this point all that was understood that the passenger is saying she had paid and that the driver was refusing to start the journey.
Moving away from the vehicle. Up on moving away from the vehicle one member of the team closed the open door of the vehicle and the driver was able to secure the vehicle with his key fob. Walking away from the vehicle the ‘would be passenger’ was clearly distressed and was starting to look upset. Absolute staff explained that the driver had refused to take her and that she would need to use another cab company. The passenger was directed to Alpha Mini Cabs on Sunny Bar however was insisting that she had made payment, but to the office. The call handler who booked the passenger was one of the witnesses and reassured her that no payment had been made to the office.
Advising of another cab firm
As part of our policy we advised the customer that there was another cab firm only 30metres away that would accept her booking and that they would happily allow her to pay at the end. As far as the Absolute team was concerned this was the end of the matter… however not all good stories end here.
Within 10 minutes the customer returned to the office. Not longer than 10 minutes later the ‘would be passenger’ returned to the office, this time with a member of staff from Relish who was on shift as a waitress. Hysteria broke loose in our foyer and the individual started crying and having several panic attacks. Our team were unable to understand exactly what the issue was due to the confusion and we decided to call 999. The operator advised that we would need an Ambulance rather than Police assistance and we were told an ambulance would arrive shortly.
After 30mins An ambulance did not arrive and thankfully for staff who walked the lady back in to our foyer, the situation remained calm despite the panic attacks. Over the next 10 minutes our call handler sat with the lady bringing more calmness allowing the staff member to return to her waitressing duties where she had been absent for half an hour. Our staff member managed to encourage the lady to phone her friend and was able to talk via Facetime to her friend and explain the situation. Immediately defending her friend ‘having money’ and asking where it was, our call handler asked the lady to look on her own person for the money. Reluctantly and quite unable, the lady searched her pockets and handbag repeatedly and nothing could be found, leaving to more accusation and distress. Our call handler re-enforced that no money had been taken and that the money her friend mentioned must be on her person.
Approximately an hour later in to this ordeal, the lady discovered she had £100 on her wrapped around her bank card. The money was stuck among her loose receipts and due to how inebriated, distressed and anxious the ‘would be passenger’ was it was clear just how difficult and confused this member of the public had become.
But what would have happened in Hull? Had our driver taken this customer to her destination without payment, what could have happened is that a dispute could have erupted with a lady alone. The driver taking the passenger was an Asian driver and no-doubt this would have been another slur on non-caucasian drivers about how the driver had attempted to rob, steal, over-charge and abuse the passenger.
Why has our new Pricing Policy come in?
We would like to remind both drivers and customers about the risks associated with allowing people to travel without first agreeing and fixing the price for travel. Furthermore, we are advising all customers and drivers that advance payment is so much safer for both parties. If you would like to read more about our recent news featured in Free Press (please read the article).
If you have any comments, you may comment below on this page.
We report to you that the Emergency Services did not arrive and that the ‘would be passenger’ did travel with us after her friend reassured her and did pay before her journey commenced in full witness of her friend on Facetime. We tracked the journey and 3minutes prior to the dropping off the passenger on the 51min journey the Ambulance service called to apologised for not being able to attend, asking how the patient was.
We hope that this event captured this evening communicates to our customers, would be passengers and general public the lengths to which our new safeguarding measures go. These measures really are here to protect the customer.
Please do comment, we look forward to hearing your opinions