MyTaxi have been forced to issue a statement clarifying a new €5 cancellation charge on taxis booked through their service following outrage online.

The popular taxi app released updated terms and conditions earlier this week, one of which detailed that passengers would now be charged a €5 cancellation fee every time they cancel a pre-booked service after two minutes.

According to an FAQ on the cancellation fee on the MyTaxi website, a €5 charge will also be put on a passenger’s account “if [they] are not at the pick up address within 5 minutes of the taxi driver’s arrival”, leading to the taxi driver cancelling your order.

For cash customers, if there is no card associated with the account, it is possible that their MyTaxi account may face suspension until they can pay the cancellation fee.

This fee is expected to be implemented across the service by the end of June.

A ride sharing service, which MyTaxi are calling a ‘Match’ service is also in the pipeline.

Similar to Uber Pool that currently operates in other territories, passengers travelling in the same direction will share a taxi and split the cost.

Many users of the app sounded off online following the announcement, with many outraged that customers would be charged for cancellations they made, despite numerous drivers allegedly cancelling bookings on customers that had booked through MyTaxi, or took a lengthy period to reach the waiting passenger.

Following the anger across social media, MyTaxi have today released a statement explaining the introduction of the new charges, and that they understand cancellations by drivers are a frustration for customers.

The statement reads: “To reduce the number of passenger cancellations on the mytaxi app and to boost fleet efficiency to  meet surging demand, particularly at peak times, mytaxi is introducing a €5 passenger cancellation fee in late June.  

“This fee is in line with industry practice in Ireland and is already applied by a number of our competitors here.  In the UK, a £5 fee applies.

This is a charge we never want our passengers to incur and is intended to change behaviour when our fleet is most under pressure and to boost the reliability of our service when our customers most need it.

This new cancellation policy is intended to change certain passengers’ behaviour and will only apply if there is a cancellation two minutes after the hail has been accepted by a mytaxi driver, or if the passenger is not at the correct location within 5 minutes of the driver’s arrival.

“This policy will only come into effect following a six-week notification period now in operation during which passengers are being informed on the app that cancellations two or more minutes after a hail is accepted will soon incur a charge.

“We also understand that driver cancellations can be extremely frustrating for passengers, and we have managed to reduce these to an all-time low.  

“This follows an ongoing, successful campaign actioned by mytaxi which has included offering drivers financial incentives to support quality service provision, educating drivers on their passenger-focused obligations, and clear terms and conditions that must be complied with for drivers to use the mytaxi app.

“We are confident that mytaxi drivers will continue to offer an ever-improving and market-leading service to customers in Ireland.  

“This policy change will enable mytaxi to service more customers and expand our fleet to support greater reliability in the long-run.”