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The Block host Scott Cam calls out NSW taxis for ‘ripping off’ passengers

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Australian television presenter Scott Cam is calling out NSW cab drivers for “ripping off” passengers by refusing to turn the meter on.

Cam, best known as the host of The Block, said he wasn’t aware of the issue until he jumped in a taxi – something he said he doesn’t often do – with his wife on Friday.

He said the taxi driver informed him the ride to the requested address was going to be $45 and when Cam asked for the meter to be put on instead, the driver refused.

“We got out with a few choice words and we walked up the road and got an Uber for $27 to the same address,” he told Ben Fordham on 2GB on Monday.

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Cam said his biggest concern was for his kids, like if his daughter was trying to get a ride home on a night out.

He said she would be forced to either cop the price set by the taxi driver or be “exposed” while waiting around to try and get an Uber.

“We’ve got to stamp this out, mate,” he said. “They’re ripping kids off. They’re ripping people off. You and I can afford to get a cab but, you know, kids can’t, trying to get home late at night and that’s what worries me.”

Cam said he only discovered the issue was “rife” after speaking to others after his own experience.

“My daughter said to me ‘that happens in every cab ride.’”

Fordham also shared one of his own experiences where a taxi driver had refused to turn on the meter, and he read out other complaints he received from listeners.

“I’ve had the same issue with taxis. $40 after the races from Randwick to Coogee. We didn’t realise the meter wasn’t on until we got to Coogee,” one said.

“We were asked to pay $100 from Olympic Park to Parramatta after the NRL grand final,” said another.

A producer on the show said he was charged $30 for a 2.6km trip after the driver refused to turn on the meter on Sunday night.

In a statement to the program, the NSW Taxi Council said it had raised the complaint with the Point to Point Transport Commission Regulator, “as they have the power to fine and prosecute drivers.”

“It is unacceptable and need to work with the regulator to stop this,” the statement said.

“In Rank & Hail, it is illegal for drivers to refuse a fare and they need to run the meter.”

In a recent media release, the The Point to Point Transport Commission said its compliance team had been out on the streets to deter this type of behaviour from taxi drivers.

Commissioner, Anthony Wing said the “presence of my compliance team at a number of major events in Sydney and throughout NSW is helping to deter illegal and unsafe driver behaviour at these locations”.

Drivers must use the taxi meter during a rank and hail trip and, under no circumstances can a driver negotiate or demand a fare that is different to the metered fare – with exception to tolls where applicable.

A fine of $300 applies for failure to use the meter.

“My compliance team of Authorised Officers continue to have a visible presence at targeted locations throughout NSW. Since the start of October, they have inspected more than 600 vehicles (taxis, hire car and rideshare)” Mr Wing said.

“The safety of drivers and passengers will always be my absolute priority and any instance where drivers are not following the law is unacceptable. As we go into the festive period we will be continuing to be out in force.”

Read related topics:Sydney

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