A taxi driver has been fined €300 for charging a passenger more than double the standard fare after collecting her from Dublin Airport.
Lee Hennessy of Barnewall Avenue, Dublin, was also ordered to pay another €350 in costs and witness expenses. He was prosecuted by the National Transport Authority (NTA) at Dublin District Court.
HSE worker Donna Murphy told Judge Anthony Halpin she just came back from London and waited outside Terminal One when a taxi arrived 10 minutes later, and she asked the driver to bring her to Ashtown in Dublin 15.
She said noticed €27.40 on the meter when she was just under 500 yards from home.
The driver then switched the metre off without explanation and told her the fare was €44 when he reached her building less than a minute later.
The witness said she thought he told her €24, but “he said no, €44, four-four, I didn't argue”.
She claimed the driver gave her three blank receipts and told her “to fill in whatever I wanted to”. The meter was still blank, she alleged.
She then went into her home and made a complaint.
NTA compliance officer Martin Bates told the court he ran a test journey along the same route; the maximum fare should have been around €20.80.
Hennessy owned the taxi, and no one else was logged on to use the vehicle on that date, the court was told.
He had two prior convictions for taxi regulation offences for operating a meter without moving and failing to link his details to a vehicle.
NTA solicitor Jason Teahan said Hennessy had been in contact and came to court earlier, but he had not engaged. He did not come back for the hearing on Monday.
Judge Halpin convicted him and fined him €300, which Hennessy must pay within a year.
He was also ordered to pay the same amount towards prosecution costs and €50 to the complainant.