Taxi drivers reportedly charging higher fares citing GST hike

Taxi captured driving on Majeedhee Magu in Male' City. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Citing the hike in Goods and Services Tax (GST), some taxi drivers have begun charging customers extra contrary to the approved fares by the Transport Ministry.

Several people who regularly use taxi service reported to Sun that some taxi drivers are once again charging their own fares, this time, citing the hike in GST.

“When asked to go from Male’ to airport, a taxi driver said MVR 85. I said that was not the correct price. The driver said fares have been increased due to tax hike,” a person who is a regular taxi user told Sun under the condition of anonymity. 

The person detailed asking the driver to call the taxi centre in order to confirm the fares.

“When the driver called, the taxi centre read out the Ministry’s fares. Then only the driver believed,” the person recalled.

Many taxi users have had similar experiences recently. Some drivers are also charging extra from customers travelling within Male’.

“It is very usually now to charge MVR 35. Usually now only meeting drivers who charge MVR 35,” another person who is a regular taxi user told Sun.

Drivers charging extra from customers have reportedly told them it was the fares set by their reporting taxi centres.

However, Sun’s conversations with taxi centres showed that all taxi centres are charging the fares set by Transport Ministry.

“Our fares are the same fares last set by taxi centres,” an official who spoke to Sun from Fine Taxi said.

Taxi centres said that they are unaware of drivers charging extra from customers.

“Drivers have been instructed to charge Transport Ministry’s fares. However, we will not know what they are actually charging,” an official from Kuleedhuveli said.

Transport Ministry states that action will be taken against taxi centres if customers are charged higher. First-time offenders will be fined, while repeat offenders will see further action in accordance with the regulations.

“We received reports of higher fares at the end of last year as well,” Deputy Transport Minister Hamadh Abdul Ghanee told Sun on Tuesday.

Transport Ministry last changed the taxi fares in last year’s July after taxi drivers staged multiple protests following the increased prices of oil.

Updated taxi fares:

  • Male, Hulhumale Phase I and Phase II: MVR 30
  • Male' to Hulhumale Phase I and Hulhumale Phase I: MVR 85
  • Male' to Hulhumale Phase II and Hulhumale Phase II: MVR 100
  • Male' to Hulhule and Hulhule to Male': MVR 70 
  • Hulhumale Phase I to Hulhule and Hulhule and Hulhumale Phase I: MVR 80 
  • Hulhumale Phase II to Hulhule and Hulhule to Hulhumale Phase II: MVR 85
  • Hulhumale Phase I to Hulhumale Phase II and within Phase II: MVR 40

Transport Ministry has urged the public to report taxi drivers charging higher fares.