Taxi drivers refused to take a young woman home late at night in Cheltenham because it would have been too short a journey for them, it has been claimed.
It has come from Agata Cybulska, who said on Facebook that she could not believe what happened to her at the town’s Promenade taxi rank.
She commented on a post on Cheltenham Guardians’ page after they said they were concerned that she had not been able to get a taxi shortly after 5am yesterday.
They said: “Due to the fact that her home was approximately one mile away, the driver(s) concerned refused the fare.
“The lady in question was not excessively in drink and was in full control of her faculties. There was no reason not to take her.
“Taxi drivers are bound by law to take a fare as long as the request is reasonable. This was a reasonable request.”
They added that the queue of taxis on the Promenade rank had been huge and they appreciated that any driver making the short journey would have to rejoin the back of the queue.
After revealing that Agata told them she was scared to be on her own and did not want to walk through the town centre, they took her home.
Agata said: “I honestly cannot thank you enough especially the lady and gent at Cheltenham Guardians who took me home and made sure I was safe when they saw me walking alone late at night through town.
“I tried two different taxi drivers who all refused to take me because the journey was too short and they wouldn’t make much money and would have to rejoin the queue.
“When I said ‘Are you going to let a 23-year-old female walk home on her own at this time?’, they closed the window and pulled forward.”
She said she was glad that people commenting on the page were concerned for her safety but she had been surprised at the attitude of the drivers.
She said: “I couldn’t believe it! I offered to pay more too and they were not having any of it.
“I started to walk home until the emergency vehicle spotted me. They were amazing!”
Agata said she knew she should not have been on her own but she had been at the Under The Prom nightclub and felt it was okay to make the two-minute walk to the taxi rank on the Promenade.
She said she had never had an issue before when doing the same thing.
But other people commenting on the post said they had also experienced the same kind of thing in the past.
Maria Mitchell said: “This happens all the time along the Prom. I used to get refused when I lived at the bottom of St George's Road.
“I started walking in the end and had a few unpleasant propositions. There is a minimum fare so it's really wrong.”
Cheltenham Guardians added: “We have a positive relationship with many of Cheltenham's taxi drivers and in the past we have been in a position to help each other out.
“We have seen taxi drivers go above and beyond what is required of them at our request and for this we're very grateful. However, we would like to remind drivers that they have a duty of care to service users and safety and security can never be compromised.
“It is our job to ensure patrons of Cheltenham's night time economy are safe and we will hold to account those who fall short of good practice in this respect.
“Going forward, we hope that this incident remains an isolated one.”
The voluntary organisation, which helps people while on a night out in the town, said it would be taking the matter up with the borough council, which controls the licences issued to drivers using taxi ranks in the town.
The council’s licensing team leader, Louis Krog, said: “Taxi drivers are not allowed to refuse a fare if the journey starts and ends within the district, irrespective of how short a distance a fare may be.
“We would encourage the lady in question to contact us to assist us in identifying the taxi in question to enable us to take the appropriate action.
“We expect all our licensed taxis to operate in a way that is compliant with their legal obligation and local policies and byelaws.”