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Taxi Meter Mishap: How do you approach passengers when you forget to start the meter?

Updated: Feb 19


Image credit: Dynamo Motors

In the world of taxi driving, an all-too-human error can occur: forgetting to turn on the meter. While this mistake can put drivers in a tricky spot, there are professional ways to manage the situation without compromising on service or integrity.


First and foremost, drivers are reminded that they are legally bound to charge only what is displayed on the meter. If the meter wasn't activated, this inadvertently benefits the passenger with a lower fare.

It's a moment for transparency; informing passengers about the oversight might not only clear the air but also invite a sense of goodwill. Often, passengers appreciate the honesty and may offer a tip to offset the reduced fare, especially when they recognise they're receiving unexpected savings.


Regular passengers, those who travel the same route with familiarity, may understand the usual cost of their journey. In these instances, it's common for passengers to contribute the customary fare, acknowledging the usual expense of their daily commute.


However, not every scenario lends itself to easy resolution. When language barriers arise or passengers are unfamiliar with standard UK taxi fares, explaining the oversight becomes more challenging. Taxi drivers might find it difficult to convey the situation to tourists or non-English speakers, necessitating a degree of acceptance of the reduced fare as a loss on their part.

Moreover, there will always be a segment of passengers who welcome the cheaper ride without consideration for the driver. In such cases, professionalism is paramount. Taxi drivers are advised to maintain their composure, accept the outcome with grace, and move on to the next customer.


It goes without saying that this situation highlights the importance of routine checks before commencing any journey, ensuring the meter is active to avoid potential fare discrepancies. But… mistakes will always happen.

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