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TAXI SOILING CHARGES: Civic or criminal courts if a passenger disputes payment?



Taxi journeys are a convenient mode of transportation for many individuals, but what happens when the cab becomes soiled during the ride? In such cases, passengers may incur extra charges known as "taxi soiling charges", which are aimed at compensating drivers for both their loss of earning time and the costs associated with cleaning the vehicle.


So what exactly constitutes a soiled cab? It can range from minor incidents like dropped food or drink stains to more severe cases such as vomit or other substantial messes. If the driver believes that the extent of the soiling prevents them from immediately taking another paying customer and requires professional cleaning, they have the right to demand a soiling charge from the passenger.

The cost of these charges can vary across different authorities, but it is not uncommon for the fee to be between £60-£100. This amount is intended to cover the lost earning time of the driver as they take the cab out of service for cleaning, as well as the expenses associated with professionally restoring the cleanliness of the vehicle.

It's essential that both passengers and drivers handle disputes regarding soiling charges with care. To ensure a fair resolution, it is recommended that both parties take photographs of the soiling, with the images clearly displaying the date and time of the incident. This evidence can then be used to support or counter any claims made during a dispute process.


If a soiling charge is disputed and the passenger refuses to pay it, the matter may escalate to the civic courts. It is important to note that failure to pay the soiling charge AND the fare, can be considered a criminal act under Bilking laws.


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