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Credit card payments and data network outages, what are TfL's regulations?

7 Sep 2019

Are drivers allowed to use alternative systems?

Over the last few months there have been a number of mobile phone and data network failures hitting the UK. 

 

As mobile phone companies update their networks from 4G to 5G those temporary outages could increase according to a source at O2 who said: "We do complete upgrades on our masts from time to time which may mean your signal may come and go, whilst we do this."

This has left a number of taxi drivers with problems in operating app-based services and processing credit card payments in some areas.

 

With taxi drivers in London being compelled to have a fixed credit card system in the rear of their vehicle, should that system suffer a network failure the driver's options become somewhat limited.

 

With some driver's mobile phone network differing from their credit card system provider’s data network, many cabbies have taken to carrying a "back-up" system to alleviate a situation where a customer could be inconvenienced and driver facing a struggle to be paid.

 

However, according to Transport for London (TfL) this practice is strictly prohibited, with the taxi and private hire regulator saying: "If there is a documented network-wide outage affecting many card payment devices, affected drivers should advise passengers - before accepting a fare - that they cannot take a card payment and why. 

 

"Advise passengers that cash payments can be taken and offer to take them to a cashpoint. Under no circumstances should drivers use an alternative, non-fixed card payment device."

 

TfL have also said: "A driver found to be using any unapproved device also may have their fitness to be licensed reviewed."

 

Image Source: TaxiPoint

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