Transport for London has warned Taxi drivers that they risk enforcement action if caught charging passengers more than the metered fare.
The warning comes after Taxi booking app Hailo announced a minimum fare policy of £10 between 6am-10pm and £15 between 10pm-6am.
The app allows passengers to pre-book Taxis from their smartphone and tablet.
In a blog post announcing the new minimum fare, Hailo said: Let’s look at this from a driver’s perspective. Understandably, they want to spend as much time as possible with a passenger on board.
“When they’re offered a Hailo job, they are happy to drive to the pickup location and wait a couple of minutes, but all that time is non-earning time. They may pass people with their hand out on the way to picking you up. So it can be quite disappointing if the resulting job is 200 yards down the road to the shop.
“In order to give you the most chance of getting a cab when you want one, we need every driver to know that the job is worth accepting – and that means guaranteeing them a reasonable minimum fare.”
London Taxis are licensed by TfL and subject to a fares policy set by the Mayor, this includes a minimum fare of £2.40.
Commenting on Hailo’s announcement, Helen Chapman, TfL’s General Manager for Taxi and Private Hire, told MayorWatch: “We are investigating complaints about Hailo introducing a minimum fare policy.
“It is against the licensing regulations for any taxi driver to charge a customer more than the metered fare. Action will be taken against any driver found to be doing so.”
TfL says passengers wishing to book a licensed taxi or minicab can download its free app, Cabwise, at www.tfl.gov.uk/cabwise.
Hailo have been asked to respond to TfL’s comments.