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Behind the Meter: Exposing Taxi Scams in St Andrews

In the idyllic town of St Andrews, Fife, a concerning undercurrent has been discovered within the taxi industry. Over the course of a month, a series of fraudulent practices have been exposed. These deceptive acts, perpetrated by a significant minority of taxi operators, have been carried out at the expense of unsuspecting passengers.

One of the primary tactics uncovered involves the misuse of badges. In St Andrews, licensed taxi drivers are required to display badges issued by Fife Council. However, some rogue operators have been creating counterfeit badges by photocopying a genuine one, reprinting it, and then laminating the copy to pass off as legitimate.

Further, the manipulation of regulated taxi fares is another concern. Fife Council stipulates Rate 1 for day-time fares until 10pm and Rate 2 from 10pm until 6am, with an exception for trips outside Fife where Rate 2 can be applied. Alarmingly, some operators were found manipulating their meters to Rate 2 during the daytime and even bumping it up to Rate 3 in the evening, grossly overcharging customers.

Adding to the list of scams, a number of operators have been found using names strikingly similar to those of well-established companies. Variations on the names of Golf City Taxis, St Andrews Taxis, Club Cars, and St Andrews Shuttle are being falsely used to mislead customers, capitalising on the trust and reputation of these legitimate businesses.

There have also been instances of operators showing up at wedding venues, hotels, and events without bookings and falsely claiming to be from well-known companies. In this audacious act, they manage to steal pre-booked fares. These fraudulent drivers then give the customers their direct phone numbers, insisting that the official number for the company they’re impersonating has changed.

Lastly, it was revealed that some operators are purchasing fake reviews on Google Business, often numbering over 100, to bury any negative feedback from genuine customers. This tactic allows them to maintain high ratings and continue their deceptive practices largely unchecked.

This expose serves as a stark warning to residents and visitors in St Andrews. Always verify the identity of your driver, familiarise yourself with the regulated rates, and scrutinise reviews from multiple sources. Don’t fall victim to these crafty cons; ensure your taxi trip in St Andrews is as safe and fair as it should be.

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