Melbourne man charged $468 after falling asleep in taxi

The customer confronted the taxi driver about why such a substantial fare would appear on the meter.

A Melbourne man is reeling after falling asleep in a taxi and waking up to an alarming $468 fare for an hour-long journey.

The man, who goes by Ryan on TikTok, posted footage of him confronting the taxi driver about the substantial charge from Melbourne Airport to the suburb of Berwick, which is 75km away.

"I just drive you from the airport. There's tolls on the way, there's a freeway," the taxi driver explained. "I'm a new taxi driver. I just know what the meter is saying, how are you going to pay buddy?"

According to an automated taxi fare calculator, the journey should've cost about $146 at night and a maximum of $161 during peak time. But what came up on the meter was almost three times more.

A photo of the fare which has come up on the taxi meter. A photo from google maps of the journey from Melbourne Airport to Berwick.
A Melbourne customer confronted a taxi driver for charging him $468 for a ride from Tullamarine Airport to Berwick. Source: TikTok/classyryan and Google Maps

When the customer tried to understand how his trip amounted to a whopping $468 after "falling asleep for 20/30 minutes," the driver became defensive.

"Buddy stop complaining about me okay... I'm a taxi driver not a bank manager," he aggressively said.

"I don’t usually complain but how do we figure this out?" the customer pressed.

"Buddy how about you pay the money and tomorrow you check what the f*** this is," the driver said before apologising for swearing when the customer called him out.

After presenting his card, Ryan noticed the card machine read $486.72 not $468, which may include the booking fee, government taxes and a card surcharge. "You’ve put more on there," he said, to which the driver responded with "buddy please just give me your card".

A photo of the amount on the card machine. A photo of a generic taxi car.
The early morning taxi ride from the airport totalled to $486.72. Source: TikTok/classyryan and Getty

'This is crazy'

Since early Tuesday morning, more than 308,000 people have viewed the video, which Ryan captioned "never fall asleep in a taxi".

"He saw a vulnerable human and took his chances. I wouldn’t be able to control myself in anger!" one person claimed. "I would [have] got him to drive me to the police station," another said.

"It’s like an advertisement for Uber," a third person joked.

Some also pointed out how rudely the taxi driver spoke to the customer. "The way the cab driver speaks to you for asking reasonable questions is a disgrace," a person commented.

Though others thought the fare made sense with all the surcharges. "Driver put surcharge prices and that’s almost tripled the money than it usually is," one person said. "When they put surcharge prices (rush hour $$) it’s always extra."

The video has now been deleted by the poster.

Taxi meters can be altered manually

Yahoo News Australia understands taxi drivers can legally negotiate a fare — whether that's higher or lower — with the customer before the journey commences. This can also be done with rideshare services like Uber. The fixed price should appear on the taxi driver's screen.

Though meters can also be altered manually to add extra charges, it's recommended customers request a receipt at the end of the trip explaining what the specific charges are such as booking fees and government levies. However, under 'extras' on the receipt, it doesn't specify what a customer is being charged for.

Any complaints should be taken up with the taxi company as well as a regulatory body such as the Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria (CPVV).

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