Fri, Dec 01, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Taxi driver apologizes for overcharging

TARNISHED REPUTATION:Takao Nozaki said he hopes the city government will take the situation seriously and work harder to establish Tainan as a tourist destination

By Tsai Wen-chu and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A taxi driver surnamed Cheng (鄭), who on Sunday night overcharged Tainan City Government foreign affairs adviser Takao Nozaki and his two Japanese friends, on Monday apologized by telephone for his behavior, Nozaki said.

Tainan Bureau of Transportation and Tainan Police Department officials found Cheng on Sunday after Nozaki posted about the incident on social media.

Nozaki said in an interview that as he and his friends were returning from Tainan Flower Night Market (花園夜市) to the Silks Place Tainan hotel by taxi, Cheng drove at 85kph, ran a red light and charged them NT$200 for a 3km ride that should not have cost more than NT$120.

His friends had been enjoying their trip and felt that Taiwan was safe and friendly until the incident, which scared them and spoiled their mood, he said.

Nozaki expressed anger over the incident, which he said was the first time he encountered such an ill-intentioned driver in his 11 years in Taiwan, adding that he felt ashamed over the blemish on Tainan’s reputation.

Tainan needs to work harder to establish itself as an international tourist destination, Nozaki said, adding that many foreign tourists visit the night market, and that such behavior causes significant damage to the reputation of Tainan and the nation.

He said he hoped the government would take the situation seriously, make improvements and prevent similar incidents.

Cheng on Monday left his contact information at a branch of Nozaki’s restaurant chain, Mr Ramen, and received a callback that day, when he expressed his regret over the incident, Nozaki said.

The two friends learned about Cheng’s apology before they left for Japan on Monday, with Nozaki quoting them as saying that they were impressed with the government’s efficiency and that Taiwanese have a strong sense of justice.

The Tainan Public Transportation Office fined Cheng NT$9,000 under the Highway Act (公路法) for not charging passengers according to the taximeter, the bureau said.

Under the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act (道路交通管理處罰條例), drivers can be fined NT$1,500 for not placing their taxi driver license in a clearly visible area in the front seat, the police department’s Traffic Division said.

Nozaki is married to a Taiwanese woman and settled in Tainan two years ago.

Following the success of Mr Ramen, he established scholarship funds at National Cheng Kung University and National Taiwan University.

Last year, the city invited him to serve as an adviser on foreign affairs.

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