Montrealer swears off taxis over continued refusals to take debit and credit cards

Taxi debit machine

A Montreal man says he'd rather walk than ever take a taxi again after he got into a fight with a cab driver because he wanted to pay with a debit card.

Randy Spriggs says he hailed a cab Friday night outside Mount Royal Metro station to go meet friends in the area.

When he arrived at his destination, he says the driver became upset when he tried to pay with his debit card.

"He kept on trying to persuade me to pay in other ways, saying ‘You’re wasting my time, you’re wasting my time,’” Spriggs recalled. “Finally I told him, this is why Uber exists and he told me ‘Next time, take a f—king Uber.’”

The driver finally relented and let him pay after Spriggs informed him it was illegal for taxis to refuse debit and credit cards, he said.

“I was pretty shocked,” he said. “I thought with all the backlash and being in the media talking about how Uber is hurting them, they would try to improve their customer service.”

Cab drivers say they understand why their fellow drivers still refuse to accept debit and credit cards, as the taxi company takes a seven per cent cut of all card transactions.

“When people give a tip and they put in the amount, they’re going to take seven per cent so I'm going to lose seven per cent,” Steve Lambert said, speaking to CTV Montreal from the front seat of his cab. 

Spriggs says that's no excuse for bad service.

"I work in customer service and you just have to treat people with a bit of respect," he told CJAD 800 News.

It's been mandatory for Montreal taxis to accept debit and credit cards since October 2015.

Despite the new payment rules, the Montreal Taxi Bureau says the customer must still pay the fare even if the driver refused to accept a credit or debit card. The bureau advises to file a complaint.

-with files from CTV Reporter Kelly Greig