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A mysterious investigation reveals that one in three Parisian taxis do not accept credit cards.

French Mobility Minister Clément Beaune warned on social network X that one in three taxis in Paris refused payment by credit card. Certainly relevant in view of the Olympic Games that will be held in France in about 200 days. The minister announced that controls and sanctions will be strengthened. When inquiring in other EU countries, it turned out that the taxi sector also has a problem with the acceptance of credit cards there.  

According to the digital platform Passenger Transport Magazine Minister Beaune drew his information from a surprising statistic. After a mystery test conducted on December 31, researchers found that “one in three Parisian taxis” refused payment by credit card. “I have already told the taxi industry: this is illegal and unacceptable. We will tighten controls and sanctions. Let this be clear to everyone, especially a few months before the Games.” Millions of visitors are expected for the Games in the French capital Paris alone. National and local government and the taxi industry hope that taxis will play an important role during the Games. Well before the start of the Games, the Paris government is increasing the number of wheelchair-accessible vehicles.   

According to Beaune, one in three Parisian taxis refuses payment by bank card, even though they have been legally obliged to accept it for eight years. A news crew from TF1 TV verified the minister's mysterious 'statistics' on January 1. At one of Paris' busiest train stations, Gare du Nord, they discovered that the first taxi did not accept credit cards: “The terminal is not working,” the driver said. But the second driver accepted credit cards, but understands colleagues who do not accept credit cards. “The bank terminal costs us 35 euros per month and the costs are 0,13%,” he explains. 

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Preparations for the Olympic Games in France, which take place in approximately 200 days, present a range of logistical and operational challenges. One of the issues that has attracted attention recently is the taxi industry, especially the acceptance of credit cards by taxi drivers.

Hélène Manceron, editor-in-chief of 100%Taxis, the leading French taxi magazine, calls the Mobility Minister's claims 'unfounded'. 'Some taxis still try to avoid accepting cards, but it is a very small minority. Times have changed since the 2016 Grandguillaume Law, which restructured the taxi sector. For seven years, they risk a fine upon inspection if their payment terminal is missing or even if they have one that does not work.” She calls it a typical case of 'taxi bashing' - denigrating the taxi sector - purely to gain political attention at the end of the year. 

“Taxis affiliated with taxi companies such as G7 or Alpha Taxis have been accepting credit cards for a long time. Non-affiliated taxis generally have SumUp type on-board terminals that do not charge a bank subscription and offer fairly minimal commissions. 

“So why did our Mobility make this statement?” asks Manceron. “At this point I have no other explanation than spreading an old prejudice about the taxi sector. The mysterious research he claims to have conducted is just as dubious as the results he announces, because he does not cite a source. A bit frivolous for a state representative pointing the finger at the taxi industry.”  

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For Nordine Dahmane, president of the CFTC Taxis trade union, strengthening controls and increasing the fine to much more than the current 68 euros is not a solution. “We are not going to solve the problem through repression. Most taxis are happy to accept card payments and one day we will be able to do this 100%,” he assures. He also adds that taxis that accept cards can better compete with Uber & Co. 

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