A DISABLED woman has hit out at a huge fare hike from one of Swindon’s biggest private hire cab firms for passengers who pay using a bank card.

V Cars, based at Groundwell Industrial Estate, introduced a new policy on June 15, meaning passengers, regardless of journey length, must pay a minimum of £30, plus VAT, if they pay by credit or debit card.

Caitlin Crennell, 31, of Eldene, who found out about the change the hard way following a relatively short journey, wants to warn others to either pay in cash or be prepared to pay the hike.

She said: “We are used to small firms charging around 50p extra for a card transaction. A charge of £30 plus VAT (£36) for a taxi journey that normally costs, for example, around £12 represents a massive surcharge of more than 100 per cent on the normal bill.

“This is the age of card payment. Many of us habitually do not carry cash because it is easier and safer to carry a card.

“But beware: you may find yourself paying through the nose if you ask V Cars to take you where you want to go.”

Caitlin, a librarian at the Science Museum Library in Wroughton, needs lifts from family members or taxi drivers to get around because she has dyspraxia, fibromyalgia and congenital nerve deafness.

She ended up paying extra after a journey between the Science Museum Library and Thamesdown Hydrotherapy Pool, in Jefferies Avenue, Swindon. She spent £36 on a trip that, had she paid cash, would have only cost £12.

Caitlin, who claimed the change had not been advertised, said: “The driver offered to try to find a cash point but as I am disabled it makes it difficult for me to hop in and out of cars quickly.

“I don’t know if any of the other taxi firms have also switched to this policy of overcharging people who want to pay my credit or debit card.”

V Cars confirmed that the price increase had come into effect through a policy change, but the company was not able to confirm the date it came into force.

In a statement, it said: “If this single customer is unhappy with their treatment, they should contact us and we will discuss that with them.”