Looking at the taxis again

By 3 August, 2009 26

Chief Stanhope is announcing yet another review of the taxi industry.

    Commencing in August 2009, the review will include an assessment of the supply of standard and wheelchair accessible taxi (WAT) licences; fare structures; and the level of industry regulation.

    “Canberrans and visitors to our city deserve to have reasonable access to taxi services that meet their needs,” Mr Stanhope said. “This review will consider the difficulties faced by some operators and suggest a way forward to improve taxi services in the ACT.”

The main focus of the media release is on wheelchair accessible taxi (WAT) licences.

Maybe we need to examine whether asking the private taxi industry to provided transport access to the disabled is actually a smart thing to do.

Or should it be run as a government service?

Disabled transport

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UPDATED: The Greens’ Amanda Bresnan is congratulating herself apparently the “action” of holding another review is the electric response of a Government with a green blowtorch to its belly.

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26 Responses to Looking at the taxis again
#1
Clown Killer10:37 am, 03 Aug 09

Canberra taxis. Ridiculously expensive, unreliable, poorly trained. Unless the Government can guarantee that it will do something to address those issues this inquiry is just another waste of time.

#2
YouWhat10:40 am, 03 Aug 09

Going back a good few years, I worked on a project with a severely disabled wheelchair-bound lady who regularly had to wait in excess of two or three hours for a WAT to show up. There were only two in service for the whole of Canberra, and strangely enough, there would be significant delays, even though booked well in advance. The impact on this lady’s life was to make a bad situation worse; she simply couldn’t commit to being anywhere on time and wasted hours of her life waiting for transport. If the situation is anything like that today, then yep, I’m all in favour of a dedicated Govt service.

#3
caf10:47 am, 03 Aug 09

The taxi industry ought to be able to provide the service more efficiently, since they can use the WATs as regular taxis when they’re not needed as a WAT. Government cars (and their drivers) woul

#4
caf10:47 am, 03 Aug 09

The taxi industry ought to be able to provide the service more efficiently, since they can use the WATs as regular taxis when they’re not needed as a WAT. Government cars (and their drivers) would likely be sitting around idle a lot of the time.

#5
peterh11:02 am, 03 Aug 09

Clown Killer said :

Canberra taxis. Ridiculously expensive, unreliable, poorly trained. Unless the Government can guarantee that it will do something to address those issues this inquiry is just another waste of time.

this is exactly the reason why I stopped driving multis.

Watch a driver try to make a wheelchair bound client comfortable whilst their carer tells them that they are “doing it wrong” or “what took you?”, when the last fare was completely the other side of canberra, you start to wonder why the hell you are driving multis.

We did it then to help others. It isn’t a great job, it pays the bills, but you were helping someone get out and about. And the gratitude from some of the clients made it all worthwhile.

The other side of the coin were the people who made it a hard task to help, who expected you to be there for them, who refused to assist, and made each time you took their person in care an absolute nightmare.
It isn’t an easy job with the ramps, the gas lifts are better.

#6
Granny11:41 am, 03 Aug 09

I agree with caf. Per the DDA a person with a disability has as much right as anybody else to be able to access a service used by the rest of the public.

#7
Clown Killer11:45 am, 03 Aug 09

I wasn’t having a go at the WAT guys – I have no experience of that. It’s the regular cabs that sh!t me to tears. More than twice the cost over the same distance than other cities, turning up on time for a booking is a pleasant surprise rather than the norm and having no idea how to get to your destination.

If I can, I book a limo service now rather than use a cab, for the extra bucks you get a driver that turns up when required (and waits patiently if you’re not quite ready), in a clean car, and takes you where you want to go.

#8
Wraith11:46 am, 03 Aug 09

Competition, but that won’t happen here

#9
VYBerlinaV8_the_one_12:11 pm, 03 Aug 09

Same old problems: too expensive, unreliable.

Competition is part of the answer, but when the base costs (taxi plate lease and car costs) are high, there’s probably not a lot of cream in it anyway.

#10
AG Canberra12:52 pm, 03 Aug 09

Proper regulation is what’s required.

When there are half a dozen assistance jobs on the screens at the despatch office – and the mulit’s are sitting at the airport rank is when the whole system breaks down.

They already get their plates subsidised – every time they do ‘normal’ work when there are assistance bookings in they should be fined – and fined heavily.

#11
peterh1:01 pm, 03 Aug 09

AG Canberra said :

Proper regulation is what’s required.

When there are half a dozen assistance jobs on the screens at the despatch office – and the mulit’s are sitting at the airport rank is when the whole system breaks down.

They already get their plates subsidised – every time they do ‘normal’ work when there are assistance bookings in they should be fined – and fined heavily.

Agreed. i never worked the ranks, I was too busy with the assistance jobs. and they were all over canberra. What the taxi industry needs is better defined competition, not the purchase of brands from outside of canberra by aerial, but actual companies, with bases, and fleets. cab express or aerial. we need more choices.

technology updates wouldn’t go astray either – using gps and location based computer systems would make it much easier to pull a car off rank and to a job…

#12
basketcase3:17 pm, 03 Aug 09

The government should run it for a few years, get the costings, then send back to private enterprise with a subsidy based on their experience.

At the moment they want people to work for peanuts. They get what they pay for.

They will never do it, it would cost a fortune.

Better for the government to have an organization they can harass and get brownie points at the same time.

Shortage of doctors too, wonder when the government will start on them ha ha.

#13
caf4:19 pm, 03 Aug 09

Empirically it doesn’t look like taxis here are overpriced, since we don’t see anyone making windfall profits from running taxis.

#14
AG Canberra4:36 pm, 03 Aug 09

caf – operators are still selling their plates for 250k. Not that many small businesses sell for that type of money. And most owners have multiple plates so are able to do deals with servicing and repairs etc.

The drivers earn minimum wage for 40 hours work. There is money to be made but only by the operators, the owners and Cabcharge. The people that actually do the work are the ones that earn the least.

#15
Devil_n_Disquiz8:28 pm, 03 Aug 09

Cabs are expensive. I agree. Thats why you should buy a bike or a good set of Nikes.

But looking at other cab companies fare structures, based on a 10k trip, this is what you could expect to pay (taking into accounts different rates, radio hiring fees that some companies have and other incidentals)

CANBERRA: $21.90 – $24.50
QLD: $22.80 – $26.10
WA: $18.30 – $21.90
Sydney: $24.60 – 28.40

Thats based on no stopping or traffic. I suspect in Canberra you would pay less for your 10k’s than you would in Sydney or Brisbane.

As for the poorly trained part…I AGREE. I mean..you would think a Canberra Cabbie would know where the Hyatt is. Not the driver that took some folks from the airport 2 nights ago, who were in my cab today. I have been asked by other driver to direct them to Kaleen, West Row, Forrest Motor Inn, etc etc. What exactly do they teach them at Taxi school ??

But it would appear Canberra Taxis are for the most part on a equal footing in fares with the rest of the country.

#16
Clown Killer9:30 pm, 03 Aug 09

But it would appear Canberra Taxis are for the most part on a equal footing in fares with the rest of the country

From Kambah to Canberra Airport, a trip of around 20Kms early in the morning costs me between $48-55. A trip from the Perth CBD to the Perth Airport, a trip of around 20kms durimng the middle of the day costs me around $28-30.

#17
Felix the Cat9:57 pm, 03 Aug 09

Devil_n_Disquiz said :

What exactly do they teach them at Taxi school ??

As with a lot of minimum wage type jobs these days employers tend to hire pretty much anyone regardless of qualification or skill because there aren’t many people to choose from.

#18
Anna Key10:18 pm, 03 Aug 09

When needing a taxi between 5-6.00am to get to the airport, i have always found them reliable. But damn expensive. $45 for a trip of less than 20km! At least in Canberra they dont normally have the Daily Tele on the dash and talkback radio playing. Then you know you are in for some serious earbashing.

#19
caf11:30 pm, 03 Aug 09

AG Canberra: That 250k isn’t profit, since they had to pay around that for the plate in the first place. In fact it represents a cost of around $15,000 / year in interest payments (and a quick look at the business real estate listings shows that there’s plenty of small businesses selling for $600k).

I am sure that the owners make a lot more than the drivers, but I still don’t think they’re making out like bandits. We’re not exactly overrun by new money taxi moguls.

#20
s-s-a11:33 pm, 03 Aug 09

WATs are great when you have half a dozen drivers’ mobile numbers written on the back of the voucher book and just organise trips by ringing them direct. Afternoon weekday bookings are often a hassle due to ACT govt using WATs for school runs – the only real solution to this is to never attempt to travel between 2.30 and 4pm (not ideal in a human rights utopia, but practical).

Could retell many scenarios along the lines of that described in #2.

#21
s-s-a11:34 pm, 03 Aug 09

PS. Not entirely sure why the govt needs to consult again on WATs given the problems they got told about in the last several reviews are not substantially improved.

#22
Stone1:13 am, 05 Aug 09

Expensive?

If you think it is expensive, you think people who drives taxis are making good money, however, why don’t you drive it?

You are not on the job, you know nothing about it. The ACT govenment wants too much out of a taxi, that’s why it is “expensive”. The taxi rego costs about $8,000 a year which only cost about $2000 in NSW. The taxi plate leasing costs around $20,000 a year, and the insurance costs another $10,000(for vechile & driver). And all this still not include the running cost. Taxi Opereator needs to pay taxi base bout $1,300 each month for the base radio fee as well. If you want to put a car on road to do the business, you need to pay $1600 to fit all the equipments in and all of that cost a lot. There is a camera rental fee cost $1,280 which is stupid, as the camera is useless & hopeless. PS. one of the driver had a fight with a crazy oz animal who was asking cash from the driver, when the police try to access the camera hard drive to get that man’s picture, it was nothing there. We pay $1,280 for nothing!!

Now you still think it’s expensive? How much do you think the driver will get? Let me tell you that the driver only gets half of what you paid. And that is before GST and Tax. The driver has to pay GST and Income Tax to the govenment. If I pay you $25 ask you to drive me to somewhere around 20km, specially when I was drunk and crazy as a dog, would you like to take me for $20? I rather pay you more to drive me back to home safely!

Everyone needs to pay their bills and live in this city. If you have so much to say about the taxi industry, why don’t you write something to the govenment with all of your question marks about why canberra taxis are so danm expensive?

#23
VYBerlinaV8_the_one_9:10 am, 05 Aug 09

Stone – I don’t see anyone here saying taxi drivers make good money. Most commenters have said that the costs of running a taxi are too high.

And I still think they are damned expensive.

#24
junkett10:12 pm, 08 Aug 09

Anna Key said :

When needing a taxi between 5-6.00am to get to the airport, i have always found them reliable. But damn expensive. $45 for a trip of less than 20km! At least in Canberra they dont normally have the Daily Tele on the dash and talkback radio playing. Then you know you are in for some serious earbashing.

Do you mind if I ask if you used Aerial or Cabxpress (sic?). I’ve got to book a 5am taxi for the early connecting international flight for family and I and obvious plethora of baggage. I don’t want to be ripped off any more than I already expect to be, but more importantly I want the thing to turn up!
I very rarely have to catch cabs, the last time would have been 12+ months ago. I used Cabxpress then only because I didn’t have to speak to a bloody computer. The cabbie did turn up, was clean – no B.O.!, could speak English and avoided the long route. But yeah, that was 12+months ago.

#25
Anna Key11:29 pm, 08 Aug 09

I book through the Canberracabs website. They usually turn up 5 – 10 mins early. but there probably aren;t any other jobs around. But it is just me, and usually no luggage. The last couple did ask which route I wanted to take. If worried, tell them you want to go a specific route

#26
I-filed10:20 am, 09 Aug 09

Remember when the GST started and taxi fares went up about 40 per cent, with the aid of the government, because more than half of taxi business had been black market and the whole industry said it was going to fold? I was astonished at the sheer pragmatism of the government in not sicking the Tax Office onto any of them … or did the taxis keep APH – Fyshwick trip records at the ready?

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