Canberra To Become Elite

DarkLadyWolfMother 4 May 2008 35

I’ve heard on the grapevine (third hand at least, so make of this what you will) that those responsible for Canberra Cabs (who also incidentally run Elite Taxi (and Silver Service in Queanbeyan) have decided Canberra Cabs don’t have a good reputation anymore. The solution to this, it seems, is to re-badge all Canberra Cabs taxis as Elite.

From what I can tell everything else, including the wonderful voice-recognition system, will remain as is – apart from now identifying as Elite.

Is there anyone in a position to confirm or deny?

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35 Responses to Canberra To Become Elite
Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 5:19 pm 06 May 08

Gungahlin Al said :

But on the bright side – we’ll get rid of one more Americanism…

So you’d prefer Tanberra Taxis then?

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 4:03 pm 06 May 08

Woody – take a pill buddy.

I’d like to think you’re being ironic, ‘buddy’, but somehow I don’t think you’re smart enough.

needlenose needlenose 3:44 pm 06 May 08

Sorry, Devil, but if the cab company does not tell you the T&C when you book, then no; they don’t apply. That’s why Qantas make you tick a box confirming you’ve read them.

My understanding (from someone involved in similar case heard by the ACT Discrimination Tribinal) is that the cab company has the power to enforce the conditions applicable to the grant of a wheel-chair cab licence through the provisions of the Road Transport (Public Passenger Services) Regulation 2002 and its own by-laws. A condition on the grant of a wheelchair cab licence is that priority for the hiring of the cab is to be given to wheelchair-dependent people. A driver of such a vehicle who does not accept a booking must be directed to do so by the dispatcher.

Devil_n_Disquiz Devil_n_Disquiz 3:15 pm 06 May 08

The dispatcher (singular) can see who is on the road, and can contact them. However, when you call and make a booking you are not speaking to a dispatcher, you are talking to a call taker (or a machine).
Yes, the dispatcher can talk to the driver of a WC vehicle. Can the dispatcher make them go and do a WC job. Not one bit. Certainly they can threaten to suspend them from the radio network for the rest of the shift. So what, there is always rank work. And the dispatcher certainly wouldn’t be promising anything.

We are all sole traders (business owners) on the road. We will decide what jobs we will take and what we won’t, not anyone else. However, when we accept a job through the radio system we are obligated to carry out that hiring.

Let me state here and now,,for EVERYONE, Your T&C’s include: Just cos you book a cab, does not mean one will show up. You are relying on a driver to ACCEPT the job. If no one accepts it, you get no ride. This is a rare event though,,and I am sure anyone would enjoy making a beat up about how their cab never showed up when they really needed one.

Qantas analogy applies !

needlenose needlenose 2:45 pm 06 May 08

I’m pretty sure that when I call to book a cab, I am not given any terms and conditions that say “your cab may or may not turn up). So the Qantas analogy does not apply.

The dispatchers should be able to see who is on the road and have the capacity to contact them, but the fact is that if they can’t undertake a cab will be available, then they shouldn’t promise that it will be. And that is the case a thousandfold when the caller is disabled and the ramifications of leaving them stranded are both obvious and significant.

Devil_n_Disquiz Devil_n_Disquiz 4:34 am 06 May 08

hmm Needlenose. I beg to differ. I think its very relevant how many wheelchair cabs are available. You can’t promise something with nothing.
Its a bit like booking a seat on Qantas, in advance too… just because you have a booking doesn’t guarantee you a flight, its in the T&C’s

Call centre staff will accept a booking if there are slots available, but they are not mind readers. They certainly can’t tell if a driver is having a night off, is sick, has maintenance issues, got a flat tyre etc etc etc.
The saying you can lead a horse to water but can’t make it drink, also applies. Just because a job is available, you can’t force the driver to do it.

That said, I often pick people up who have been told that ‘shouldn’t be long, there are cars in the area’ or similar such things. Which is a total load of shite. The call takers have absolutely no idea at all how many cabs are anywhere. Its a programmed response to a question such as ‘how long will my cab be’ (bit like the programmed responses JW’s have on your doorstep). Quite frankly, I wish CC would offload WC work they can’t do, or are having trouble covering to CX, but they won’t, and THAT is bloody stupid.

I’m certainly not justifying the actions of those who work in the call centre. Just trying to paint the bigger picture here. I too am glad that this couple had a happy outcome.

ant ant 10:20 pm 05 May 08

You can’t pay people to care. The private sector is about making money, and that’s that. I was so glad to read that this sad couple had a happy outcome, thanks to Needlenose and her friend. What a rotten thing to happen, and I wonder how often it does happen. I wish it didn’t, and this is the kind of thing I want my taxes to be used to prevent. And right now, my taxes aren’t.

needlenose needlenose 10:02 pm 05 May 08

Thanks, Devil – but it’s irrelevant how many wheelchair cabs (sorry, Al, “taxis”!) CC has – this couple booked one in advance, gave notice that they were disabled, and were promised that it would turn up at a particular time. An hour later it hadn’t turned up, and CC appeared to be unable to trace it – something I find highly improbable. If they didn’t have a cab which could fulfill that commitment they should not have accepted the booking – particularly when the obvious consequence is leaving an elderly disabled couple stranded.

Al, not to labour the point, especially after your gracious response, but I’ve just remembered that the very first Australian novel was Fergus Hume’s “Mystery of a Hansom Cab”. I will now shut up, as I also remember the taxis I rode in as an adolescent Queenslander.

ant ant 9:15 pm 05 May 08

Dunno, Devil, from what I heard they’ll be normal, ordinary traffic lights (and some slip lanes) added to the roundabouts. I can find out, but given the busyness of that road, I’d imagine they’ll be all day all night.

Devil_n_Disquiz Devil_n_Disquiz 8:15 pm 05 May 08


Do you know if these will be traffic light that only operate peak times of day like the one in Tugg, or all day ?

Devil_n_Disquiz Devil_n_Disquiz 8:10 pm 05 May 08

Astro, I still am not sure I get your point. Let me ask this and see if I have it right. You are suggesting that when the taxi is stationary you shouldn’t be paying anything at all ?? So once again I ask, if the cab has stopped,,,and you don’t want to pay anything, why are you still in it ? If its raining or cold maybe the 5c per 6sec would be worth it just to stay warm and dry ??

Needlenose. Most of the wheelchair vehicles went over to cabxpress. CC only has about 2 or 3 of them now. But I know some of the people at the call centre to be VERY unhelpful and certainly would not have suggested they called Cabxpress.

I might be a driver, but I certainly do not condone some of the actions of some of those working in the base.

Thumper Thumper 6:29 pm 05 May 08

Yep, my partner and I took a cab from Heathrow to Camberwell (in London).

It was definitely a cab, not a taxi, and we were in England…..

It also cost about $200AUS…..

However, I do agree that the word ‘cab’ now has American (New York?) connetations, whereas they have always been referred to as taxis in Australia.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 6:05 pm 05 May 08

Well there’s a lesson in how to, and not to make points. Woody – take a pill buddy.
NN: that may be the historical case, but I guess I was referring to the era I grew up in when they were always referred to as taxis. It seems only in more recent years that “cabs” have found their way into Aussie usage. But it’s not one I’m particularly hung up on – less so now after your explanation.
Guess I’d better get off, by way of the drive thru for some take-out fries, hash browns and cookies, before going home to write my folks.

needlenose needlenose 4:24 pm 05 May 08

Not to get too far from the point, but “cab” is not an Americanism. The English have used the word “cab” since the idea of paid transport was invented (from “cabriolet”, meaning a type of horse-drawn carriage, French word appropriated and abbreviated by the Poms).

Sherlock Holmes famously took hansom cabs everywhere (the third one on the rank); barristers in the Westminster system have always observed the “cab rank” rule of ethics (which the Yanks certainly don’t) and there’s even a “London Cab & Stage Carriage Act 1907”. And IIRC (which I very well may not) CS Lewis even made a cabbie the first King of Narnia.

Back on point – yes, the cab system in Canberra is crap; unbelievably crap. A while ago a friend and I arrived separately at Theatre 3 in the ANU grounds for a perfomance which I had stupidly thought started at 8pm but in fact was a “twilight” session at 5pm which was well and truly over. In the rain outside the now closed theatre was a very elderly couple; he had one leg and was wheel-chair bound; she, it soon became clear, had dementia. It turned out that they had booked a wheelchair cab well in advance and it hadn’t turned up; he had repeatedly called Canberra Cabs and on the few occasions when after a long delay he actually got through to a human, CC was just saying itdidn’t know where the cab was or whether it was even going to turn up, and there was nothing to be done about it.

If it wasn’t for an extraordinary combination of co-incidences – me getting the time wrong, meeting my friend there instead of her picking me up as usual so we had two cars, the fact that I have a sports car low enough to lift him into and she had a four wheel drive big enough to take the wheelchair, they might have been there in the rain (no shelter) for god knows how long. No passing traffic in the ANU grounds on a Sunday night at the back of the theatre, her with dementia and likely to wander off and him in a wheelchair with no way of stopping her. And they had done everything right booking the cab in advance. I am still so angry about this I could vomit.

The old gent was a sweetheart, though. Couldn’t believe two girls could lift him; when in fact he weighed about as much as a ten year old.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 4:16 pm 05 May 08

we’ll get rid of one more Americanism

FFS, what is with you people and your imaginary Americanisms? ‘Cab’ is not an American word, and neither is ‘taxi’, and neither is ‘taxi cab’.

astrojax astrojax 4:13 pm 05 May 08

When you hit a red light, you are waiting…for a green light.

but i don’t agree that a rate per kilometre should specify an average speed – why don’t i get a discount then if the taxi doesn’t have to stop and i have a route mainly 80-100kmh? ‘per kilometre’ should be silent of the rate of speed, incl time not moving… if the rate ‘per kilometre’ is silent on the rate of speed, then it should necessarily include ‘0kmh’ at any juncture.

and i didn’t see that ‘ykm’ bit on the last canberra taxi i rode in.

ant ant 3:47 pm 05 May 08

Devil wrote:

Devil_n_Disquiz said :

FWIW, I hate traffic lights and will do almost anything I can to avoid them when I have a fare on board. Stopping at lights is certainly not profitable.

You’ll be annoyed to hear then that the new roadworks for the airport strip will have traffic lights on current roundabouts (Pialligo/Fairbairn Ave intersection for instance).

Devil_n_Disquiz Devil_n_Disquiz 3:42 pm 05 May 08

Another comparison worth mentioned re: taxis V hire cars.

Taxi rego $7500 per year, HC rego $2000 per year.

The ACT gov decides how much each rego will cost. I’m unsure why the $5500 diff when we basically do the same thing.
Over a shorter distance HC’s are more expensive, $45 minimum fare. Air to Tugg they work out about the same.

caf caf 3:39 pm 05 May 08

strojax, I’ve never seen a taxi in Australia that doesn’t charge you while waiting in traffic. Most of them are along the lines of “X c per km, or if speed is under Y km/h, Z c per minute”.

Devil_n_Disquiz Devil_n_Disquiz 3:38 pm 05 May 08

Interesting concept VYBerlina. However, something that people seem to forget when comparing cities is that Canberra has very marked peaks and troughs throughout the year. Mainly due to when parliament is sitting.

Its an impossible act to get just the right amount of cabs here. When parliament is sitting we are generally rushed off our feet, but late dec/jan early feb is an absolute struggle to continue to pay for the house, the food, the kids, the bills etc etc.

Astro, waiting time is listed on the window sticker, and applies to all waiting. When you hit a red light, you are waiting…for a green light.
If I could control the lights to save you 20 or 50 cents, I would. But lights in a city is one of the risks you run when you catch a cab.

FWIW, I hate traffic lights and will do almost anything I can to avoid them when I have a fare on board. Stopping at lights is certainly not profitable.

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