There was recently a change made by John Hargraves MLA to the hire car regulations to allow the registration of hybrid vehicles as hire cars. No size or specification of vehicle was attached to the hybrid registrations, though a petrol or diesel hire car must have a long wheelbase (eg Statesman but not Commodore, Fairlane but not Falcon, etc.) This ensured a comfortable vehicle operating as a ‘limousine’ service. Recently, 2 new hybrid vehicles have been registered as hire cars, one a Lexus RX400h (the Lexus version of the Rav4) and a Toyota Prius.
There was a letter to the editor in the CT approx a fortnight ago from a passenger who felt that the Toyota Prius was not the vehicle he expected to pick him up from the airport, and the comments I remember from the letter were: “I joked with the driver that it should be half the fare for half a car”, and “Who authorised these vehicles to operate as hire cars?”.
The overall industry view is that these vehicles could downgrade the industry, as traditionally a hire car equals a limousine, not a hatchback or 4-wheel drive. All other legally registered hire cars in Canberra are either Holden Statesman/Caprice or Ford Fairlane/LTD (up to 4 passengers), Toyota Tarago (up to 7 passengers) or stretch limousines (up to 9 passengers).
I am very interested in people’s views on 1) a massive change to the industry and 2) how happy you would be to be collected from the airport in a small hatchback or a large sedan (at the same price).