More thoughts on how bad the taxis are.

johnboy 4 January 2007 13

Last night Darren2 made a comment on the state of the taxi service which I thought was worthy of wider reading:

Just a few comments about the biggest problem in Canberra and thats the fiasco of Canberra Cabs. I work in a hotel which has a taxi phone and the voice recognition system does not recognise accents, visitors to Canberra do not know the suburb of every attraction in Canberra, and the elderly just can’t work the system at all. We also house the nations top Judges, Politicians, professors & intellectuals of all shapes and sizes who frequently curse and swear and slam down the phone (in our lobby) in sheer frustration. If having to put up with aggresive behaviour from frustrated guests who can’t negotiate this rediculous system isn’t enough…. the operators are just as useless. I saw one guest who was hung up on simply because he could not understand and the poor chap eventually missed his flight as a result. The newest and most laughable incident was when I tried to book a cab to pick up and elderly lady from the train station (at 1035 pm) to bring her to the hotel before it closed at 11. Well I was told that they cannot book a cab for the train station because there was a cab rank there, so effectively we did not know if she would be picked up or not. Of course when she arrived the rank was empty. So after finding a man with a mobile who knew the number they phoned (and booked) a cab. The first cab that showed up would not take them because it was a booking. It is so bad its worse than laughable… its a disgrace and an embarrassment to Canberra. How can we operate a city without a reliable means of getting from A to B…. it enfuriates me every day!!!!!

Comment by darren2 — 3 January, 2007 @ 11:10 pm

Please Mr Hargreave (I know you or your staff are reading) can you stop your failed Stalinist/Fascist command and control efforts to get the monopoly corporation to behave?

If Queanbeyan can support a taxi service then Canberra can support 10 and we can find out what consumers really want. Yes we’d have to lose the revenue from your corrupt taxi license auction process*, but frankly the true cost to the community of the Canberra Cabs monopoly is far greater than that revenue.

I hear when Dublin was faced with a similar situation a few years ago they slashed the cost of a taxi licence to the bare minimum required to ensure standards were met, removed all caps on the numbers of licenses, and agreed to re-imburse the lost license value via a tax credit. As cabbies rarely report their true income the tax credit remains mostly unclaimed. Also they now have a taxi service the Dubliners are happy with.

So here’s the deal Mr. Hargreaves, why don’t you and your staff take a nice two week study tour in Dublin (you know you want to, I hear the pubs are lovely)? Then come back and take this problem out of the hands of your incompetent bureaucrats and give it to the tender mercies of the market.

I realise this would mean you’d miss out on a number of TV appearances, but surely you grow weary of being associated with Canberra Cabs? Surely the benefit to the community is more important than getting your face on WIN News?

* I’m saying the auction has been corrupted by artificial supply constraints, not that I know if anyone is improperly benefitting from it.

What's Your Opinion?

Please login to post your comments, or connect with
13 Responses to More thoughts on how bad the taxis are.
keiran keiran 2:16 pm 06 Jan 07

Why people still complain about taxis amazes me. Try City Car Limousines. The price is competitive, and cheaper on longer trips like airport to Tuggeranong for example. The difference is the vehicle quality, reliability, driver standards etc.

Don’t forget they also deregulated the hire car industry so Canberra Cabs now also runs, Elite Transport, Silver Service Taxis, Canberra Hire Cars and Southern cross. All just to hide their piss poor service under different business names!

shauno shauno 3:02 am 05 Jan 07

Also who gives a shit for high standards. In a free market you pay x amount of dollars for a merc and – x amount of dollars for a ford. Its simple and requires little govnt intervention.

shauno shauno 2:51 am 05 Jan 07

“What exactly are the higher standards that regulation of the taxi market is maintaining?”

Its totally bizarre I really can not fathom why the ACT govt, Our representatives would think this monopoly would be a good thing for Canberra.

To say it again im stuped and will bow before the Comrade and stand naked before the legislative assembly if he can give us a rational reason for keeping this absurd monopoly.

LIC LIC 10:41 pm 04 Jan 07

What exactly are the higher standards that regulation of the taxi market is maintaining? Not customer service, not knowledge of how to go from A to B, not turning up at the booked time, so what are the evils of a deregulated market we consumers are being protected from?

bonfire bonfire 3:57 pm 04 Jan 07

and winsome irish girls who tell me im cheeky…

shauno shauno 3:10 pm 04 Jan 07

It really is increadable and a good example of Soviet style inefficient state run monopolies. Would make a good project for somebody at uni to study this.

One can only assume that a few people have a lot of money at stake here and are very friendly with Stanhope.

What he forgets is he is to serve the general public and this sort of shit is the last thing we need.

I agree whole entirely with JB on this lets follow the example of Dublin. And while were at it more Irish dancing and Murphys on tap.

S4anta S4anta 12:51 pm 04 Jan 07


A trick to beating the Canberra cabs chaos, is to give the good folks at Queanbeyan cabs a call, particular you dirty south siders. There just about always is a couple of cabs in the city of belco, and they do appreciate getting a bit of fare to help them pay for their shots when they get up the next day in Queabeyan.

LaLucha LaLucha 12:43 pm 04 Jan 07

A bit OT, but I’ve had to permanently ban a particular taxi number from my house due to an obscene stench of stale cigarettes. The first time he was sent to my house my hair stank for hours after a ten minute ride, so the second time I sent him away and called another one.

If CC is so hard core about customers following procedure (ie not letting us book through an operator even when we get through by saying ‘check’ to that horrible sounding electronic voice) they should be holding their drivers to higher standards.


bonfire bonfire 11:16 am 04 Jan 07

after persevering for a few weeks with the voice system that doesnt work – really its quite fucked – i email canberra cabs with bookings now.

although if i had another CHOICE i’d use a competitor.

with the voice recognition system, if it asks you for some obscure place just say yes and hang up. then catch a bus. after the first hundred or so times where the cab arrives and no one is there, maybe canberra cabs will realise their system is FUCKED.

vg vg 10:47 am 04 Jan 07

Just had the ‘pleasure’ of catching one back from Mitchell. Firstly the automated system wouldn’t recognise Flemignton Rd in Mitchell as a location and wanted to send a cab to some restaurant on Northbourne Ave (and I don’t have an accent). Then once I got through to an operator she couldn’t take abooking for simply ‘Flemington Road’. I explained I would be the large gentleman in shorts flagging down the cab but that wasn’t good enough.

I said I was standing next to a bus stop, which apparently for ‘legal reasons’ they couldn’t send a cab to. I then told them I was outside Kennards Hire, which they accepted but I quickly double checked and they had the old Kennards location on Hoskins St.

Eventually she manually entered Kennards on Flemington Rd, Mitchell. This could have been done in the first f*cking place.

They are unaccountable and completely shithouse

Snarky Snarky 10:16 am 04 Jan 07

I don’t use taxis in Canberra at all – just never had the need of one, not trying to make any particular statement – but wanted to pick up on a line from the writeup.
Is is possible to simply call a Queanbeyan taxi if you want one here in Canberra instead of dealing with Canberra Cabs? And Darren2, would it be possible for your hotel to do some sort of deal with a Queanbeyan taxi company (is there more than one???) to act as your exclusive supplier. Seems like there could be quite a nice little earner there for someone to run with…

VYBerlinaV8_now with_added_grunt VYBerlinaV8_now with_added_grunt 9:49 am 04 Jan 07

There need to be much stronger controls around service delivery within the taxi market. Given that Canberra Cabs really hasn’t gotten its act together regarding service, it’s time for the government to open the market a bit to allow for some real competition. We don’t necessarily need to throw the entire industry to the whim of the free market, but rather allow the market a bit more influence over the behaviour of the industry. If this fails, a steady decrease in regulation allowing for continually increasing competition will eventually solve the problem. It won’t be nice for the cabbies, but ultimately the Canberra taxi industry needs to lift its game.

seepi seepi 9:38 am 04 Jan 07

Hargreaves gave the taxis 3 months to pick up their act. When is that deadline due? – and what will he actually do??

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter


Search across the site