The Canberra Times late last week, had this interesting commentary from Prof. Allan Fels, (remember those Super adverts?) in regards to the need for de-regulation in the Taxi industry. He raises some very salient points in reagrds to de-regulaation and service delivery techniques that would probably ne of benfit to all those who have had the pleasure calling our dear friends in the land of ever late taxi.
Apart from the obvious points those being, computers passing for customer service (I have a deep voice and I mumble so going from Holt to the City, invariably comes up as Holder to Queanbeyan CBD – close boys, real close), semi-literate/lost cab drivers who smell etc, substandard and unclean cabs he did raise a ripper that adding 50 plates to the already 250+ plates in operation, isnt going to end the confusion and delays, considering that 20-25% of most taxis are off the road, for one reason or another (drivers asleep at Woden Cemetary not forgiving). Thats even before you look at recommendations from agencies such as agencies such as the National Competition Council, Productivity Commission and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission whom believe theis number ought be near 150 plates for ACT and environs.
But what I do like are the comparisons made to the Greater Britian, where mini cab companies are organised by area (i.e. Tuggers, Belco et al), however they are ordinary sedans with no meters and by drivers without peaked caps and they offer cheaper fares via telephone bookings only, and customers negotiate a fare for their destination. This idea apparently would not destroy the capital value of taxi plates, removing and Taxis would retain exclusivity on the rank-and-hail market, preserving the value of plates. The bueaty of this is that telephone booking service would become very competitive, with minicabs, essentially cheap hire cars, opening a new sector below the traditional carriage-trade aura around hire cars.
For a mumbler like me, that makes a bunch of sense. As Professor Fels states;
“Politicians need to stop treating taxis as one of the last protected sectors in Australia. Instead of limiting plates they should be working on ideas to give the travelling public cheaper fares, less waiting time and more choice.”.