Taxis in Canberra are a messy business because the ACT government chooses (with dubious legallity) to use the auction of taxi licences for revenue raising rather than simply recovering their costs. Artificial scarcity is used to keep prices high and taxis expensive and hard to find at peak periods.
Despite having already disastrously screwed the operation of the market the ABC reports that John Hargreaves is refusing to intervene and allow the new taxi player in the Canberra market, CabXpress, to give surplus jobs to Canberra Cabs.
Canberra Cabs of course is hoping that a public utterly disgusted with their own performance will swamp the fledgling service.
One might think that the public would want this basic overflow provision if we’re going to have multiple service providers, one might even think a prudent Government would have put it in place before bringing the competitor in.
But this is Canberra.
If you want to give CabXpress a go, their number is 6260 6011.
UPDATED: It gets better! The ABC reports that after years of inaction the Government is going to get tough on taxi standards, oddly enough at time when there’s a new player trying to establish itself for the first time.