Taxi anyone?

The SMH reports that Macquarie Bank and Linfox are very keen to help the disabled. They’re very concerned that the disabled must often wait for twenty minutes for a cab. So they’re stepping into the breach with a veritable fleet of wheelchair enabled taxis. Their angle? Taxis are rationed. You need a ‘taxi plate’ to put a taxi on the road. In Sydney their scarcity rent is around $300,000.

But the licence for a wheelchair accessable taxi is $1,000.

The owner of a vast share of the Sydney taxi plates available who also runs the extortionate ‘Cabcharge’ card that charges customers 10% of each purchase, is ‘furious’ as well he might be. He reckons it’s not fair – that’s the way all industry incumbents feel about newcomers. But it will be fun to watch him prosecute his case to prevent more help for the disabled finding its way onto the road.

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Yobbo
Yobbo
15 years ago

Assuming the price stays at $1000, which it won’t unless they issue an unlimited number of them, which they won’t because having one too many taxis would cause civilisation itself to collapse if government policy is any indication.

derrida derider
derrida derider
15 years ago

A classic Macquarie tactic – spotting government-created rents and appropriating it for themselves. In this case it subverts the policy that creates the rents and so is a Good Thing. Usually, though, they provide governments with incentives to create more rents (Sydney Airport, anyone)?.

Francis Xavier Holden
15 years ago

In Melbourne a similar situation existed some time ago. Licences for handicaped taxis were either cheaper or not capped in total I think. The cheaper licence was a kind of compensation for extra effort required to assist the handicapped at times. The idea was to ensure availability of accessible taxis with lifts high back cabins, wheelchair restraints etc to the handicapped citizens. However with no real way of making these taxis service handicapped as a priority sleazy operators snapped them up and refused to provide any servce for the handicapped but simply used the taxis with high back cabins etc as normal taxis ferrying the usual drunk teenagers and expense account business people.

derrida derider
derrida derider
15 years ago

Yes of course, FXH. But my point is that having more taxis to ferry the usual suspects is a Good Thing anyway, and the disabled will at least be no worse off than they are now. So even though Macquarie is being its usual self in this case they’re (unusually) serving the public interest.

Stephen Hill
Stephen Hill
15 years ago

It sounds like war of a turf war between the cab companies, watch out for the battle of the Travis Bickles.

http://www.smh.com.au/news/business/bank-initiates-war-of-the-taxis/2006/02/19/1140283948668.html

Seriously, having a disabled brother getting a disabled taxi in 20 minutes would be a rarity. We did have a regular cabbie who drove my brother all the way to Liverpool and back on weekdays, who was reliable and a lovely chap, who had a real rappour with his passengers. Sadly he now has terminal cancer. But I can certainly attest to the shortage in other circumstance where the wait is a lot longer than that, which does hinder my brother’s mobility to a minor degree (other factors would be more important)

This idea might be some sort of solution, but I hope Della Bosca (minister for disabilities) structures the arrangement in a manner to ensure there is at least some servicing of the disabled by such taxis. Maybe this can be done by making their license applicable to an annual audit that proves the drivers are submitting a small number of disabled vouchers issued by the state department or some other way of monitoring that a proportion of the customers are disabled.

SAM
SAM
14 years ago

I am a WAT Driver and an Operator. I am ready to pick up a WAT passenger immediately. But I have to wait for months together for getting the Taxi plate from the ministrY. For the all the things you are blaming the drivers for this one too. Think there are drivers really ready to work for persons with disability.