THE future viability of taxi services in Frankston and on the Mornington Peninsula could depend on the state government’s reaction to recommendations in the taxi industry inquiry report.
The creation of an outer urban zone and certainty given to wheelchair taxi services provided by Frankston Radio Cabs has been welcomed by manager Kevin Dunn.
However, Mr Dunn believes cheaper taxi licences proposed in the Customers First: Service, Safety. Choice report could lead to some operators “going broke”.
“I’m not saying that would mean the world coming to an end, but we have a good rapport with the community and believe we are good corporate citizens,” Mr Dunn told The News.
However, he said “the game has just started, to be quite honest” for taxi operators waiting for the government’s reaction to the report.
Mr Dunn said the asking price of licences had dropped in anticipation of the government adopting recommendations in the report.
Licences bought for $450,000 were on the market, but not selling, for $300,000 and it was estimated they would drop to $265,000.
Mr Dunn said the proposed outer urban zone extended the area that could be covered by Frankston and peninsula taxis, although Peninsula Taxis and his firm had for many years cooperated over “reciprocal services on weekends”.
He said under the report’s recommendations, solo taxi operators could take away business from taxi firms, eventually making them unprofitable.
In August Mr Dunn told the taxi inquiry led by Professor Allan Fels that Frankston Taxi Cabs could be forced to close if it lost control of its 14 wheelchair-accessible taxis (WATs). He said areas such as Frankston differed greatly to Melbourne where most taxis were not pre-booked.
Professor Fels described his report’s recommendations as “a win for outer urban areas including Dandenong, Frankston and the peninsula”.
“Taxi drivers in outer urban areas will have to sit an independent exam in local knowledge, disability awareness and customer service if the final report of the taxi industry inquiry is adopted by the state government,” he said.
Professor Fels said by issuing more affordable taxi licences and providing more flexibility where cabs could work, services would be more efficient and reliable.
“We have listened to taxi operators and not gone ahead with proposed zone changes for Dandenong and Frankston, and also to the public and local hospitality and tourism businesses on the Mornington Peninsula [which] have been crying out for more cabs and better access to taxi services there,” Professor Fels said.