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Taxi drivers not very popular in Australia -

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Taxi drivers not very popular in Australia

Brigid Glanville reported this story on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 12:54:00

ELEANOR HALL: Finding a taxi at this time of year can be difficult; but those passengers who do
manage to hail one in Australia's major cities report having a very bad experience when they do.

A tourism industry survey found that 74 per cent of people said that the taxi drivers don't know
where they're going and that the taxis themselves were dirty or lacked air conditioning.

The Tourism and Transport Forum says this shows that taxis are failing Australian cities and it is
calling on the Federal Government to overhaul the taxi industry.

Brigid Glanville has our report.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: The taxi industry could be facing a big battle. A nationwide survey of more than
200 people has shown that Australian taxis are of poor standard.

Respondents said taxis that are clean, heated or cooled and driven by a polite driver who knows
where he is going are in the minority. But on the streets of Sydney this morning, taxi drivers
disagreed.

TAXI DRIVER: I think it's not true. Taxi drivers are polite. I mean most of us know what we're
doing, and I think people get upset for nothing.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: The survey by the Tourism and Transport Forum showed 74 per cent of people from
the tourism industry said taxi services failed Australia.

The large majority said they would like to see the 10 per cent surcharge for credit card payments
dropped and that hire cars and limousines could play a greater role in delivering taxi style
services.

Brett Gale is the executive director of the Tourism and Transport Forum.

BRETT GALE: The overwhelming comments are about cleanliness of cabs and the state in which cabs are
kept by drivers, knowledge of where people are going is a common complaint that pops up, and in
certain cities capacity issues, the simple ability to catch a cab, Canberra being the prime
example.

And anyone who spends any time in Canberra, either going to or from Parliament House or just from
meetings knows that it's virtually impossible to catch a cab. Often they just don't turn up.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: The major capital cities were rated; Sydney is the worst.

BRETT GALE: Well no city ranked very well really. There was no Australian city that received an
average rating of good or better. So that's a sad indictment on all of them.

Melbourne it turns out was the preferred city to catch a taxi, but that was by only 36 per cent of
people, and Sydney was the least preferred place for catching a taxi and that was by 58 per cent of
people.

But I'm not sure it's a lottery that you'd want to win where no city was rated as having good or
average service.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: The World Today asked some taxi drivers in Sydney this morning for their
response.

All of them said it's the minority who don't know where they're going and they only turn the air
conditioning off because that's what passengers want.

TAXI DRIVER 2: Look you can tell, look to my cab, look to me, my cab's very clean and we do very
good service.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Survey respondents were saying that 75 per cent of taxi service failed to meet
Australian cities. Do you think that that's a fair representation of many taxi drivers?

TAXI DRIVER 3: No I don't think so, no.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Why do you think they say it then?

TAXI DRIVER 3: Because probably they're just come across one out of 100.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Do you ever hear of passengers whinging about other drivers not knowing where
they're going?

TAXI DRIVER 4: Yeah all the time, you know. But they're probably tired, their plane's delayed or
train's running late but they've got to take it out on the cab driver and you get stuck in traffic
and then they say you don't know where you're going.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Your taxi that we're in now, the air conditioning isn't on. Why don't you have
the air conditioning on because it's quite warm?

TAXI DRIVER 4: Well the passenger outside doesn't want air conditioning.

ELEANOR HALL: That's a Sydney taxi driver ending that report from Brigid Glanville.