Tennis fans frustrated as taxi drivers request set fees outside Australian Open

Tennis fans frustrated as taxi drivers request set fees outside Australian Open

High fares charged by taxi drivers outside the Australian Open are “damaging” Victoria’s brand and leaving tennis fans stranded late at night, according to the taxi industry.

Key points: Fare-fixing is legal in Victoria as part of passenger trade reforms to allow taxis to compete with ride-sharing companies. FarState Government Minister Lily D’Ambrosio says most drivers are doing the right thing

As exhausted crowds poured out of Melbourne Park around 4 a.m. Friday after the six-hour marathon game between Andy Murray and Thanasi Kokkinakis, many said they struggled to get a taxi or rideshare because of the cost.

They said taxi drivers were shutting down their meters and charging high fixed fees.

A woman said a driver was asking $125 to travel 12 miles to Box Hill.

A man heading to St Kilda, 6km from Melbourne Park, objected to the $60 payment and said it was not just the taxi industry raising fares, but ride-sharing services also canceled the tariffs.

This woman refused to pay the driver’s fixed costs in Box Hill. (ABC News)

“It’s a joke,” he said.

“[They] just cancel because they know the rate is going up and they’re going up and they’re just waiting for the best deal.”

Tennis fans said they were also unable to get ride-sharing services to pick them up. (ABC News)

According to the Essential Services Commission, a metered fare leaving the Melbourne metropolitan area at this time of day would typically result in a flat rate of $5.80, and between about $1.657 and $2.006 per kilometer.

The situation not only caused frustration among passengers, but led to arguments on the side of the road.

There have been similar scenes at the end of other playing days as Melbourne residents, local tourists and international visitors leave tennis.

Taxi driver Rohan Singh said the price hike was a mistake and people shouldn’t have to wait on the sidewalk for hours, unable to negotiate an affordable fare.

However, the 15-year-old driver said it was unfair that taxi drivers faced criticism when their ride-hailing competitors constantly overcharged.

“Uber does this, now the industry is like this,” Singh said.

“Not all pilots do this. Most pilots are right, but some take advantage of this stupid system.”

Spike body demands a rule change

Fare-fixing is legal as part of passenger business reforms to allow taxis to compete with fixed fares and peak prices used by ride-sharing companies.

But one of the main bodies representing taxi drivers, the Victorian Taxi Association, is angry at what is happening within Melbourne’s ranks, saying it is damaging Victoria’s reputation.

“It’s absolutely disgusting,” said association director Peter Valentine.

“What makes the situation even worse is our current situation [state] the government allows this kind of thing to happen in the city when we tell people and invite people from around the world and from other states and locally to come to these major events.

“It damages the image of the state. It is not acceptable.”

A Victorian Taxi Association leader says the behavior is “disgusting”. (ABC News: Joanne Crothers, file photo)

Mr Valentine said the problem was created when Victoria’s taxi industry was deregulated in 2017 and the rules were changed to reflect the circumstances in which drivers were allowed to refuse a passenger.

The association is negotiating with Safe Transport Victoria and wants the regulator to change the rules so that drivers cannot charge fixed fares at taxi ranks or when stopped on the street.

The decision to negotiate a fixed fare should instead be agreed between driver and passenger, Mr Valentine said.

Government Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the scenes outside the Australian Open were disappointing.

“This is an industry that is regulated and reviews are constantly happening … to ensure that we have fair frameworks for pricing in the taxi industry,” she said.

“Most taxi drivers do the right thing.

“But there are of course a few that are making a number of Victorians unhappy and any complaints should really be referred to the regulator who will follow up on this.”

A spokesperson for 13cabs, one of the state’s largest taxi services, said it was monitoring “unacceptable” behavior and would consider taking disciplinary action against the drivers responsible.

“There is a need for the state government to improve its regulatory response to combat this behavior,” they said.

“They can’t keep pushing the problem onto the industry as they allow hundreds and hundreds of unaccountable independent taxis on the road and remove regulations that prohibit things like fare denial and price negotiation. of the trip on the row.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *