If Taxis Want Young Aussies To Start Using Them Again They Need To Take Safety Seriously

The other night while watching a stream for Survivor US, I was repeatedly shown the same 30-second ad for a national taxi service. In what appears to be an appeal to younger Aussies, it presented hailing taxis on the street as a better option than waiting for a rideshare service like Uber or Ola.

This would be well and good, if the taxi industry wasn’t notorious for cabbies refusing fares they deem to be “too short”.

[jwplayer RyevJyvL]

The ad was released on YouTube around six days ago, and features a young girl effortlessly flagging down a cab after a night out with some friends, while others stand on the curb complaining that their booked rideshare drivers are either going the wrong way, or have cancelled their trips altogether.


After the 10th or so viewing, I took to Twitter to vent my frustrations, and the sheer number of people that have had similar, if not more fucked up, experiences was alarming and upsetting.


For me, it was my first night out in Kings Cross back in 2010 – I was a fresh 19-year-old who had only just moved from my small coastal hometown a few months before, and the big smoke was still very overwhelming. I’d finished up at a gig in Surry Hills and made my way to a friend’s club night in the Cross, and when it came time for me to head back to where I was staying in Newtown, finding available taxis proved to be fucking impossible.

I was told it was changeover time, and the one taxi driver that I actually managed to get to stop for me yelled something to the tune of “NOT FAR ENOUGH!” and sped off with the door still half-open as I was trying to get in.

It left me, a teenage woman, stuck half-drunk, in tears, and completely lost in a strange city on the side of the road at 2.30am.

I quickly found out that my experience wasn’t alone as the replies started rolling in, with a whole lot of young people – some men, but mostly women, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming folk – recounting times they’d been fucked over by taxis, each more worrying than the last, to be honest.

If anything, it surprised me that so many of us have had these experiences with taxis and not found ourselves in more terrifying and dangerous situations.

Research into the decline of the taxi industry was published in late 2018, showing that younger Australians are actively seeking out alternatives to taxis, a number which I’m sure has only continued to increase in the year since the research surfaces.

I know that this is just a small sample size of people, but it alarmed me that this happens, and is still happening. My incident might have happened in the pre-Uber days of 2010, but it’s alarming that this is still happening to people in 2019.

If taxis want us to return to them, they need to be better at taking us home safely. Ridesharing companies aren’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but they least demonstrate a level of accountability and safety. Unless the taxi industry’s duty of care to its customers improves, it can hardly blame companies like Uber for people not wanting to flag a cab down after a night out.