More Taxi Protests In Melbourne Expected After Watchdog Blocks A Fare Hike

Melbourne’s fleet of taxi drivers is expected to cause more disruption on the city’s roads after an industry watchdog blocked a proposed fare increase that’s expected to have the taxi industry spitting chips.

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The Essential Services Commission is set to announce that cab operators cannot increase the maximum unbooked fare (i.e. a fare taken from a person hailing a cab off the street or from a cab rank in the city or airport), according to a report in the Herald Sun this morning.

Cab drivers, aggrieved to the point of intense fury by the presence of Uber, have long argued for an increase in fares as a means of counteracting the ridesharing revolution, which as far as economics and business goes is the equivalent of trying to put out a fire by lighting a slightly larger one nearby.

Submissions submitted to the ESC had called for staggering fare increases which were heard during the lengthy consultation process. Reportedly, major operator 13CABS was calling for an eye-watering 11% increase in fares at one stage. The fare increase, cab drivers argue, is the only way to protect the industry from total collapse. This is despite the fact that the ESC’s findings assert that operating costs for cab owners have dropped in a lot of cases.

The one increase in pricing structure that the ESC will permit from today is the introduction of a $120 cleaning fee should you both a) choose to take a taxi and b) be that much of an dropkick that you chuck a big ole’ spew in it.

Previously, cab protests have blockaded the Bolte Bridge and the Melbourne Airport, as well as slowed CBD traffic to a standstill as hundreds of drivers took over the steps of State Parliament. Similar disruptions are now a virtual certainty in the wake of today’s decision.

In the meantime, Uber continues to operate virtually as normal.