VIC Taxis Are Taking The Piss, Will Consider A $10 Peak Hour Booking Fee

Fair to say that the taxi industry in Victoria is struggling a bit at the moment, what with the huge consumer uptake of ridesharing services like Uber; a shift in consumer habits largely due to customer dissatisfaction with the previous monopoly taxis had on the industry, and the operator complacency that it bred.
So if you’re the taxi industry, what do you do? How do you adapt to a market that’s demanding a customer-first focus more and more?
Cleaner cabs? Better educated drivers? A more usable hailing app with the ability to rate individual drivers to keep them accountable?
Nahhhhhhh. How about jacking up the prices in peak times instead.
As ridiculous as that may sound given current market conditions, the Essential Services Commission has recommended exactly that.
The Commission has been reviewing cab operations within Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, and the Mornington Peninsula. What they’ve discovered is that there’s this curious thing called “peak times” and that during these peak times, more people want to use their service.
In order to encourage more drivers to hit the road and ensure that supply can meet demand, the Commission has recommended that taxi companies introduce a $10 booking fee during the peak periods.
This is a flat fee, charged to everyone, regardless of how far they travel for the ride. It also could be charged on top of the pre-existing, standard $2 booking fee.
It also recommended bringing forward what constitutes “peak time” on Friday and Saturday nights, up to 7:00pm, instead of the current start time of 10:00pm.
So, in essence, at 7:01pm on a Friday evening, the second you step inside a cab, the meter will have chalked up a $12 fare, before you even travel one metre.
Whilst Uber has its surge charging prices, the literal one and only time where taxis have one up over the service, instead of competing head-on with them, they’ve decided that hiking their prices is the way to go about it as well.
Ahh well. Here’s to an industry on its knees, raging against the dying of the light.

Source: ABC News.
Photo: Robert Prezioso/Getty.