Saturday, July 09, 2011

council tells taxi inquiry

Yarra Ranges used the recent Victorian Taxi Inquiry to highlight that residents are currently missing out on vital health services as well as employment opportunities because of the location and operation of the Metropolitan Taxi Zone boundary.

Because of the boundary Yarra Ranges residents have limited access to key services, including transport, shopping, employment, health and social outings. Yarra Ranges made a submission to the inquiry, supported by the Eastern Transport Coalition.

A lot of people in Yarra Ranges rely on taxis and whilst they live in the Country Taxi Zone they need to access services in the metropolitan area.

While taxis are allowed to pick up fare paying passengers in their zone and take them to another zone, they aren't allowed to pick up a return fare. This results in passengers being refused travel in both directions.

The restrictions also make country taxi licences a financially unattractive proposition. At the moment of a total of 9 country taxi licences in Yarra Ranges, only 7 are in operation.

Already our shire has poor public transport so members of the community are more heavily reliant on taxis, particularly the elderly or people with a disability. Without access to these taxi services our community is even further socially disadvantaged.

Tourism operators also suffer due to the boundary issues, with visitors reliant on private transport rather than taxis.

Council along with the Eastern Transport Coalition is calling for a review of the location and operation of the Metropolitan Taxi Zone boundary. Let's hope we can see some improvements into the future.

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