When was the last time you sat in a taxi? Not an Uber... or a Didi... an actual Taxi. I have to admit it was my first time in a LONG time recently and at first I wasn't enthusiastic.
Karrinyup to the outer northern suburbs was always going to be costly, no matter how you go about it - but the main thing was, I was getting home. After waiting for 20mins, I hopped into a cab and my journey began. I had a lovely driver, who in this case I'll name Joe*. Joe has been driving taxis for the last couple of years and has been working right through the pandemic. He's taken people from the outer suburbs to the city and back again, but you'd never know.
As 2022 roles around, West Aussies are continuing their trend towards Uber and other 'ride-sharing' companies, which isn't a bad thing. Saving money and time has never been something a taxi driver has begrudged someone of and in this case, Joe understands why people are steering away from the old-school taxi service. There's a gap that needed to be filled and Uber did just that, fair game to them! This article isn't a 'bag Uber' piece, it is instead trying to convince you that Taxi drivers need your service.
Taxi drivers don't generally sit on a fixed wage, they are forced to essentially make commission with the taxi company taking a cut of their income. As it stands (January 2022) Joe needs to make a minimum of $95 per day to cover all his expenses, like fuel. When I posed the question to him, 'do you make that $95 a day', his response was a stark reminder of the state the taxi industry is in. Joe hasn't made $95 in a while, he barely gets jobs in a 12hr day, but the taxi company still takes their money at the end of the fortnight, which Joe says he's had to pay out of his own pocket. You'd expect the company would be appreciative of the current economic environment? Well, that's not what Joe seems to think.
The State Government announced financial relief for WA taxi companies/workers back in April 2020 with $9million allocated to the sector. Has Joe seen a cent of that money, or at least reaped some benefits? No. Has head office support Joe in any way? No.
The taxi industry has not progressed with the times and is leaving its employees by the way side. Joe is now considering moving out of the taxi business, as he cannot live in a holding pattern. He needs to see change and quickly, or he's out. But what needs to change? Well for starters taxi companies need to catch up with the times... long holding times on the phone need to go. More employees are needed to avert long waiting times for passengers. Websites and apps need to be modernised and systems need to be rectified. There's quite a bit to do. Joe still has some faith in the industry and hopes upcoming changes, at the company he works for, will help boost his income.
The taxi industry is in dire straits and it needs your help. Without us, not much will change. When you're next out, consider a taxi over a ride-share vehicle. This is someone's life we're talking about.