The NSW Taxi Council acknowledged today’s decision by NSW Government to freeze taxi fares for all areas of NSW outside of Sydney, adopting recommendations by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).
The Government’s decision earlier this year to also freeze fares in the Sydney area means there will be no increase in taxi fares during 2015-16 throughout NSW.
CEO of the NSW Taxi Council Roy Wakelin-King said that although the NSW Taxi Council accepts the decision and acknowledges this is a good outcome for customers, it will nonetheless cause some concern in rural and regional NSW for country taxi operators and drivers.
“Communities in country areas rely on taxis for essential transport services and it’s important that people working in the industry earn a reasonable living to sustain the high levels of customer service that passengers rightly expect,” he said.
“The setting of taxi fares is a delicate balancing act; on one hand the Government needs fares to be competitive and accessible but it must also ensure that the taxi industry, which receive no subsidies from the State, remain viable into the future.”
Operators and drivers of rural and regional taxis have been facing increasing costs, particularly in the area of fuel and insurance, so freezing fares means a pay cut in real terms.
“Whilst we acknowledge the need to be competitive in terms of pricing, it is important that these cost pressures are ultimately recovered through the fare box,” Mr Wakelin-King.
Mr Wakelin-King also welcomed the decision of the NSW Government to thoroughly examine the issue of viability of taxi services in rural and regional NSW as part of the recently announced Point-to Point Taskforce Review.
“It is important that this issue is properly addressed and we welcome the decision of the NSW Government to properly consider the ongoing viability of country taxis as part of the Taskforce process.”