Don't hail a fake taxi
TAXI drivers in the Rose City are out to protect their good names after reports of shonky operators illegally posing as cab drivers.
Yellow Cabs Warwick owner/operator Nancy Miller told the Daily News she and her drivers had noticed a spike recently of ‘imposter’ taxi drivers picking up people and charging them a fee.
She said they were becoming more brazen – where the imposters would have only previously hung around local night spots on Friday and Saturday evenings to pick up people after a night on the town, they were now going out and about in broad daylight.
Mrs Miller said her drivers had even noticed one as recently as Sunday, when a white van was seen picking up people in the CBD in the late afternoon.
“They’re getting very blatant about it now but most of it happens late at night,” she said.
“I think it’s just people wanting some extra cash. We reported it last year when it was really full blown and then it died down for a while and now it’s starting to pick up again.”
She said the issue was painting taxi drivers in a bad light, as some customers were unable to distinguish between the fraudsters and real cabbies out the front of local watering holes come lock-out.
“The biggest thing with the posers is litigation – they haven’t got the proper insurance and they haven’t been police-checked,” she said.
Mrs Miller does not believe the imposters have sprung up to fill a gap when there are consistently long waiting times.
“We’re still within our 20 minutes on a Friday and Saturday night ... the rest of the time we have statistics to show that our general wait is 10 minutes,” she said.
Warwick taxi driver Adam Cole said while he had not seen these imposter cabbies first-hand, he had heard about them.
“(Taxi drivers) all have a valid permit authority,” Mr Cole said.
“I’ve heard of it and had suspicions but it’s very hard for us to prove anything.”
A Warwick Police spokesman yesterday told the Daily News they had not heard of any of the reported activity, but directed anyone who believed they had seen an imposter taxi driver to contact the Department of Transport.
A Department of Transport spokesman said while they were not aware of the specific allegations in Warwick, if details were supplied an investigation would happily be launched.
The spokesman said that under the Transport Operations Act a person must not provide a taxi service using a vehicle unless they have a taxi service license.
People who provide a taxi service without the appropriate license face a fine of up to $16,000.
If you have issues with the taxi industry, phone the Taxi Hotline on 1800 183 673.