Brisbane Times | Toby Crockford | MARCH 27 2017 - 1:17PM
Taxi drivers have offered to evacuate residents for free as Cyclone Debbie bears down on the north Queensland coast.
Cabbies in Townsville, Mackay, the Whitsundays, Burdekin and Ayr were all on-board with the idea, which would see them partner with local SES to help evacuate vulnerable residents and transport emergency services around the warning areas without charge.
Townsville Taxis general manager Angela Rheeders said north Queensland cabbies were "really community focused" and said it was "really heart-warming" to see so many different north Queensland regions teaming up during such a tense time.
She added that by helping out whenever possible, taxis were freeing up emergency services vehicles so they could be used for other important work.
Taxi Council Queensland president Max McBride described Cyclone Debbie as "a big sucker" and echoed Ms Rheeders' message of helping local residents.
"It's important all of the resources we can muster are available to help communities be prepared."
He added cabbies had offered similar support during previous extreme weather events. Mr McBride said when Cyclone Marcia ripped through Rockhampton and Yeppoon in 2015, taxis were ferrying local residents up until about two hours before the worst of the weather hit.
He even recalled pulling maxi taxis from service on the day because they were being blown off the road by the strong winds coming through the area, five hours before the main cyclone arrived.
Read More: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/taxis-offer-to-evacuate-locals-for-free-as-cyclone-debbie-approaches-20170326-gv6yq0.html