Queensland’s Taxi Council has thrown its support behind the current police drink driving blitz and has urged Queenslander’s not to drink and drive.
This follows a report that a blitz in Brisbane’s north on Saturday saw one in 50 drivers busted for positive blood alcohol levels.

Taxi Council Queensland chief executive officer Benjamin Wash said if you choose to drink and drive, there are only two options – get nabbed by police or drive in a taxi.

He said the taxi industry witnesses the effects of alcohol first-hand and has called on people to display a greater level of personal responsibility.

“It is beyond belief that so many drivers were caught over the weekend when the option of getting a lift with a friend or calling a cab is a hell of a lot cheaper – and safer,” he said.

Regional Traffic Coordinator for Metropolitan North, Inspector Jac Feather told the Brisbane Times, “Far too many drivers still believe that there is an acceptable risk in leaving licensed premises or home after consuming alcohol and driving their vehicles with little regard for their own lives or the lives of other road users.” (Brisbane times 24 Feb, 2013)

Mr Wash said it has never been easier to call a taxi as almost all taxi companies now have smartphone booking apps.

His advice is simple: “If you drink and need to drive, make sure you drive in the passenger seat of a taxi.”


The Australian public are being fooled into believing a deregulated taxi industry will lead to better services and lower prices, when the opposite is true, according to the Chief Executive of Taxi Council Queensland, Benjamin Wash.
Mr Wash said he was speaking out to stop the “blatant misinformation being peddled by Victorian Taxi Industry Inquiry Chair Professor Allan Fels, which was creating uncertainly within the industry across Australia.

“In Queensland we enjoy a stable taxi industry backed by an understanding Government that protects customers through sensible regulation.

“Yet Professor Fels, in preparing his report, failed to visit any booking company in Queensland. If he was truly interested in solutions he would have found out why the system works well here”

Mr Wash also criticised Professor Fels’ support of taxi apps and hire cars that operate outside the regulated system.

“The taxi industry has no problems with any smartphone app or hire car company as long as they play by the same rules, become taxi booking companies and guarantee the same level of customer service and support as every other booking company,” he explained.

Mr Wash warned that industry deregulation – a position favoured by Fels – will lead to “industry chaos, poor customer service, low supply of taxis and skyrocketing prices”, something that overseas markets are already experiencing.

He cited a recent example where Uber – a company now operating in Australia – charged $284 for a fare that would usually cost around $50 due to high demand on New Years Eve.
After complaining to Uber, the customer was told he was being charged “surge pricing”.

“This is blatant price gouging under a sexed up name and it will happen in Australia under a deregulated market,” Mr Wash predicted.

“That cannot happen under the current system. How can Professor Fels support customers being charged five times the usual fare?”

Mr Wash said regulation developed through years of dialogue and cooperation between the industry and government was currently protecting customers, drivers and owners.

“History tells us that deregulation of service industries rarely results in lower prices. but almost always opens the door to exploitative behaviour.”

“We all want a taxi industry that provides great service, value and safety. But the road to achieving that is to ensure there is one playing field that provides protection for all.”

Link to Uber hire car charging $284 and calling it “Surge Pricing” ––concerns-officials


The Taxi Council of Queensland has expressed shock and disappointment that the LNP State Government has decided not to honour the commitment of the former Labor Government to implement a taxi disability subsidy.

The subsidy would have provided $6.50 for each trip taken by wheelchair-bound passengers to compensate drivers for loss of revenue due to the extra time taken to pick up customers.

The Council’s CEO, Benjamin Wash, said the industry had lobbied for this subsidy for over ten years and it was a bitter pill to have lost it before it had even started.

“I received a call from Transport Minister Scott Emerson last night to advise that the Government had decided not to honor the commitment,” he said.

Mr Wash said the scheme was long overdue and the commitment was well below that offered by all other state governments.

“Western Australia has just increased their subsidy to $20 and even $30 in some circumstances, and we can’t even provide $6.50.”

He said it was particularly surprising because the money was not coming from State Government revenue, but from overpayments of GST.

“The money the former government had allocated was federal money so I’d imagine this money is still there.”

Mr Wash said drivers often sacrifice higher fares to pick up disabled customers. “They do so gladly and professionally so they deserve this compensation.”