State Government rescue package to taxi, rideshare, limousine drivers and operators


The State Government will today announce a $54.5 million rescue package for the transport sector, including taxi, rideshare and limousine drivers and operators, due to the impacts coronavirus.

Among measures included will be the automatic extension of booked hire and taxi authorisations and taxi and limousine licences for another six months.

The $54.5m also includes funding to keep air, bus and ferry services running.

A fee for deregistering and re-registering vehicles would also be waived, with some operators indicating they want to reduce their fleet sizes for the duration of the pandemic.

The measures have been welcomed by the taxi industry, which along with other operators had been hit hard by restrictions on non-essential travel.

“Thousands of drivers have been on the frontline in this pandemic helping people with essential travel, but in many the industry have reported a significant drop in bookings,” Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said.

“Wheelchair accessible taxis in particular play an important role in connecting vulnerable people to essential services, such as medical and health services, so it’s important that those customers can continue to access services.”

A levy paid for taxi security was also being waived.

The downturn in trips is despite attempts by the industry to adapt to the rapidly changing circumstances, with taxi companies ordering their vehicles to be cleaned more regularly and thoroughly to limit the potential spread of the virus.

Operator 13 CABS also announced it would be turning its taxis into makeshift delivery vans, while rideshare giant DiDi last month announced it would suspend its carpool service.

“I want to acknowledge the industry’s role in keeping Queensland moving during coronavirus, and the effort they’ve put in to make sure that when people need to travel they’re practising social distancing and good hygiene,” Mr Bailey said.

“We’ll continue to work with operators and the industry to support them as they face the challenges of COVID-19.”

Taxi Council of Queensland chief executive Blair Davies said the announcement came at a make-or-break time for the state’s taxi industry.

“It is very tough times for Queensland cabbies at the moment and so the Government’s announcement of fee waivers is welcome news for the industry,” Mr Blair said.