Pending reforms put taxi firm off the road

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser
Katanning Taxi owner, Judy Reilley closed her taxi operation last week.
Camera IconKatanning Taxi owner, Judy Reilley closed her taxi operation last week. Credit: Jennifer Shepherd, Jennifer Shepherd.

Katanning Taxi’s owners said they have shut their taxi and chartered vehicles operation because of the looming on-demand transport reforms which many across the State claim have put regional taxi drivers on the back foot.

Judy and Peter Reilly, who ran the only taxi service in Katanning, said they could not comply with the State Government’s regulation changes due to cost and limited resources.

“We’re not making enough money as it is,” Judy Reilly said.

“With these new rules and having to organise a smartphone application for our booking service, we just can’t afford it.

“The transport department really needs to clean up its act, because they’re really putting country drivers, taxi owners and chartered vehicles to the wall.”

Ms Reilly said the elderly community in Katanning would miss their services the most.

“For the elderly in town, sometimes they would ring me up and give me a little grocery list and I would even do their shopping for them and take it to their house,” she said.

The changes to taxi regulations are part of the State Government’s 2017 response to the growth of services such as Uber and Ola.

But many regional taxi drivers have claimed the changes were designed to suit metropolitan taxis only.

Earlier this month, Denmark’s sole taxi operator closed and the owner of Albany’s biggest taxi operator said he could shut down if the reforms went ahead unchanged in July.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti defended the upcoming changes and said it would open up the market for competition and allow services to enter more communities.

“Regional operators in major centres across the State have been given the opportunity to meet with Department of Transport officers to discuss how the reform impacts them and to seek assistance on meeting their safety and authorisation obligation,” she said.

Local MP Peter Rundle said he was disappointed to hear about the closure of Katanning’s sole Taxi Service.

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