Taxi loss business blow

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser
Owner and Chef of Denmark restaurant, Pepper and Salt, Silas Masih is now driving his customers to his restaurant due to the lack of public transport in town.
Camera IconOwner and Chef of Denmark restaurant, Pepper and Salt, Silas Masih is now driving his customers to his restaurant due to the lack of public transport in town. Credit: Picture: Laurie Benson, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

The departure of the only taxi operator in Denmark has left a dent in the economy, with businesses claiming a loss in revenue.

Renowned chef and owner of Pepper and Salt restaurant, Silas Masih, said he had noticed a drop in his restaurant’s revenue since the town was left without a taxi service six months ago.

“What generally happens is that my customers will go for wine-tasting during the day and come to our restaurant for dinner,” Mr Masih said.

“They won’t be able to drive after the wine tour and expected to catch a cab for dinner but since we have no taxi in town many of them have to cancel the bookings.”

Mr Masih has resorted to driving his own customers from and to their accommodation in order to keep revenue stable.

He said he picked up customers before he started cooking for the day and drove them back once he had cooked the last meal of the night.

“It’s difficult to run a small business, let alone a tourism business where you have to rely on customers to make a living,” he said.

“And something like not having a cab in town makes a massive dent into your revenue streams.

“I feel like tourism has really stagnated in our town and small business are suffering because of it.”

Denmark Chamber of Commerce chief executive Liz Jack said many tourism and hospitality businesses had suffered a loss in revenue without a taxi service.

Ms Jack said the Chamber had organised a community meeting with local business owners to find a solution.

“We are having some conversations with some charter operations about the possibility of providing some form of interim (service) over the summer holiday period,” she said.

“We have had conversations with Hi Oscar from Margaret River to ask if they are interested in providing a service here.

“And we would like to urge anyone who is interested in being a driver to get in contact with us.”

Mr Masih said if the situation did not improve, some restaurants and wineries would have to change their opening hours.

“With all the high costs involved in running business in a small country town, it’s getting harder to keep this operation running,” he said.

“And with less revenue, more businesses will have to reduce their opening hours.”

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