The Department of Transport has confirmed it is investigating reports of a scam taxi operation in Bunbury which has been accused of targeting drunk women and forcing them to pay exorbitant fares. In a statement the department said it had received complaints about the taxi and has urged patrons to be careful when entering. “The Department of Transport has been notified of incidents regarding taxi services in Bunbury and is investigating,” they said. “All taxi drivers must hold a passenger transport driver (PTD) authorisation. To obtain and maintain this authorisation, drivers must supply a medical assessment and National Police Certificate. “All taxis must have ‘TAXI’ plates attached to the vehicle, and prominent livery on the outside of the vehicle to identify the on-demand booking service the vehicle is operating for.” The taxis in question, featuring limited livery, have been spotted waiting at taxi cab ranks used by legitimate taxi services and in one instance made a group of three women pay a total of $175 for about a 12km trip. One person who has felt the financial impact of this scam is Australind resident Daryl, who only wanted his first named used. He told the South Western Times that when he saw the cost of his partner’s fare home from a night out, red flags were immediately raised. Daryl’s partner had been enjoying a night out with friends on Saturday and then took a taxi from the Bunbury CBD to their homes in Australind in the early hours of Sunday. But when he checked his bank account that morning, $35 had been charged for what would have been a one minute drive from another friend’s house who had also been dropped off. His shock only escalated after finding out the two friends his partner had been out with were also charged $75 and $65 each, making the total cost $175 for the trip from Bunbury to Australind. With the group of women too intoxicated to remember any details of the ride, Daryl took his questions to who he thought was the culprit, Bunbury Taxis but found out it was in fact not their car. This brought Daryl and Bunbury Taxi Cabs director Navdeep Kumar together and the pair eventually found a possible culprit and contacted the Department of Transport. Mr Kumar said the incidents gave the industry a bad wrap. “They are letting us down (because) when something happens like this then people say it is Bunbury Taxis doing it, when it is not,” he said. “They have very small stickers on the side of the doors and that is all, which is very much not visible and people think they are Bunbury Taxis, but we have signage all around.” Taxi drivers must display appropriate identification including their photo, first name and PTD authorisation number. This is usually displayed on the meter, dashboard or sun visor. The Department of Transport spokesperson said passengers should take a picture of a the vehicle’s number plate, request to see the driver’s identification if need be and request a receipt to ensure important details are kept if a report needs to be filed. Passengers can look up the taxi’s registration on www.transport.wa.gov.au/tripcheck and reports can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org.