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OK Adrian,

What exactly is the rule regarding who decides where the cab is to go. Are you guys able to decline a destination? If I am at a rank and the cab pulls up and I say - "to Mosman please" - can he say "sorry I don't go over the bridge...."?

I was always under the impression that the hirer directs the driver - not the other way around...

I'm surprised how many people are jumping down her throat, especially when she was already in the cab when he refused her.

I'm surprised at some of the comments on the story as well.

Oy vey. Some of the comments from both sides are a touch brow-raising, aren't they?

often there are good reasons for a cab driver to refuse a fare. Most importantly, the driver may be at the end of his/her shift and having to head in a certain direction.

AG, according to Passenger Transport Regulation 2007, Part 8, Division 3, Clause 146,
A taxi with the Vacant sign lit is available for hire and must accept the hiring. Unless that fare meets certain disqualifying factors. In other words there is no cherry-picking fares to suit. Also, use of destination signs is only allowed under strict conditions.

If what the journalist alleges is true, then the cabbie is definitely in the wrong and there are no excuses for his behaviour.

Yet it's strange she was fobbed off so easily by the network when lodging a complaint. She had the plate number, so why not contact the police or Ministry of Transport?

I don't like the way the WRITER worte it anyway,just say what happened,don't say like "it is an industry badly regulated and ill-managed.....etc..."it may be true,however, it may got more chance of a liar writer if she can't tell the plate number. I don't believe any drive heading to Parramatte during peak hour with vacant.argument between cabbies and passangers ,everybody knows the media amplify whos benefits,and igonres whos, I never see a very good mannerne cabbie on paper!

Stories like this make me ashamed of my profession. This incidentally is the second story on mad cabbies the Telegraph has featured recently, at least the journos didn't describe the cabbies as being of "middle eastern appearance".

Still I feel sorry for Caire and her partner and the way they were treated by this driver, nobody deserves aggressive behaviour like that. Sadly I have to admit that the Taxi game is staffed by some fairly insane people. But the investors are happy, with many good returns.

I guess the principle behind media reports like Clairs is a push to deregulate the industry, the only weapon left to push the investors and managers of their happy little perch. The thought here is to increase competition and you'll end up with more drivers willing to do anything to get that meter ticking.

Unfortunately that is wrongful thinking, the money at the coalface of the cab industry is so little that you end up with drivers as featured in the story; who would drive cabs if the earnings would get even lower than the recent levels? Someone would, but I already feel sorry for the people of Sydney if that would eventuate.

I apologize to all Cablog readers for taking their time here, but there has always been something wrong in the Taxi industry in N.S.W. and that is why you get crap cab drivers.

The main problem is that the industry has problems retaining experienced drivers, mainly because of the conditions this business offers. So, a lot of people give it a go but then give it away because there is no future in it.

I know quiet a few drivers that stuck it out for many years, including myself, who never saw long service leave, superannuation, sick leave or holiday loading. Nothing, except the hassle of record keeping, paying BAS, and copping poverty when the economy turns downwards as that is your problem, not the managers that collect a steady pay in.

So if the people that are pushing for a change want to see service levels improve and get drivers that care about what they are doing, push the Taxi industry to issue free plates to Drivers that have been involved in the industry for some time, have good driving records and customer service skills.

GET THE CABBIES YOU DESERVE SYDNEY, and than the fellow that gave Claire such a bad time can bugger off to wherever he came from, some warehouse job or something. To be a good cabbie you have to like people and keep the community in mind--that's the beauty of the job. Thank you for your time.

could not have put it better myself rainer,you only hear in the media about the 10% of bad cabbie never of the 90%who do the right thing by the industry,maybe why most only stay in the game for less than 2 years.

Something is missing from the story.

Probably the part where the driver said he was off shift, or needed to go to the store before the end of his shift. The author probably failed to mention that the driver politely asked them to get out for the aforementioned reasons and they refused.

Rainer
I don't think de-regulation is the answer.
I think the main problem is that the taxi industry is a service industry that is paying its workers on commission. In NSW drivers pay a set ammount for the shift and what they take over this + fuel is theirs and in Victoria the drivers are paid a percentage of the total monies for the shift.
If you relate this to other service industries like a restaurant where the waiter is paid a wage.
If that waiter was paid in the same manner as a taxi driver then the single customer who just wanted to buy a $3 coffe would not get the same service as a table of eight people ordering a three course meal where the bill would probaly be around $300. Working on 50% commision the waiter would earn $150 with the large table instead of $1.50 with the coffe person. There is no prize for guessing which custome would be the loser in this contest.
There is always the exceptions like Adrian, Rainer and Manly Cabbie who may be willing to forgo a few dollars on the shift to offer customer service but the industy is structured in such a way to discourage this rather than reward it.
I'm not in any way trying to justify the cab driver in Clair Masters story, he should be easily identified and drummed out of the industry but if a professional cab driver is trying to support a family and pay a mortgage I don't think he can be blamed for trying to maximise his income under the present wage structure.
Unfortunately the unpopular fare will not get the same service that a more popular fare will get under the current arrangements.

Turner
You made a very good and justified point. But again, if the person driving the cab is the owner/operator, and has not got a mountain of debt hanging over his head, you'll find service levels will improve.
And let us not forget the Taxi God, he who dishes out karma, and the mantra that a small fare well done, will bag you a big job and fun.

Hello all,
I must say I agree with Rainer.

Personally I think it is only the investors who fear deregulation.

If you let drivers get a taxi licence after say 2 years of service (instead of the rediculous $350,000- price tag) you would get people making a go of it. Put simply the investors and taxi companies have taken all the cream.

Whilst it is bad for drivers to do what has been mentioned... this is the result of regulations and the investor.

Personally I have been at the airport in a queue for over 1 hour only to get a fare to the domestic/international terminal..... $6- at best! DOES ANYBODY CARE ABOUT THIS? Technically the regulations say you can't refuse a fare...... That means I dae $3- after splitting takings with the owner (As per most balee agreements).

This is way people leave the industry in droves.

PUT OF THE DAY - do you want a taxi on New Years eve? Simply way to ensure the taxi waits for you..... OFFER THE TAXI DRIVER A $50- TIP TO PICK YOU UP! Not many people will do this however.... no they expect rolls royce service for a commodore price! Hence the standard of drivers we have.

Thanks Adrian,

I thought that was the rule - we get in and tell you where to go (so to speak!). I also understand that a Manly cabbie isn't keen on taking me into the city. Fair enough.

But if his "for hire" light is on and he's anywhere near the CBD then you have every right to direct him as you want.

i'll go any where short or long fare,you never no what it will lead to.

I'm with Brian. I have that same feeling that something crucial to the outcome has been left out of the story.

Brian/Steve - I don't think she left anything out.

As a non-driver these days I take a lot of cabs. And some cabbies - probably because it's a damn poorly paid job at times - fish for the best jobs. I have jumped into cabs a number of times - all of whom had their light on and acknowledged that I could get into the cab - only to be told they would only go to x because of y reason. Happens frequently - which is why I tend to prefer to call guys I know rather than hail or book a cab. The people who I call:

* I trust.
* They know where they are going or if they don't they ask me or look it up.
* They take the best route (or the route I want).
* They show up and don't pretend they drove by and I "wasn't out the front".
* Their EFTPOS works or if it doesn't work then they aren't lying to me.
* They display ID.
* They are polite.
* And generally their cabs are well maintained.

I like most cabbies, hell I spend a lot of time in cabs I better like them, and I understand that at times it's a shit job with crap passengers. But it's a job with rules and regulations that both passenger and driver have to abide by. If I am polite and abide by the rules then cabbies should too. It's a few bad apples that spoil it for everyone. IMHO the Taxi Industry is crying out for a Royal Commission.

The cab was vacant, he has his light on and it was not the end of his shift it was 6.30pm

Hi everyone,

There are some interesting points being discussed here regarding the plight of the taxi industry in general. However, I take offense when people allude to Clare somehow misleading readers or leaving important facts out of her story. I am Clare's partner and I was there. Here are a few points I would like to clarify:
- The driver's light was on.
- He did not protest when we opened the door and got into his cab.
- When we asked to go to Kings Cross he replied, "No, I'm not going to Kings Cross I'm going to Parramatta".
- When we argued that his light was on and he was legally bound to take us where we wanted to go he got aggressive and began to swear at us (and let's face it people, a fare from the city to the cross is not asking too much).
- It was 6.30pm... he never once said it was the end of his shift. As I understand it, most cabbie shifts are 12 hours and go from 3-3.
- After listening to enough swearing, Clare took out a pad and pen to write down his driver number which he was not displaying anywhere inside the cab (Against the rules too I think). He claimed someone stole it. The driver then reached round and violently ripped the pad from her hands and threw it in the front passenger seat.
- In shock and in reflex, Clare instinctively tried to regather her pad and the driver raised his fist in a flinched attempt to strike her.
- The situation was serious enough that I felt I had to get in between them so that he didn't strike her. Imagine if she had been alone in the cab with this lunatic. Imagine for a moment that it's your wife, your girlfriend, your mother, or your sister in this cab. How would you feel?
- After this ridiculous confrontation was over, and in the absence of any displayed driver identification, our only recourse was to report the license number of the cab, which we did despite claims and posts on this site to the contrary. In fact, the license number is etched in my memory... (_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _)!

I mean seriously guys, all we wanted to do was take a 15 minute cab ride to Kings Cross from the city to have some dinner. Did we deserve to be treated like this? No. Are there really any excuses for the driver's actions? No again.

I know the majority of cabbies out there are great. I know this because I get a lot of cabs and in most cases they are efficient, polite and more often than not, good for a chat. But this guy was well out of line.

It seems the best defense the industry has here is to attack the victim.

We all need to feel confident that the system for reporting and recording complaints against rogue drivers actually works. If not, the bad drivers that give 95 per cent of you good drivers a bad name will continue to be an issue.

Thanks for listening,

Alistair.

Alistar, thanks for this detailed response. However I'd prefer you didn't publish the taxi number, neither once nor nineteen times(!?)

As this case is currently under investigation you'd appreciate such an action is premature. Moreover, that cab is most likely driven by any number of drivers.

Whilst we wait for the network to complete their investigation, you'll understand that there has been some natural debate amongst drivers over your exact route and drop off point, in relation to the article stating, 'we're about to go over the Anzac Bridge'. Maybe you could clear this up..?

Hi Adrian,
Not a problem, always glad to help.
Rather than asking me to edit what I write, you might want to improve your own editing system so that you are able to moderate what goes up on your blog site. Many newspaper and TV internet blogs already have a system like this in place to avoid defammatory and libellous material being posted, which you, as the blog host, are legally responsible for.
Now Adrian, there will always be lively debate amongst drivers over an incident in which one of their colleagues has acted inappropriately.
But reading through your site it appears many of them have great sympathy for us and what we went through. You on the other hand seem more intent demonising the victims. Defense barristers employ this tactic everyday.
But of course, this is a cabbie blog afterall and you are a cab driver. I shouldn't expect a balanced view from you.
I have complained about drivers in the past and I may as well have rung the king of Denmark to complain with the lack of action that resulted.
Call me cynical, but would it be because it ended up in the paper? Would an investigation be taking place if we just called the complaints line? The only option available to the gereral public.
I am amazed and heartened the industry is actually investigating this matter. You should be too.
For once some action is being taken, and a bad driver will hopefully be held accountable. A positive result for all.
So Adrian, let's wait for the result of the investigation to clear this matter up for all of us.
Cheers
Alistair.

Hi,

Excuse me if I'm getting in the middle of something -I've waited 3 hours to comment since Alistair's last comment -but..

Have I missed something ? Is there something I haven't been able to read on this issue ? I'm serious.

Because everything I've read from Adrian has been supportive of Clare -Adrian has been urging that this matter be fully investigated and not just let lie.

I've seen nothing that would lead me to believe that Adrian is somehow acting like a " defence barrister " for the cabbie in question -nor has Adrian expressed any criticism of Clare or Alistair.

I can't understand how -from what I've read -that Adrian could be -in any way -construed as being " unbalanced " on this issue.

That is why I've -reluctantly -left this comment -I can't see where Alistair is coming from in his last comment above..

What more could Adrian say that would show his right-thinking and logical stance more clearly than he already has ?

Thus I ask : have I missed something here ?

Gees, Alistair, settle down. All I asked was where you went and where you got out, as Clare was sketchy on this. But if you don't want to provide these details, fair enough, no need to attack me. Whilst the network retains GPS log data on archival tapes, I just thought you could enlighten us in the meantime.

Clearly Alistair isn't a cablog regular, as Adrian has never struck me as being about victimising passengers accounts.

Also Alistair I don't think you should really be comparing cablog to the blogs on the media sites
"you might want to improve your own editing system so that you are able to moderate what goes up on your blog site. Many newspaper and TV internet blogs already have a system like this in place to avoid defammatory and libellous material being posted, which you, as the blog host, are legally responsible for."
The flipside is that your entire comment gets deleted, which would you prefer? I imagine if your entire comment was missing you'd be crying foul about being muzzled by the taxi establishment.

Goldstein
Good question, after reading all of the posts and comments on the story, I also feel that we are missing something. Also, most Cablog readers are aware that Adrian is a balanced blogger and writer who gives credit where credit is due. The only defamatory and libellous material I have read here were from readers questioning newspaper reports. Are we still allowed to do that ?
Alistair, all of us are on your side in regards to what happened to you and Clare. I reckon we should all calm down and wait for the network to deliver the details and verdict, and hope they won't muck us around.

Well said, Rainer, my sentiments exactly. Thus I'm closing this thread until we hear the results of the investigation - Adrian

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