IN THE NEWS: New Perth taxi licences released

THE Western Australian government this week announced the release of 185 new taxi licences as well as dropping operational restrictions on peak taxis, a move it claims is to improve services for morning commuters and travellers. In addition, the state is looking at allowing hotels to be able to operate small-scale transfer services for their customers. State planning and infrastructure minister Alannah MacTiernan said the new taxi licences represented the biggest single release of conventional full-time taxi plates in decades and would add 15 per cent to the total Perth fleet. Ms MacTiernan said in a statement that increased business travel and the large number of fly-in-fly-out workers had strained WA’s taxi fleet’s capacity, which is regulated by the government. “We will allow peak period taxis to operate between 5am and 9am on weekdays in addition to their weekend entitlements,” she said. “We hope that this will add scores of additional taxis to the existing service every morning.” The minister said the Australian Hotels Association had requested that hotels be able to operate airport transfer services for their guests. “Major hotels want to be able to operate small-scale transfer services for their guests, so we are clarifying the rules so that this can happen,” she said. Ms MacTiernan acknowledged that more taxis was only part of the problem. Unruly passengers, poor remuneration and long hours have made taxi driving one of the jobs hit hardest by the state’s labour shortage. “Allowing more taxis to operate is only one part of the solution; we need more operators and drivers.”

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