PERTH’S taxi driver pay dispute is about to spill over onto CBD streets.Taxi drivers want an 8 per cent fare increase and are upset fares have not risen since December 1997.Transport Workers Union organiser Tim Dawson said taxi drivers planned to rally in the CBD on August 8. “People who’ve been in the industry for 15 years are saying they’ve never seen it so bad,” Mr Dawson said.“They work 60 to 70 hours per week and reckon they’re getting about $6 an hour.“The price of autogas has gone from 25¢ to 40¢ per litre.”Transport WA Taxi Unit manager Rob Leicester said taxi fares were due to be reviewed in October.Last year, Transport WA tied taxi fares to increases in the Consumer Price Index.“In a five year period taxi fares increased about 17 per cent while the CPI only rose about 3 per cent,” Mr Leicester said.“There was one year, about three or four years back, when taxi fares rose 8.5 per cent and the CPI increase was zero.”Mr Leicester said he was not sure a fare rise would be in the taxi industry’s best interests.“It may alienate some taxi passengers,” he said.The taxi industry believes special charter vehicles are stealing some of their business.SCVs such as limousines and special hire vehicles have to charge their passengers more than taxis and can only pick up passengers that have booked them. Mr Dawson said some SCV operators were operating outside the rules by picking up passengers from the side of the road.Mr Leicester said his unit had recently been given the job of policing the SCVs.Taxi drivers are also annoyed with the Westralia Airports Corporation, which charges taxi drivers $1 every time they go onto its land to pick up passengers.Up to 5,000 taxis got to the airport each day.
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