Small Charter Vehicle operators want a fair go

A MORATORIUM on small vehicle charter licences is forcing WA business Quicksilver Chauffeur Drive to put expansion plans on hold while the Government ponders the future of the taxi industry in WA.

A report has been prepared on small vehicle charter licences.

Department Planning and Infra-structure manager of communications, Arabella Taylor, said the reports looked at a number of issues but any announcement could still be some time off.

“It depends on when the minister looks at the options. It could be pretty quick or it could be some months,” Ms Taylor said.

This is bad news for small vehicle charter operators who are looking to expand their operation, or new players interested in entering the industry.

“I’ve been trying to get a second set of plates to put another vehicle on the road since March,” Quicksilver Chauffeur Drive director Aubrey Byrne-Quinn said.

“Initially the Government said they’d suspended the release of the plates for two to three weeks, but the taxi industry complained they were losing business (to small charter vehicles).

“I say they’re (taxis) losing business because of a lack of service. The business community wants our type of service.”

Quicksilver Chauffeur Drive operates two luxury silver sedans for its predominantly corporate clientele.

The small charter vehicle charter licences are available for the relatively small annual charge of $4.25 per passenger seat in the vehicle, but there are a number of restrictions placed on licence holders. The operators are only allowed to take bookings for their cars and they can’t tout for business on the streets like the regular taxis.

There is also a minimum fare charge of $43.60 irrespective of the length of the journey.

“We put emphasis on presentation, punctuality and service, and the business community is quite prepared to pay for this,” Mr Byrne-Quinn said.

“We’re fulfilling the needs of the community but the taxi industry complains we’re taking work from them and the minister seems to agree, but if she did her homework she’d see there is demand.”

If the moratorium on licence plates continues much longer Mr Byrne-Quinn claims his business will be in serious trouble.

“I’m offloading work to my opposition and it’s costing me money,” he said.

“The bottom line is the Department of Transport has to give the public what it wants and not restrict us like they’re doing at the moment.

“She (the minister) really needs to treat this matter seriously, as it’s the business community of Perth.”

There are currently about 700 small charter vehicles in Perth, including stretch limousines, vintage cars and sedans. Mr Byrne-Quinn claims that by the end of the year there’ll be more SCV plates than taxi plates.

“I love my job and the people I pick up are really nice people. It’s a great industry but there’s a lot more work out there and through this moratorium they’re restricting small business,” he said.

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