Yellow Cabs will offer fixed fares for customers who telephone for a taxi in 2017 in the first return volley since ride-hailing* schemes such as Uber were legalised in Queensland.
It will be the first response from Queensland’s taxi industry since the Palaszczuk government announced on August 10, 2016, that Uber could operate legally in Queensland.
The scheme will be heavily promoted and launched in January 2017, but Yellow Cabs general manager Bill Parker confirmed on Monday “fixed fares” were being trialled.
“I will be honest with you, we’ve been trialling it and the public like it,” Mr Parker said.
“But we are going to take it bit further in January 2017.”
Mr Parker said customers could phone and ask for a fixed fee, which would be factored into the successful driver’s meter system.
“So if you ring up and say you live at Belmont Road, Tingalpa, and you want to go to Chestnut Street, Auchenflower, for example, and you ask ‘Can I have a fixed price’, well, we will give it to you,” Mr Parker said.
“We will tell the driver that is what the fixed price is.”
Yellow Cabs is making modifications to integrate the cabs’ metering system with Yellow Cabs dispatch system.
“So if we quote you $65, for example, we will put that on his or her meter, so that they can’t charge you any more, or any less,” he said.
Mr Parker said while fixed fares had been quietly available in the past, it would soon become a regular policy as part of a suite of other changes to be announced in January.
Mr Parker said the move was being made to counter a perception that some cab drivers took the longest way to get to a destination and “were dishonest”.
He said the reality in most situations was that prices varied depending on how busy traffic was on certain routes, how many red lights the car driver struck and whether school holidays had started.
“So what we are doing is giving people the surety that they are not going to taken advantage of,” he said.
“I mean, the average (cab) driver does not do the wrong thing, but we want to take the public perception away.”
Mr Parker said Yellow Cabs was meeting with a number of organisations next week to finalise its new fare offers, including fixed fares.
He said it was an extension of the fare calculator on Yellow Cabs Brisbane’s website.
“What we have done in the past is say that is an approximation, because we do not know if there are roadworks, or a road closure or whatever,” Mr Parker said.
The fare calculator now says it is an estimate only.
“The results given using the fare calculator are indicative only and do not represent a ‘quote’ for payment purposes,” it reads.
Mr Parker said that would change.
“So what we are doing is taking that one step further and offering that to them in advance and putting that on the drivers’ meter,” he said.
“Because we can do that with the technology that we currently have.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced in August that ride hailing services such as Uber would be operate free in Queensland from September 5, 2016.
Queensland’s 13,000 taxi drivers were disappointed at the outcome of the review, which heard that the value of cab licences had dropped from $519,000 in 2014 to about $260,000 in 2016.
Mr Parker declined to release for information to keep his “competitors at bay”.