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The Commonwealth Games 2026 Challenge!

May 31, 2023 | Advocacy

Predicting the future is not always easy, you just need to look at how much money Tattslotto gets to keep each week.
It is however crystal clear that if changes are not made now to the taxi industry, then those with mobility issues will have a snow – flakes chance in hell of getting transport when they need it, during the Commonwealth Games in 3 years time.
How can I make such a definitive statement after just saying how hard it is to predict the future, its easy, those passengers are struggling to get transport now! So, with more people wanting transport due to the extra visitors to Victoria, then the situation will obviously only get worse. That is without even considering those who will want group transportation.
Couple this with diminishing Wheelchair fleets, we just don’t know by how much because the regulator either does not know, or more likely does not want to tell anyone.
This is despite a parliamentary inquiry into the MPTP program giving them 3 months to get that figure, and they have not produced it some 15 months after the request. Based on the Regulators’ own annual reports there has been a reduction in Taxis (the only ones offering wheelchair services ) of 25% over the last 2 years overall. This will obviously include Wat’s (wheelchair accessible taxis). Many regional and Country BSPs are reluctantly making the business decision to reduce these services, something the Government has been extolling them to do since deregulation. They have not said this in so many words but rather have stated that these services are simply business transactions and need to be treated as such.
With tightening margins and less passengers, as the current economic conditions continue to affect all businesses this situation will get worse. There is a reason that the myriad of new entrants to the industry have never become involved in this sector.
So we have a Department of transport who proudly tell everyone they are monitoring the situation to ensure there is no negative effect on passengers. They must be monitoring the situation without figures and relying on the old scientific method of having a feeling in their collective waters. It’s a simple equation we have had a 25% reduction over the last 2 years, when renewal payments were not being asked for, and it is a fair bet this trend will continue over the next 3 years.
There is a 1 year wait for new vehicles after they have been ordered, and we are looking at a massive increase in demand in 3 years’ time. Whatever way you look at it, it is hard to see anything but a mess.
Victoria will have the eyes of the Commonwealth on it and what will they see. They will see Victoria is the place to be if you have good mobility. If, however, you are not quite so agile and have some mobility issues you are going to really need to enjoy wherever you are going because you are going to be stuck there all day.
The Government for whatever reason seems to think that Community based and focused Taxis companies are going to turn their collective backs on the Community members they already struggle to service everyday just so they can transport some overseas visitors, its not going to happen. They seem to think that the greatest asset our regional towns have, their Community spirit and support of each other, will be forgotten for the duration of the games. They have forgotten that one of the reasons behind regionalizing some components of the games was to show off our unique Communities and spirit that binds them together.
I am not sure when the Government will actually realize just how dire and desperate the situation is becoming.
I can only hope that it is soon and not before it is too late to avoid international embarrassment.

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