Taxi company plans extra charge to guarantee cabs

The Transport Minister Troy Buswell has defended his decision to allow Swan Taxis to charge a fee to ensure cabs booked in advance arrive on time.

Swan Taxis says it will give customers the option of paying a $9 fee for cabs booked 24 hours in advance.

If the taxi is five minutes late the fee is waived.

Mr Buswell says it is up to customers to decide if they want to pay the fee.

"I view this as a service provider offering an alternate project to the public," he said.

"If the customers think it's a good idea and represents value for money they'll use it, but it's a service offering that Swan Taxis is trialing in the market and we'll see how it goes." The chairman of the Taxi Council Kevin Foley believes the public will not object to paying the fee if it means they can be guaranteed a taxi.

"I mean, it's a request from the community that a huge amount of people have said look I don't mind being charged a little extra if I can be assured I can get a cab," he said.

"The $9 fee is to contribute towards the driver coming off the road prior to that job being due to make sure that those people get a cab on time, particularly with important bookings of hook ups with other transport such as airlines.

"I haven't had a complaint in the last two years about any over charges but I've been inundated with complaints about not being able to get a cab on time.

"This is a trial and we're trying it out to see how it works, and I think to have this option is a great innovation.

"Certain drivers had to sign agreements to agree to do this.

We did not allow just any driver to do it.

"They have to have driven a cab for 12 months, they had to agree not to charge the fee if they don't arrive on time and they must have a very clean record of not being at jobs on time." However, the Opposition leader Mark McGowan says customers have a right to be angry.

"This is just another way that ordinary families in Western Australia have to pay more money," he said.

"To have to pay an additional fee, which Mr Buswell has approved, just in the hope the taxi will arrive on time is too much." The optional fee will apply from tomorrow.

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