Brisbane’s taxi service is one that operates on demand, 24 hours a day, seven days a week yet their drivers are amongst the worst treated employees in the transport industry.
Every year over 3200 taxi’s travel nearly 440 million kilometres transporting more than 90 million passengers. However, these hard-working men and women have no access to superannuation, work cover, sick or annual leave, and are constant victims of racism, verbal abuse and assault.
A 2010 report to the Workplace Ombudsman found that the average driver works a 45 hour week and makes around $10.72 less GST per hour. In addition, 82 per cent of surveyed drivers reported verbal abuse from either patrons or employers, and 34 per cent being victims of assault.
Bill Parker, general manager of the Yellow Cab Company, is aware of driver discrimination.
“People tend to forget that drivers also deliver all sorts of things from plasma, blood, the disabled and elderly,” he said. “Cab drivers are out there providing a 24/7 service to your front door, at times when public transport does not run.”
Joey, a Brisbane Yellow Cab driver said he was one of the few drivers that enjoy the dreaded Friday and Saturday nights and finds intoxicated passengers quite funny: “They remind me of myself when I was young, I can handle the drunk people.”
John Busst, owner and founder of Ozecab, is concerned about the current state of the cab industry.
“You’re talking about an industry that does not want change,” he said. “There are staggering problems out there, believe me.”
Story by Natalie Linsdell