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Australia - Taxis
Most cities will have proper taxi ranks at all the busy locations such as hotels, railway stations and shopping areas. If you see a taxi that has the rootop light lit it is available for hire and you can hail it in the street. Taxis can be booked by telephone if you want to make arrangements in advance. Cities such as Melbourne have started a ‘taxi totem’ system. Totems have been installed in a number of locations and will features details of your exact location and numbers to call for standard taxis and those with disabled access.
There are a number of facilities for those who need taxi services for the disabled. In the state of Victoria there is the Multi Purpose Taxi Programme which offers subsidised fares to those who have a permanent disability. An application needs to be made to the Victoria state government. Those who are a part of this scheme will not be expected to pay a fee to load wheelchairs onto the taxi. Silvertop taxi services in Melbourne also have disabled access facilities.
There are some people who may be concerned about taking a taxi and in some areas Safe City Taxi Ranks which help make travelling safer at night, both for the passenger and the driver. Security officers work in the area and there are panic buttons in case problems arise.
Paying for a taxi can be done in a number of ways. Most people will pay for their journey with cash but it is also possible to pay with a credit or debit card or taxi vouchers in some regions. The driver will be able to give you an idea of all the payment options that are available to you before you start and if you want an idea of the cost of the journey, is obliged to give you an estimate.
It may be that you need to make a complaint about the taxi you took. The first port of call should be the taxi company, although you can call the local authorities that deal with the registrations of taxi drivers. You will need to provide them with the details of the journey as well as the driver’s number, the car registration number and the name of the taxi company.
Most states have a ‘taxi council’ that can provide you with information on the taxis services in your area. The taxi council oversees a number of factors connected to the taxi industry including complaints, fare regulations and driver registrations.
Drivers apply for a licence to drive a taxi and while some own the cars they drive, others will be driving a leased vehicle. Drivers are obliged to adhere to the regulations regarding the taxi business, ensure that the car that they are driving is in good roadworthy condition at all times, ensure that the cab always has the right paperwork and that all devices on board (such as the meter) are in good working order.
Some areas have a customer charter for taxi passengers which sets out the rights of the passenger. You have the right to a licensed driver, the right to choose the route that is taken for your journey, a taxi that is air-conditioned, the right to request that there is no music or conversation during the journey, the right to take onto the taxi an assistance dog if needed, the right to refuse to allow the taxi to be shared and the right to a receipt which is clear and gives all the details of the journey.
In return, customers are expected to adhere to a few rules too. Seatbelts must be worn at all times and you should not request that the driver carries more passengers than the legal limit, which will be displayed in the taxi for your information. If you make requests for extra services such as transporting animals then the tariffs may be higher and you should expect to pay more.
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