Perth's taxi service is in the spotlight again after media personality Lisa Fernandez says she was kicked out of a cab because the driver was unwilling to travel 10km to her home.
Fernandez hailed a Swan Taxis cab about 7pm on Saturday after attending Polo in the City at Langley Park but was asked to get out after giving her Bayswater address.
"The driver said, 'No, I don't want to go in that direction, you'll have to get out'," she said yesterday. "I was gobsmacked and really angry. It defies logic. Why are you driving a cab if you're not willing to take me 10 minutes?"
The former 92.9 breakfast radio host took to social media to vent her frustration, which prompted other passengers to come forward with their stories.
Fernandez said though she'd had a few drinks she was not drunk and was keen to get home where her dad was babysitting her daughter Isabella.
She said she caught taxis regularly and most drivers were fantastic. But she was aware of other passengers also being refused service and said it created a dangerous situation for women on their own.
Fernandez got out of the taxi before she could take down the driver's details and hailed a Tricolor taxi, which took her home.
Drivers face a $200 fine if they refuse fares, except in some circumstances that include if the passenger is abusive, refuses to pre-pay a fare or is intoxicated to an extent that they are likely to become abusive or soil the taxi.
Taxi Council of WA chief executive Olwyn Williams advised anyone who experienced unlawful fare refusal to complain to the Department of Transport.
"It's outrageous," she said. "They are there to provide a public service and if they aren't willing to do it at 7pm on a Saturday, you would have to question when they were prepared to."
Ms Williams said most drivers did the right thing.
A Swan Taxis spokesman said the company would investigate any complaints of unlawful fare refusal and take action. He advised passengers to write down numberplate or driver details.
Transport Minister Troy Buswell said the State Government's taxi reforms, including a demerit points system for drivers who breach regulations, would be one way to improve safety and standards in the industry. The legislation is still before Parliament.