Taxi industry pushes  innovation drive
More business: Taxi industry pushes for cabbies to carry more than people. Picture: Ben Crabtree/The West Australian

Cabbies should be allowed to diversify and start transporting pets, medical prescriptions and furniture.

The call to broaden the range of services offered by WA taxi drivers is included in a submission by the Australian Taxi Federation to the Economic Regulation Authority's inquiry into microeconomic reform.

The federation, which is based in Queensland but claims to represent taxi drivers across the nation, also wants all fares between 10pm and 5am to be prepaid and for all passengers to be required to flash their identification to car security cameras.

And, to encourage drivers to take short trips, it also wants a minimum $10 fare introduced.

The ERA's draft report released this year recommended removing restrictions on new taxi plates and allowing small charter vehicles to compete with taxis.

Both moves were generally rejected in submissions to the review from within the WA taxi industry.

The federation said the WA industry was hampered by "cumbersome and unnecessary regulations" that limited innovation.

It said partial deregulation would help the industry stay relevant.

In addition to offering new and more diverse services, the federation said individual owners and drivers should be able to advertise.

"To remain competitive in today's market, the taxi industry must be able to quickly change itself to the needs of the travelling public," it said.

The federation said safety should always be a priority in any reforms.

In its submission, the Department of Transport, the Public Transport Authority and Main Roads also said Perth's taxi industry lacked competition and innovation and new rules and regulations were needed to make taxis more competitive.

It said these changes were needed if taxi owners were going to be able to align their business model to changing consumer expectations.

The West Australian

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