Rhiannon Cherry laments the shortage of taxis in Gladstone.
Rhiannon Cherry laments the shortage of taxis in Gladstone. Kerry Thomas

Gladstone taxi shortage

GLADSTONE may not be New York City, but that's no excuse for the scarcity of taxis on our streets.

This is the viewpoint of Rhiannon Cherry, who was left stranded with no way to get home after the Gladstone Cup Races last Saturday.

"Gladstone is only going to get bigger, but taxis can't even handle the demand now, especially when it comes to big events,” she said.

“I waited for over an hour for a taxi after the races, until my partner and I finally decided to start walking.

"We ended up walking the whole way home, from Yurella to New Auckland.

"It took us an hour and a half.”

Ms Cherry said that she was particularly concerned for youths who may be left on the side of the road late at night.

I wouldn't have walked if it wasn't for my partner,” she said.

"I think it's quite a dangerous situation where we have young girls, quite possibly drunk, stranded on the street or choosing to walk by themselves because there's no way for them to get home.

It's just putting them out there for something to happen.”

Ms Cherry said the problem didn't start and end with taxis, but the entire Gladstone transport system.

"Anywhere else you go, you can get a bus at night-time,” she said.

“There's no bus service here that runs after 3pm.

"That's crazy for a town that's growing like we are.”

"There's quite simply not enough options for people to get around if they're not driving.

"Which is another problem. I think people are getting caught drink-driving because the options are so few that they're choosing to take the risk.”

 

What the Taxi Company has to say

The taxi shortage in Gladstone isn’t due to a lack of vehicles, it’s because nobody wants to drive them.

Chairman of Blue & White Taxis Gladstone, Allan Rowe, said that no amount of advertisements or tenders seemed to be able to lure people into the taxi-driving business.

“We have plenty of positions available. There’s an abundance of work. Our problem is recruiting staff,” he said.

“We have passengers complaining that there aren’t enough taxis in Gladstone, and we’ll say, ‘great! Would you like to work a shift on the weekend?’ and they’ll say, ‘Mate, I wouldn’t do your job for quids.’”

When asked about people being left on the streets after big events, Mr Rowe said once again the demand was too great.

“We would get everybody home if we could get people to drive the taxis,” he said.

“Already we offer a shuttle bus service on Saturday night that will take you to your door for $5, but getting drivers to work weekend nights is really difficult.”

“If anyone at all is interested in doing some driving work – part-time or full-time – they can call us on 4972 7138 and I will personally call them back.

"We could do with at least a dozen more drivers.”

 

Taxi facts

  • There are 25 taxis in Gladstone.
  • Most of the taxi drivers are female.
  • Saturday night is the busiest time for cabs
  • At big events such as the races, there can be up to 100 jobs queued.
  • All you need to become a taxi driver is a Queensland drivers license.
  • Blue & White Taxis are willing to hold an Open Night for anyone interested in becoming a taxi driver