I also had a look at how WAT (Wheelchair Accessible Taxi) vehicles were being run and what challenges drivers and operators were facing in this ever-changing world we are currently living in.
I have to say a big thanks to those who made the effort to join us at Bendigo Taxis on a work day. And especially to Colin Wells for hosting us, and to drivers Graham and Phill for taking us out in the WAT and sharing their concerns and fears.
The highlight was meeting those who rely on WAT service, hearing their stories, and discovering just how important this community service is to them and in their day to day lives. We must protect vulnerable Victorians, by protecting the WAT service – a truly essential and valuable service.
I invite Minister for Transport, Ben Carroll, and Aaron de Rozario, CEO of Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria (CPVV), to jump into one of the wheelchair vehicles in Bendigo for a day, to experience the amazing work the men and women involved are doing for their clients.
We made a pit stop in Hamilton, where I caught up with Jan and Wayne from Hamilton Taxis who have been doing it tough since the effects of the CPV reforms of 2017 – carrying leftover legacy debt – and now with COVID-19, there has been added financial stress.
Thank you to Taxis of Portland’s Catherine McKenzie, Bruce McKenzie and Stewart Angus for sharing their story. Small business is tough enough at the best of times in a small town. They had all the usual challenges but on top of those, like all of us, they had the devastating impacts of the 2017 reforms then COVID-19 and now are creating a path to rebuild their business so they can continue to support the community in Portland.
There is no doubt that this is a common theme within the taxi industry throughout regional Victoria. Governments must do more!
It was fantastic to be able to catch up with those in the community, and get more insight into the evident struggle. Still, the fight continues.
– Rod Barton MP
More news in our April 2021 Edition here.
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