It also focuses on “ensuring equity of service” of wheelchair accessible taxis with the introduction of benchmarks, penalties and increased compliance.
It proposes removing the high occupancy tariff and multiple hire rates to simplify the public’s understanding of how fares are calculated.
The review recommends increased training for drivers to improve the safety of passengers who use a wheelchair.
Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Minister Eva Lawler said work was already underway delivering on the review recommendations.
“The review examined the quality of services being delivered to the public, including the disability sector, and made recommendations aimed at ensuring the Northern Territory has a modern, customer focused commercial passenger vehicle industry, with high quality services being delivered to the disability sector,” Ms Lawler said.
“By offering $15,000 to taxi operators to upgrade their vehicles to be wheelchair accessible, we are giving more Territorians more options in the transportation they take.
“It is a focus of government to enable reliable and safe transport options, including taxis, to all Territorians and visitors, including those members of the community reliant on wheelchair accessibility.”
INITIAL, SUNDAY 6AM: TAXI wait times at the Darwin International Airport have increased due to driver shortages in the Top End.
As interstate and international and borders reopened, travellers lined up in the airport cab rank for an average wait time of 20-minutes to snag a cab.
After arriving from Canberra in the morning on February 21, Kellie Grubb was one of the many travellers who braved the heat with her luggage and waited for a taxi.
Ms Grubb said her lengthy wait time at the Darwin airport was not her normal experience with taxis and compared it as “pretty slow” to other cities.
“I’ve been waiting for 15 to 20 minutes now,” Ms Grubb said on the day.
“It’s pretty humid, definitely not Canberra weather, I’ll hit the pool when I get to the place I’m staying at in town”.
Since then, signs issued by the Darwin International Airport have been placed in the cab rank apologising for the lengthy wait times.
Darwin Radio Taxi is the largest taxi service in Darwin.
Managing director Imran Nadeem said the industry had been struggling ever since the closure of international borders.
“With the international borders opening, we’re hoping that services will get better because a lot of our drivers have been stuck overseas,” Mr Nadeem said.
“This has been an ongoing problem since the pandemic started.”
Mr Nadeem said about 60 per cent of his fleet was on the road at the moment, compared to the normal 90 per cent.
“There’s a huge shortage of drivers at the moment,” he said.
“Our industry is heavily reliant on immigration because fundamentally they’re the people who fill the positions in the cabs.”
With new enrolment numbers slowly emerging in correlation with the borders reopening, Mr Nadeem was hopeful staff levels would eventually return to a healthy amount.
Recently the NT government announced $12.8m to attract more people to the Territory, including working holiday makers and overseas workers.
Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics Minister Eva Lawler said the support package would assist industry and businesses, including the taxi industry.
“Work is underway to consider recommendations of a recently completed review of commercial passenger vehicles,” Ms Lawler said.
“The review examined the quality of services being delivered to the public, including the disability sector.
“It is a focus of the government to enable reliable and safe transport options, including taxis, to all Territorians and visitors.
A spokeswoman for the Airport Development Group said the airport worked closely with local taxi companies to notify them of the peak passenger arrivals and queue lengths in real time.
“Unfortunately with limited vehicles on the road the current wait time for taxis has increased during Covid,” the spokeswoman said.
“Alternative transport options are available including private hire and Uber.”
DRIVE NOW reports on various topics regarding the