Alannah MacTiernan

Alannah MacTiernan

Minister for Planning and Infrastructure

    Fuel subsidy to combat taxi costs and improve disability services

    29/11/2005 12:00 AM

    The State Government will provide a fuel subsidy to operators of diesel-powered Multi-Purpose Taxis (MPT) in an effort to combat escalating costs and improve customer service to people with disabilities.

    Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan announced a $5 fuel subsidy would be provided to diesel MPT operators for each wheelchair job undertaken through the Taxi User Subsidy Scheme over the next 18 months.

    Ms MacTiernan said the State Government would fund the full cost of providing the subsidy, which would be in place before Christmas.

    “The $5 subsidy will equalise costs between diesel-powered MPT vehicles and LPG-powered conventional taxis when calculated over an average shift, average kilometres travelled and taking into account the cost differences between diesel and LPG,” the Minister said.

    “The cost of running a diesel MPT has been exacerbated in recent months by the increase in diesel fuel prices - the fuel used by standard taxis.

    “We cannot have people with disabilities, seniors and other MPT customers left with a reduced service because of rising fuel costs.

    “The subsidy comes on top of a 4.8 per cent fare increase awarded to the taxi industry last month.”

    Ms MacTiernan said the high cost of fuel was a significant factor in covering wheelchair jobs, with the level of complaints about the service rising to unprecedented levels over the past 12 months.

    “Over the past year, the average price for diesel in Perth has increased by 14.7 cents per litre - more than double the seven cents per litre increase of LPG,” she said.

    “The subsidy will provide immediate financial relief to current operators to encourage them to continue the MPT service, as well as to attract new participants to the industry.

    “The MPT market is a distinct and separate part of the taxi industry that provides a specialised service to people with disabilities.

    “MPTs often provide the only transport service available to people with disabilities, enabling them to do things the rest of the community takes for granted.

    “This fuel subsidy is one of several State Government initiatives aimed at ensuring the viability of the MPT service and improving the quality of services provided to the community, and to the taxi industry.

    “It will complement the now regular release of MPT plates on a lease basis, the introduction of an MPT operator cadetship scheme, the appointment of two taxi dispatch services to co-ordinate MPTs and the buy-back of up to 56 MPT plates.

    “In addition, the Government contributes approximately $6.5million a year in taxi travel subsidies for Western Australians with disabilities.

    “MPT operators will now have no excuse for failing to meet the minimum obligation of 60 wheelchair jobs per month.

    “Some operators are providing an outstanding level of service, while others are not pulling their weight. There will now be far greater emphasis on enforcing those minimum obligations.”

    Minister's office: 9213 6400