Alpine taxi trial carries first fare
Three month trial begins for cab service
MYRTLEFORD’S Irene Shannon has welcomed the return of the Alpine taxi service.
The 81-year-old was the first passenger for driver Arnold Sparks when a three-month trial of the revived service opened in Myrtleford on Monday.
Ms Shannon had been suffering influenza and had made the journey from her Niela Crescent home for an appointment at the Standish Street Surgery, where the practitioners include James Wei.
Dr Wei and his wife, Denise, are funding the service and have supplied a car and engaged on roster three drivers for the limited-distance trial.
The Taxi Commission approved and VicRoads last week licensed the use of Dr Wei’s hybrid car as the service taxi.
It is working between Myrtleford and Bright and is available Monday-Thursday 8am-5pm, Friday 8am-12am, Saturday 8am-2pm and 6pm-12am, and Sunday 8am-2pm.
Passengers will be able to arrange travel within Ovens Valley communities or to be taken to Wangaratta, but the service will not be available for bookings to or from Mount Beauty at this stage.
The Weis have shaped the service with the help of 120 people who responded to a survey distributed at Myrtleford surgery, the town’s two pharmacies and its bakery and post office earlier this year.
Dr Wei said about 50 per cent of the completed surveys were submitted by Friday and Saturday night hotel patrons, and the other half from people who were housebound or elderly.
The Weis have said they will spend the next three months assessing community demand for the service and testing its viability.
Ms Shannon said she was particularly pleased that she had not had to push her wheeled walker back up the hill towards her home, and Mr Sparks, unloading the walker from the taxi boot, said it had been a pleasure to help her.
The other two rostered drivers are Gail Dawson and Alan Muller.
Taxi bookings can be made by calling 0427 553 330.
OPPORTUNITY: Taxi driver Arnold Sparks helped Irene Shannon from the Myrtleford taxi at the end of the first fare for the three-month trial service on Monday.