Call for com­mu­nity taxi sup­port

Myrtleford Times - - News - Tspi­teri@ ne­me­dia.com.au

MYRTLE­FORD lo­cals are being urged to utilise the town’s taxi ser­vice more if they want it to con­tinue.

The Alpine Com­mu­nity Taxi was ini­ti­ated 12 months ago by lo­cal doc­tor James Wei and his wife Denise, but the ser­vice has strug­gled to cover ba­sic run­ning costs such as in­sur­ance, wages and petrol due to the low de­mand.

Mr Wei has re­cently handed over the run­ning of the ser­vice to an ex­ist­ing driver and both hope with enough sup­port the taxi will keep run­ning de­spite Mr Wei de­scribed it as not fi- nan­cially vi­able.

“It’s not a busi­ness that is go­ing to make money, but with the proper on­go­ing com­mu­nity sup­port it can be a sus­tain­able ser­vice,” Mr Wei said.

“There is a team of com­mit­ted driv­ers pre­pared to make it work but they need more com­mu­nity sup­port.

“Our driv­ers of­ten work 1216 hour shifts to ser­vice the com­mu­nity, earn­ing less than half of the min­i­mum wage, and are ba­si­cally paid vol­un­teers.

“They do it because they don’t want to let the com­mu­nity down, not for any­thing else.”

Alpine Com­mu­nity Taxi started in August 2017 to as­sist with the trans­porta­tion needs of mostly el­derly and house-bound res­i­dents in the shire.

“Taxi ser­vices in ru­ral towns are crit­i­cal, essen­tial ser­vices for the life of the town,” Mr Wei said.

He urged all com­mu­nity groups and busi­nesses to con­sider mak­ing do­na­tions to the ser­vice that is strug­gling to cover in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums, let alone be able to pay for ve­hi­cle re­place­ment in a few years’ time.

Clients may be el­i­gi­ble for a 50 per cent dis­count on their taxi fair, mean­ing that a ride into town costs just $5 on av­er­age, while DVA mem­bers who need to at­tend med­i­cal ap­point­ments out of town can have their Wed­nes­day, August 29, 2018, Page 7 taxi fare fully sub­sidised.

mr Wei said the Mt Beauty Taxi ser­vice has been put up for sale, with ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est clos­ing on Septem­ber 15.

Un­like the Alpine Com­mu­nity Taxi, the Mt Beauty ser­vice is seen to have sig­nif­i­cant growth po­ten­tial and is do­ing brisk busi­ness this win­ter.

“This is a great op­por­tu­nity for any­one who doesn’t mind hard work, long hours and serv­ing the com­mu­nity,” Mr Wei said.

“The cur­rent Mt Beauty team is equally ded­i­cated to serv­ing their com­mu­nity, and want to see the essen­tial ser­vice con­tinue and thrive.”

It is avail­able to any cur­rent Mt Beauty Taxi driver, com­mu­nity or non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion along with the com­pul­sory Ford Mon­deo Taxi for just $2.

A lug­gage trailer and 2008 Audi Q7 is also avail­able at a dis­counted price.

Other com­mu­nity or busi­ness mem­bers from Mt Beauty may pur­chase the busi­ness for $1000 and mar­ket value for the ve­hi­cles.

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