Call for community taxi support
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.