Taxi regs are stone cold pain for users

Cooya women left stranded in Port Dou­glas due to red tape

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Shane Ni­chols

We al­ways thought we could use Mossman’s dis­abil­ity taxi as back up. I just thought it was com­mon­sense John McRoberts, Port Dou­glas Taxis

WHEELCHAIRBOUNDMichelle 0Storey, of Cooya, and friend Jil­lian had planned their day in Port Dou­glas thor­oughly but a com­bi­na­tion of cir­cum­stances turned it into a dis­as­ter.

They don’t of­ten visit Port, or even get out­side Cooya much. They had even planned it so they would bring back with them, when the day was over, six piz­zas for their fam­i­lies.

“Some days be­fore the trip, we rang Port Dou­glas Taxis to book their dis­abil­ity taxi to pick us up at the pizza shop at 5:30pm,” Michelle told the

“And we con­firmed twice more be­fore the day of the trip.

“But when the time came for the pick up – and we are wait­ing there with $100 worth of piz­zas – no taxi came.

“Af­ter a while we rang them up and a call cen­tre in Ho­bart told us there had been a book­ing via an app and the taxi was on its way to Cairns.”

The taxi com­pany did try to source an­other taxi to res­cue the stranded women. Even­tu­ally the ladies got home but sev­eral hours had passed.

There is one more dis­abil­ity taxi in the Shire – in Mossman, but reg­u­la­tions say Mossman taxis are not al­lowed to do pick ups in Port Dou­glas – and that in­cludes the dis­abil­ity taxi.

Apart from the Port Dou­glas taxi com­pany re-rout­ing their pick up to Cairns, what the ladies are much up­set about is this set of reg­u­la­tions around taxi op­er­a­tion ar­eas.

John McRoberts, owner of Port Dou­glas Taxis, agrees the reg­u­la­tions need to change.

He said an au­to­mated book­ing was sent to his dis­abil­ity taxi an hour be­fore the ladies’ booked pick up. “Un­for­tu­nately the driver just went and picked the peo­ple up be­cause it was a long time be­fore the other pick up. But he didn’t know the des­ti­na­tion and then dis­cov­ered it was Cairns and off he went.”

The taxi com­pany con­tacted the driver but he was still a long way from Port, so they tried to see what else they could do.

“We al­ways thought we could use Mossman’s dis­abil­ity taxi as back up,” Mr McRoberts said. “I just thought it would be com­mon­sense.

“In big places like Bris­bane, who have mul­ti­ple dis­abil­ity taxis, it’s not a prob­lem. But it doesn’t work here. These rules have been in ex­is­tence for­ever. But now it’s an anom­aly.”

Mr McRoberts has been in touch with MP Rob Pyne in Cairns.

“I couldn’t fix the prob­lem on the day, so I need him to take a look at it,” he said.

Pic­ture: SHANE NI­CHOLS

Michelle Storey . . . just wanted a day out

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