Taxi cabs, limousines, businesses

Public vehicles are Taxi Cabs, limousines, busses or any other type of transport open to or used by the public which is available for hire. Any reference to public vehicles on this site refers particularly to Taxi cabs.

Taxi cabs have the highest usage of all public vehicles carrying thousands of passengers each day.

Taxi cab licences are considerably expensive (approx $300,000 per plate depending upon the state) and subsequently Taxi owners have a great demand to have their cabs operating twenty four hours per day to yield a return on their investment.

Different scenarios apply in how owners operate their Taxi cabs. Some owners (Licensors) charge a license fee per month for their taxi plates whilst the Licensee provides the vehicle and is responsible for all other operating costs however keeps all if any profits.

Other owners employ drivers for a wage and take responsibility for all operating costs whilst others lease the taxi to individual contractors on a ‘per shift’ basis charging a hire fee with a pre determined split arrangement of gross turnover. 

Larger companies holding multiple Taxi licence's employ drivers to operate their vehicles 24 hour per day on a wages plus commission basis.

Whichever scenario is administered Taxi cabs are continuously driven by many different drivers with each driver having their own style, experience and temperament of driving. Taxis are certainly driven harder than private vehicles and with less consideration by the individual drivers for the safe overall operation of the vehicle. Drivers are usually new migrants with little or no driving experience and unfamiliar with local laws and conditions. This may contribute toward why the accident rate with taxi cabs is thirty percent (30%) more than other professional drivers.

Almost all taxi cabs are part of a Taxi club structure (in Victoria) which are operated or linked to smash repairer shops where they can take advantages of certain economies of scale. Nonetheless it is from here where the integral safety of Taxi cabs commences to be compromised.

At the point of collision impact taxi cabs are really no different to any other motor vehicle requiring collision repairs; however the dynamics will soon change to the detriment of safety when it becomes a necessity to return the Taxi back to duty in the quickest possible time.

Drivers are not supplied with a replacement taxi whilst the collision damaged taxi is ‘off the road’ being repaired. Consequently drivers are not earning income and the owner is not receiving a yield on their investment. In many cases the driver could obtain supplementary employment with an alternate taxi owner, conversely however great demands are brought to bear from the Taxi owner to have the collision repairs completed in the quickest possible time so the Taxi can return to duty. Unfortunately it is demands such as these which force smash repairers to take short cuts to comply with the Taxi owner consequently they only mask the collision damage with a ‘band aid’ repair.

The turnaround time for an average collision repair is between five – ten working days whereas the turnaround time for Taxi collision repairs is extremely quick, usually the next day. Most taxi collision repairs are cosmetic in nature and apart from a visual inspection of the vehicle, there is no mandatory safety inspections conducted by any authority before collision repaired taxis are returned to duty. Taxis are certainly not structurally inspected and it does not take much to deduce that these taxis are in very dangerous conditions of repair.

These images are typical of the standard of repair for taxi cabs. Note the poor welding of structural components and standard of finish.

A quick coat of paint to disguise the ‘dodgy’ repair work and the defective cab is back on the road conveying unsuspecting passengers. 

There are approximately 14,000 taxi cabs on the east coast of Australia and it is concerning that no Government, Taxi Directorate or Taxi Council have never imposed structural integrity testing of any Taxi cab for collision repair crashworthiness.

Note the uneven gap around the door and car body. 

This is a substandard and dangerous repair yet it is very common not only with Taxi cabs but with privately owned vehicles as well.
The door rubber cannot provide a complete air tight seal consequently allowing potentially lethal exhaust fumes to be sucked into the passenger compartment. 

The public and are entitled to ride in safe crashworthy compliant Taxi cabs however there is no uncertainty that Taxi cabs are the least crashworthy compliant vehicles on our roads and yet they account for the majority of public vehicles used on our roads each day.

There is sufficient current legislation available however little is being done by authorities to enforce Taxi owners to comply with their Duty of Care responsibilities and Occupational health & Safety legislation.

Hopefully with the introduction of the IVIC ‘Structural Integrity Report’ and with public assistance to lobby the respective authorities, we will soon have all Taxi vehicles integrity tested after every collision repair.

If you are a regular Taxi cab commuter please write to your local MP and voice your concern.