SA-BEST calls on State Government to reinstate funding to crucial taxi concierge service
A crucial taxi concierge service that has helped more than two million people over the past eight years faces immediate closure if the State Government does not provide $140,000 in crucial funding.
SABEST MLC, Frank Pangallo, today called on Transport Minister, Stephan Knoll, to provide the urgent funding so concierge services at six managed taxi ranks in the city and one at Glenelg can continue to operate until at least the end of June next year.
He said unless funding is provided immediately, the Taxi Council of SA will be forced to cease its vital service on New Year’s Eve - the busiest period of the year - and lay off 15 experienced rank attendants.
It will also mean ranks will not be managed for special events - like the arrival of a record number of cruise ships at Outer Harbor this summer.
“Time and time again, this service has proven to be valuable in not only managing an orderly process in hailing a cab, but also providing a zone covered by CCTV cameras where passengers can feel safe and secure,” Frank said.
“Taxi concierges have helped save lives and have assisted people in distress,” he said.
“This program is strongly supported by SAPOL, the Adelaide City Council and city traders who all see the valuable contribution it provides the community.
“The amount required to keep the service going for a further six months is peanuts for a vital transport service in heavily-congested parts of the city - particularly in the coming festive holiday period when hundreds of thousands of people will be converging on the city.
The Marshall Government announced earlier this year that it would stop funding the staffed concierge service that manages late-night patrons at taxi ranks in Adelaide’s CBD and Glenelg to save about $190,000 a year.
The program provides security guards and attendants to monitor the ranks and guide patrons into taxis.
In 2010 it received a crime and violence prevention award and over the past eight years a Taxi Council concierge has assisted more than two million passengers into a taxi.
“This is just another penny-pinching exercise by the State Government – and comes amid its reckless decision to cancel train services during the First cricket test and scrapping the funding of the Overland train to Melbourne,” Frank said.
“It makes no sense, and for Minister Knoll to simplify the issue by putting it down to the cost of running the service is nothing more than an insult,” he said.
“His department collects millions of dollars a year from a taxi fare levy introduced to help compensate the taxi industry from the disruption caused by the reckless introduction of ridesharing services by the previous Labor government - and supported by the Marshall Liberal Government.
“The government has also just saved $35 million allocated for the now abandoned right-hand tram turn in North Terrace.
“This shows where Minister Knoll’s priorities really lie when it comes to public transport along with safety and the benefits for users.”