The Sentinel-Times recently featured a short piece on the Uber service and questioned whether or not it would work in the Bass Coast area.
My answer to that, in short, is yes it would.
We have just had two nights of waiting over an hour for taxis in Wonthaggi.
We do not go out often as we work long hours and most times have to be up at 5am for work.
On a recent Sunday we attended a barbecue at a close friend’s in North Wonthaggi.
We booked a taxi at 10.04pm.
When it hadn’t arrived within 20 minutes, I gave them a call and checked the booking and the auto system informed me that it was in the system.
Fast forward half an hour and we are still waiting so I rang them again.
This time an operator answered and told me there wasn’t a booking there.
She searched for a minute or two and found our booking and muttered that this indeed was strange and rebooked it.
Twelve minutes later I received a call from the taxi driver himself who informed me that he was on the way.
When he arrived about eight minutes later, he informed me that there were only two cabs on and the other driver had accepted a fare to Cowes rather than our short $20 fare so he was the only one left in the area so I understood how busy he must have been.
We finally made it home at 11.28pm.
My husband and I recently decided to go out for a meal at the local club and thought we’d grab a taxi so that we could enjoy a couple of drinks without the worry of them being over the limit so we caught a taxi.
It arrived within seven minutes of calling.
We explained to the driver what had occurred the previous evening and he cheerily informed us that we would have no issues getting a taxi home as there were several taxis in Wonthaggi that evening.
So having been dropped off at the taxi rank in Graham Street, we discovered a lady in a wheelchair who had booked the maxi cab some time ago but was still waiting. She could not go anywhere as the battery in her motorised wheelchair had gone flat.
She spoke to our driver when we alighted and he assured her that he would assist her in getting the maxi cab to her.
Fast forward to after dinner.
We made our way back to the taxi rank and rang for a taxi at 8.50pm. Nearly 40 minutes later we were still waiting so I rang the company again. The operator said she would place a priority on the booking as no driver had picked it up in the system.
Half an hour later, starting to shiver as the wind had picked up, a kind soul driving past after dropping his teen daughter and friends at a party stopped and offered us a lift home which we gladly accepted as we were tired and cold.
Our saviour, whose name turned out to be Shane, was lovely and we thanked him profusely as he didn’t want anything in return.
We rang the taxi company when we got home at 10.11pm.
The operator apologised and said she would put some feedback into the system but admitted there wasn’t a lot she could do.
I believe the above demonstrates the strong need in this community for a much better taxi system.
Yes, Uber would probably have a strong business in this area. I, for one have lost faith in our service since it changed from a local service to one owned by an outside operator and run by a call system.
I worry now about our young people getting home safely and drinking and driving due to the lack of taxis available.
Margy Brown, Wonthaggi.