80% of taxi drivers have been racially abused

In Australian Domestic Tourism, South Australia, Transport

TTN: Competition for tourism consumers is non-existent in the taxi industry. As such the job is often left to immigrants resulting in racially-motivated attacks. More than 1/3 of taxi drivers have been attacked by a passenger in the past year, and more than 80 per cent have been racially abused.

The Adelaide Advertiser original survey results can be viewed at the end of this aggregation.

From Adelaide Now

Advertiser survey shows what life is really like for Adelaide taxi drivers

MORE than one-third of Adelaide taxi drivers have been attacked by a passenger in the past year, and more than 80 per cent have been racially abused, a survey of drivers has found.

THE Advertiser-Sunday Mail survey of 100 taxi drivers, conducted at taxi ranks around the city over the past week, found 38 per cent had been physically assaulted in the past year and 88 per cent had been verbally abused over the same timeframe.

The respondents were mix of day and night drivers.

They represent a large sample of the estimated 5000 drivers licensed to drive taxis. Political polling is often based on the surveys of as few as 400 people among millions.

In response to the survey, SA Taxi Council president Jim Triantafyllou said the results would be taken to the council’s driver welfare committee.

“Of course taxi drivers should be able to go to work without fear for their safety and the community needs to send a clear message that violence against them will not be tolerated,” he said.

Adelaide Airport taxi rank

A quiet taxi rank at the Adelaide Airport. Picture: Watkinson Tricia

“The taxi industry has been working closely with senior police to address violence against taxi drivers and we commend SAPOL for this.”

Taxi Driver Operators Association president Deepak Bhardwaj said protective shields should be installed in taxis, as they were overseas.

“We should have this protective shield, I think it is really important because you never know when a bad thing is going to happen, he said.

“The shields they use in America which cover the space between the passengers in the back and the driver would be the best.”

One driver, Abdalla Ali, said the existing system of security cameras was proving ineffective.

“The cameras may help with some passengers but there are some who just do not care that their picture may be taken,” he said.

Mr Ali welcomed the survey, and said the media should do as much as it could to highlight the problems faced by drivers.

“They have to tell all sides – the police, transport industry, ministers – that we are people, we do a good job and we deserve better,” he said.

“We are part of the community and we have children, rights, bills to pay – we are human beings.”

Mr Triantafyllou said the vast majority of taxi trips in SA happened without incident.

“More than 5000 taxi drivers provide a vital service throughout metropolitan Adelaide and regional SA to about 12 million passengers each year,” he said.

“The vast majority of those drivers take their passengers to their destination without incident.”

Commissioner for the Victims of Crime Michael O’Connell said it was unacceptable that people believed taxi drivers worked in a risky occupation and therefore some violence and some theft was to be expected.

“Crime takes an enormous physical, financial and emotional toll on taxi drivers,” he said.

“Taxi drivers, as victims of crime, should be treated with compassion and respect. They are entitled to prompt redress for the harm suffered, through access to the criminal justice system, reparation and services to assist their recovery.”

Managing director of Suburban Transport Services, Wally Sievers, expressed caution about the result because only 100 drivers had been surveyed.

“There would be very differing results for some of the questions … if they were day or night drivers,” he said.

Minister for Transport Service Chloe Fox said people who assaulted taxi drivers would soon face harsher penalties under the criminal law because taxi driving was being classified as a “vulnerable occupation”, meaning that any offence against a taxi driver would be regarded as aggravated.

“The Taxi Council SA works closely with SAPOL and established the Taxi Driver Welfare Committee, which directly addresses these issues,” she said.

“A number of measures have been adopted to improve driver safety which include all metropolitan taxis having the ability to continuously record images in taxis, with external images also recorded from the driver’s door when the vehicle is stationary or travelling at under 5km per hour to capture people approaching the driver.”

The Adelaide Advertiser original survey results can be viewed at the end of this aggregation.

 

TAXI drivers are the canaries in the coalmine of Sydney’s tourism industry and they’re struggling for air.

As fewer overseas passengers arrive at Sydney Airport, drivers are queuing for more than an hour to pick up passengers, where it was once half an hour.

“Personally, I have given up on the airport,” said Mohammed Hadid, a cab driver for 28 years. “It’s very tough out there. Yes, we’re feeling it.”

Mr Hadid said drivers frequently do not make the $250 or so needed to break even on a 12-hour shift, after car hire, fuel, tolls and food.

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The decline in overseas visitor numbers is sending shock waves through the local tourism industry. The owner of Sydney Airport, Macquarie Airports, reports that 84,000 fewer international passengers arrived in February compared with the same month last year – a 10 per cent fall. Arrivals from Japan were down 27 per cent, the United States 19 per cent and Britain 12 per cent.

The downturn has had an impact on hotels.

Simon McGrath, vice-president of Accor Australia, which owns 140 hotels, says revenue in NSW is down 10 per cent in the first three months of 2009 compared to the same period last year.

The absence of foreign tourists had hit five- and four-star hotels the hardest. Budget hotels such as Formula One and Ibis were doing “quite well”.

“I think the world is a bit more frugal than it was last year [and] I think travellers today are quite pragmatic,” he said.

While businesses are also tightening belts, with large conferences on hold, domestic tourism was helping to keep occupancy rates at about 75 per cent, down from 80 per cent last year.

“The leisure market has taken an opportunity to travel domestically rather than overseas and there has been some benefit from that. Each month we are surprised that the drop is not greater.”

A new company is hoping to take advantage of the budget squeeze, allowing hotel guests the opportunity to haggle with hotels for a cheaper room.

The founder of ubid4rooms.com, Gary Berman, said 700 hotels were now using the site, up 40 per cent since November. “We have really found in the last couple of months business has picked up. I think the hotels are more amenable to the site than they were a year ago when we launched.”

One holidaymaker in Sydney saved $420 on a four-night stay in a five-star hotel – a 20 per cent discount on the advertised rate, Mr Berman said.

The chief executive of the Opera House, Richard Evans, said fewer overseas tourists were making their way to Bennelong Point.

“The downturn really hit us in the last quarter of the last calendar year,” he said.

from smh.com.au

TAXI drivers are the canaries in the coalmine of Sydney’s tourism industry and they’re struggling for air.

As fewer overseas passengers arrive at Sydney Airport, drivers are queuing for more than an hour to pick up passengers, where it was once half an hour.

“Personally, I have given up on the airport,” said Mohammed Hadid, a cab driver for 28 years. “It’s very tough out there. Yes, we’re feeling it.”

Mr Hadid said drivers frequently do not make the $250 or so needed to break even on a 12-hour shift, after car hire, fuel, tolls and food.

The decline in overseas visitor numbers is sending shock waves through the local tourism industry. The owner of Sydney Airport, Macquarie Airports, reports that 84,000 fewer international passengers arrived in February compared with the same month last year – a 10 per cent fall. Arrivals from Japan were down 27 per cent, the United States 19 per cent and Britain 12 per cent.

The downturn has had an impact on hotels.

Simon McGrath, vice-president of Accor Australia, which owns 140 hotels, says revenue in NSW is down 10 per cent in the first three months of 2009 compared to the same period last year.

The absence of foreign tourists had hit five- and four-star hotels the hardest. Budget hotels such as Formula One and Ibis were doing “quite well”.

“I think the world is a bit more frugal than it was last year [and] I think travellers today are quite pragmatic,” he said.

While businesses are also tightening belts, with large conferences on hold, domestic tourism was helping to keep occupancy rates at about 75 per cent, down from 80 per cent last year.

“The leisure market has taken an opportunity to travel domestically rather than overseas and there has been some benefit from that. Each month we are surprised that the drop is not greater.”

A new company is hoping to take advantage of the budget squeeze, allowing hotel guests the opportunity to haggle with hotels for a cheaper room.

The founder of ubid4rooms.com, Gary Berman, said 700 hotels were now using the site, up 40 per cent since November. “We have really found in the last couple of months business has picked up. I think the hotels are more amenable to the site than they were a year ago when we launched.”

One holidaymaker in Sydney saved $420 on a four-night stay in a five-star hotel – a 20 per cent discount on the advertised rate, Mr Berman said.

The chief executive of the Opera House, Richard Evans, said fewer overseas tourists were making their way to Bennelong Point.

“The downturn really hit us in the last quarter of the last calendar year,” he said.

Adelaide Advertiser survey results

How safe do you generally feel driving a taxi around Adelaide during the day?

Very safe 17

Mostly safe 65

Mostly unsafe 15

Very unsafe 2

Did not answer: 1

How safe do you generally feel driving a taxi around Adelaide during the night?

Very safe 0

Mostly safe 30

Mostly unsafe 42

Very unsafe 25

Did not answer: 3

In the past year, have you been verbally abused by a passenger?

Yes 86

No 12

Did not answer: 2

In the past year, have you been physically assaulted by a passenger?

Yes 37

No 61

Did not answer: 2

In the past year, has a passenger run off or attempted to run off from your taxi without paying their fare?

Yes 92

No 6

Did not answer: 2

In the past year, have you experienced racist comments from a passenger?

Yes 80

No 17

Did not answer: 3

In the past year, has a drunk passenger thrown up in your taxi?

Yes 84

No 16

How regularly do you not pick up a passenger or passengers for fear of being assaulted, robbed or ripped off?

About once a shift 13

About once every few shifts 31

About once every 10 shifts 23

Rarely 25

Never 7

Did not answer: 1

How regularly do you experience an unpleasant incident with a passenger – ie. a physical or verbal altercation?

About once a shift 7

About once every few shifts 21

About once every 10 shifts 28

Rarely 33

Never 5

Did not answer: 6

Which category of passengers generally creates the most problems for taxi drivers?*

Young women (under 35) 21

Young men (under 35) 88

Older women (over 35) 3

Older men (over 35) 4

No one particular group/no opinion 14

Did not answer: 4

*Some selected more than one

Do you think violence and crime against taxi drivers is …

More of a problem than three years ago 39

About the same as three years ago 39

Less of a problem than three years ago 7

I wasn’t in the industry three years ago 15

Are there any suburbs or pick-up hotspots you tend to avoid?

Yes 80

No 19

Did not answer: 1

If yes, where?*

Far northern city suburbs 36

Far southern city suburbs 21

Salisbury 18

Elizabeth 22

City 4

Hindley Street 4

Mansfield Park 4

Hackham/Hackham West 3

Taperoo 4

Sturt 1

Seaton 2

Woodville 1

Edwardstown 1

Henley Beach 1

Munno Para 1

Ingle Farm 1

Pennington 1

Ottoway 1

Largs Bay 1

Reynella 1

Noarlunga 2

Ashford 1

Seaford 1

Pooraka 1

Western Suburbs 1

Port Adelaide 3

Kilburn 3

Smithfield 2

Dudley Park 1

Rosewater 1

Para Hills 1

Wingfield 1

Kilkenny 1

Christies Beach 2

Hotels with pokies 1

Ranks with long waiting times 1

*Some nominated more than one area

Do you prefer to take night-time fares to and from the city, or between suburbs?

City 27

Suburbs 20

No preference 52

Did not answer: 1

Should security shields around the driver be mandatory in SA taxis?

Yes 79

No 21

If yes, who should pay?*

The taxi company 21

The taxi owner 24

The taxi driver 1

The Taxi Council 28

The State Government 41

*Some provided multiple answers

Do you think security cameras inside taxis help deter crime against drivers?

Yes 71

No 28

Did not answer: 1

Are the current taxi queuing arrangements at Adelaide Airport working well?

Yes 35

No 47

I don’t have an opinion 16

Did not answer: 2

How would you rate the general standard of customer service and navigation knowledge of your fellow taxi drivers?

Excellent 17

Good 57

Average 17

Poor 3

Very poor 2

Did not answer: 4

What’s the biggest fare you’ve ever had and what was the starting point and finishing destination?

Highest $800 – Adelaide to Kangaroo Island.

Second highest $600 Flinders Medical Centre to Nelson.

Third highest (equal) $450 – Rose Park to Barmera; Airport to Laura; and Daw Park to Port Pirie.

Fourth Highest $390 – Bedford Park to Ardrossan

What’s the biggest tip you’ve ever received from a grateful passenger?

Highest $400

Second highest $223

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