Taxi trial falters

Service usage is struggling, at only 54 per cent of capacity

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HIRING: Myrtleford Taxi driver Alan Muller says fares during the recent sporting season finals have been good but day-to-day uptake has been patchy. PHOTO: Jamie Kronborg

AN attempt by Myrtleford’s James and Denise Wei to revive a community taxi service may come to nothing unless it secures a significant jump in fare pick-ups.

The Myrtleford doctor and his wife – who launched a three-month trial on August 21 to enable them to test demand for cab hire in Alpine Shire’s main Ovens Valley communities – told the Times Observer last week that the trial was slated to fail given the current level of hiring.

“Five to six weeks in we are running at 54 per cent capacity of what the service used to be prior to it shutting down in December, 2016, and bleeding $1000 per month just for operational costs,” Dr Wei said.

“In the past three weeks hiring has essentially stagnated.”

The Weis set out to assess the need for a local service by arranging with the Wilson family, which operated Myrtleford’s former taxi service, to lease their still-valid carriage licence.

The couple also made a hybrid car available for the trial and secured the necessary Taxi Commission and VicRoads’ approvals.

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