More than 1,600 taxi drivers and taxi owners, the majority Greek-Australians, gathered to participate in the massive protest that took place yesterday in Melbourne at the premises of the Panarcadian Association. The furious taxi drivers were raising criticism against the Greek-style reforms that the government wants to implement.
The government wants to slash the price of cab licenses which would mean terrible losses for those who were once obliged to pay a huge amount to get the license.
The protest follows the heels of a report about the industry by Professor Allan Fels who has recommended that the cost of a taxi license be cut from about $500,000 to an annual fee of $20,000.
Taxi industry figures forecast that the changes will lead them on a certain road to bankruptcy.
“I’m very, very upset,” a driver and license owner said.
“I work very, very hard. I bought my license and now I can’t get my money back. How am I going to feed my children?”
Prof Fels has labelled predictions of financial ruin as “scaremongering”, saying the changes will result in more cabs on the road.
The report has also suggested fares be increased by 20 per cent on weekends between 10pm and 5am.
Professor Fels has predicted that higher fares will result in an additional 450 cabs hitting the streets during weekend peak times which would result in could a fare cut for weekday rides.