Taxi operators say the rising cost of petrol, with the war in Ukraine, may have to eventually be passed on to passengers as they cannot absorb the extra impost.

In Central Victoria, Bendigo is home to about 35 taxi operators, some of whom run multiple cars, and the sector says the extra cost of petrol is coming out of their hip pockets.

Colin Wells, manager of Bendigo Taxis, says taxi operators are wearing the cost so they can keep the structure and consistency of cab fares.

“We try to keep the rises to a minimum, but also the frequency to a minimum,” he said.

“We put our costs up or our base up, it has an impact on their ability to be engaged with the community.”

Commission reviewing taxi fares

In September 2020, the Essential Services Commission set the maximum fee a taxi operator could charge for an unbooked ride.

It is reviewing the maximum fare set for 2022.

A consultation paper was released last month ahead of the commission’s final decision in September.

Mr Wells, who is also one of three directors of the Victorian Taxi Association, said the price that operators received was regulated.

Tariff one is the base rate that applies in most instances, except when there are five or more passengers.

Tariff one is a flag-fall fee of $3.60, plus $1.83 per kilometre when the speed is greater than 21 kilometres per hour or 64 cents per minute when the speed is less than 21km/h.

Tariff two kicks in when there are five or more passengers and takes the distance rate to $2.75 when the vehicle is moving faster than 21km/h, and 95c per minute when the speed is slower.

“The drivers actually don’t get a minimum wage, they’re subcontractors, and they get 55 per cent of what’s on the meter,” Mr Wells said.

“The other 45 per cent goes to the owner of the taxi, and all the costs come out of that 45 per cent, but of course, all 35 of our guys are owner-operators.”

According to the RACV, prices at the bowser across Bendigo on Wednesday for unleaded 91 petrol ranged from 175.7 to 180.7 cents per litre at Caltex service stations, and between 180.7 and 185.7 cents per litre at Ampol service stations.

In the past week, the wholesale price of unleaded fuel rose from 164.49 cents per litre to 166.79.

The Australian Taxation Office said, since February 1, the fuel excise had been at 44.2 cents per litre of petrol bought by a motorist.

Extracted in full from: Rising petrol prices hit taxi operators, who say they can’t keep absorbing extra costs – ABC News