Jeni Lewington - QBlogger
I’m Jeni Lewington. I’m a freelance editor and I live in an over 50s resort called in Park Ridge, which is in the Logan City Council (LCC) area of southeast Queensland. I’m also a person living with a disability and, while at home I use a walker to get around, out on the streets I use an electric wheelchair. I also can’t speak so I use an app on my phone called Speech Assistant, and I use the National Relay Service (NRS) to make calls.
In this blog article, I’m going to describe my local taxi situation.
When I moved into my accommodation a year ago, I was given a brochure about a public transport initiative that operates in Toowoomba, Ipswich, Hervey Bay, Gold Coast and Mount Tamborine.
From the website, it explained as ‘a flexible, shared and pre-booked service that connects you to the wider public transport network as well as shopping, healthcare and employment.’ It promised efficient and cheap taxi rides (only $1.50 per ride for a concession; $3 for an adult) between set locations in the LCC area (e.g. your home and the local shops or the train station).
Excellent, I thought!
There are three ways of booking:
- Via a phone call
- Online via computer
- Via an app
Basically, I resorted to always calling using the this service because I could never access the app on my phone and, even though they said that my wheelchair was on file, I never trusted that doing an online booking they would capture that I needed a maxi taxi, not just a regular taxi.
Also, it’s not clear from the booking system that if you book a taxi for 8 am, for example, it can arrive any time between 8 am and 8.30 am, which I was not aware of initially. This should be explained clearly because it can mean the difference between making a specific train to get to the airport, or getting to an appointment on time.
The shared nature of the service means that it is often inconvenient as sometimes the driver will need to pick up or drop off other passengers, further delaying your trip. In this way, it’s more like a bus service than a taxi service.
But on numerous times the taxi failed to show up at all, or was very, very late. In these circumstances, I have repeatedly called to be given the explanation that we’re sourcing a maxi taxi for you and, in the end, I have resorted to using a regular taxi simply to get where I needed to go.
Actually, I ended up getting the mobile number of one of the taxi drivers and preferentially called him because he was reliable and always on time. However, it meant that I was spending $15, not $1.50, to go to the train station.
Overall, the public transport initiative is a great idea in theory, but it seems like there are a few areas that could be improved, particularly the app and getting more maxi taxi drivers on board. This is my experience from my little part of this great state and I look forward to blogging and connecting with you all on more topics soon!