City taxis to gain security cameras

GLADSTONE's taxi fleet is set to become one of the most modern and secure in the country next year when in-car security cameras become standard items.

The revelations came to light as Blue and White Taxis chief executive officer Allan Rowe addressed concerns about service difficulties with wheelchair access vehicles recently.

The camera outfitting comes as part of the Gladstone taxi fleet's association with Townsville Taxis ? the organisation which has the responsibility for the company's communications network.

Townsville Taxis managing director John Lobwein said the Gladstone fleet's outfitting was part of a 'second wave' of a public transport overhaul required by Queensland Transport.

He also said while he recognised there had been some problems with wheelchair access vehicles meeting client requirements, the operational success rate had improved dramatically and was now in the order of 88 per cent.

'That's still not good enough and we are working on improving it much further,' he said.

He said while Townsville Taxis operated the communications network, Gladstone's fleet was still largely in the hands of local despatchers.

Blue and White CEO Allan Rowe said his despatchers worked varying shifts to deal with the city's peak times.

'Gladstone has priority,' he said.

The communications net-work's Global Positioning System allowed despatchers to determine pick-up points and destinations at the touch of a button.

Mr Lobwein said in the case of wheelchair access vehicles, oper-ators were not allowed to refuse any reasonable request under guidelines laid down by Queensland Transport.

'However for someone to ring from Boyne Island or Tannum Sands and expect one immediately is a requirement that's impossible to meet simply because of the distance involved,' he said.

'Nevertheless a vehicle will come and will be despatched immediatley.'

Mr Lobwein said advance booking was encouraged.

'An advance booking will ensure the vehicle is on time. The booking is also followed up as well to ensure a vehicle is ready for the client,' he said.

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