Move to stop FIFO workers bolting from taxi fares
DRUNK construction workers bolting from taxis without paying their fares have forced Blue and White taxis to demand pre-payment for some trips.
As of this week a flat fee for trips to Homeground and Mac camps in Calliope will be implemented, requiring payment in advance.
Chairman Allan Rowe urged industry workers to display more tolerance and empathy for his drivers.
"If we went to their workplace and acted in the same way, these guys would go on strike for six weeks," he said.
"They (workers) are here because there is no work anywhere else. They are away from their families, from their familiar surroundings and from their partners.
"(Homeground and Mac residents) are isolated and sometimes they don't act in the way they normally would.
"They are some of the best-paid people in Gladstone. (With the introduction of this fee) we know we are not going to have any problems."
Mr Rowe said while instances of people doing "a runner" were not a regular occurrence, it did leave the driver out of pocket and put the company on the back foot.
With the support of local police, Homeground administrators and the Department of Transport, the changes, implemented this week, have been received positively, he said.
Mr Rowe said he hoped the Gladstone workforce, which has "kept the East Coast of Australia alive for the past few years", will exercise tolerance while using his company's services.
He said the positive effects construction workers have had on Gladstone far outweigh the isolated incidents that have been a catalyst for the change.
"At the end of the day both the client and the drivers just want to arrive home safely," he said.
"Most of the stuff the drivers encounter isn't physical but more verbal insults. "It usually occurs between 1.30am and 3am, at the time when both taxi drivers and clients are getting tired."
Rates will be dependant on the time the taxi is requested, the type of vehicle requested and the general locality of the pick-up address.
A $15 fee will also apply for any take-away stopovers during the trip.