Perth cabbies reveal human toll of Uber

Taxi driver Hieu Tran.
Taxi driver Hieu Tran.

PERTH taxi driver Hieu Tran would be lying if he said the introduction of ride-share operators hadn’t taken its toll on him and his family.

But for the former electronic technician’s wife and daughter, he said he would have taken his own life.

“I work more than 14 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said.

“Sometimes I would like to commit suicide but I don’t want to leave the (financial) mess for my wife to fix.”

Community News spoke to the Beechboro father outside Perth train station after a class action was launched by thousands of taxi drivers against ride-share giant Uber.

He said Uber started in Perth a year after he took out a big loan to buy a $300,000 taxi licence.

The Vietnam refugee had started in the industry as a driver about 15 years ago to earn extra money.

“The income was good so I bought a plate as an investment for retirement and leased the taxi out,” he said.

Mr Tran said as a driver he could no longer afford the rank fee to be part of a taxi group.

He also had reported to the Department of Transport overseas drivers he claimed were abusing their work visas by working more hours a week than an allowed 20.

Mr Tran said the situation confronting cabbies in recent years had been “not fair” and he would join the class action.

Taxi driver Subash Mangatt. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

Fellow taxi driver Subash Mangatt, of Cannington, also told Community News he supported the Victorian Supreme Court class action.

The retired health department officer from Kochin, India, said customers had declined by more than half when ride sharing got established in Perth.

He, like Mr Tran, was supported by his wife’s income.

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