A PERCIEVED decline in taxi use has caused Henderson Street Mall taxi rank to be temporarily disbanded although a report into its future is underway.
Metropolis Fremantle owner David Heatonsaid local business owners had not been officially informed about the change until the Fremantle Liquor Accord group meeting this week.
“We received our information from a cop on the beat that the decision had already been made,” he said.
“I believe there will be an increased potential for antisocial behaviour and violence on the street should people be unable to get out of Fremantle in a timely manner.”
Mr Heaton said in an email to the group community safety officers would only patrol to 2am because of the decision.
“This places the burden of public order back on to police who are already stretched,” he said.
“The council has raised funds for this taxi rank through the ‘Spew Tax’, given that they are no longer funding initiatives after 2am, shouldn’t they repeal the tax?”
The taxi rank was introduced in 2013 by the City of Fremantle and Department of Transport.
City of Fremantle’s director of City business Glen Dougallsaid the funding provided by the department paid for security officers.
“The Department of Transport withdrew its support for the taxi rank in September last year having observed a decline in demand for taxis,” he said.
“Last month City officers decided to suspend the operation of the taxi rank due to anecdotal evidence suggesting demand for taxis had decreased.”
The suspension of the taxi rank will remain until September, after that a report will be prepared for council consideration.
The City consulted with the taxi industry about the change, according to Mr Dougall.
He said if there is evidence the preparation of the report may be brought forward.
“So far the response to the change, both positive and negative, has been limited,” he said.
“As only taxis were allowed to use the taxi rank, ride sharing services like Uber are not affected.”
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