Taxi discrimination claim

Shannon Lumsden waits for a taxi in Midland.
Shannon Lumsden waits for a taxi in Midland.

According to two young women who live locally, taxi drivers frequently refuse to drive them to Midland, Forrestfield or Kalamunda and leave them stranded in the city late at night.

Shannon Lumsden, a 22-year-old university student from Midland, admitted she has had to lie to taxi drivers for them to drive her home.

‘The last time it happened was last Sunday at 5am. I was out in Northbridge for a friend’s going away party,’ Ms Lumsden said.

‘I went to jump into a taxi and asked to go to Midland through the open window. But the doors were locked and he shook his head and said ‘No, I’m not going to take you there’.

‘I’ve learnt now that you basically have to lie. You have to get into the taxi first and then tell them where you want to go.’

Joan Porter (22), from Forrestfield, agreed with Ms Lumsden.

‘The last time it happened to me, I walked up to a taxi and the driver asked where I was going. I told him I wanted to go to Forrestfield,’ Ms Porter said. ‘He just refused and drove off.

‘The next time I caught a taxi, the driver made me give him an upfront deposit of $60 to take me to my house.’

Ms Lumsden said she thought the drivers refused the trip because Midland has a ‘bad reputation’.

‘Catching a taxi by yourself late at night is scary enough as it is, let alone being refused the ride and being left alone on the city streets,’ she said.

Taxi Council of WA chief executive Olwyn Williams said she was aware of the problem.

‘We are aware that across the board, drivers are flouting the rules and regulations,’ Ms Williams said.

‘Taxi drivers are not allowed to refuse a fair based on duration or destination. If it happens, people can report it as a refusal to Department of Transport. The driver will then be fined.’

To report a refusal, call 1300 660 147 or email compliance@transport.wa.gov.au.