I have no great love for cab drivers. Their driving is generally appalling, speaking from the position of both a passenger and a fellow driver. Pay peanuts, you get monkeys, so the saying goes, and boy are we paying peanuts.
In Melbourne, where the minimum adult wage is perhaps $16, these chaps and chapesses work for around $8 per hour. From that, they must pay gst, tax, and provide for their own holiday pay, insurance, sick leave etc etc. This would have to amount to half of that $8, so they are working for $4 an hour. Is it any surprise that is a job only the desperate take on? For this $4, they must put up with drunks, the drugged, nasty people, threats of violence, passengers vomiting and people bolting without paying. Some like the work and the freedom they have but I doubt many do.
I suppose there is an historical reason why they are not paid wages. They get 50% of the takings. The taxi owner gets the other 50% and pays all costs, including fuel. In this day and age, working for $4 per hour is extraordinary. In Sydney, I quote The Age, drivers' earn 115% more.
Now the owners' say they are not getting a good return on their way overpriced taxi plates and want to change it to a 60/40 split in the owner's favour.
One of the few good things former State Premier Kennett did was tidy up the taxi industry. He did not go far enough, and it certainly needs attention now. As passengers and fellow drivers, if taxi drivers were earning a decent income, we could demand better standards. We are in a pretty weak position to demand anything of them at the moment.