‘No show’ taxi service

An elderly Morwell woman who relies on taxis as her sole form of transport has “lost faith” in the taxi system after being left stranded for more than an hour on multiple occasions, according to her daughter.

Former Latrobe Valley local Meredith Munro said her mother, a 91 year-old Morwell assisted-living resident, had experienced many incidents where she had booked taxis through 13CABS that had never arrived.

The most recent incident involved the elderly resident calling for a cab an hour before a medical appointment, but she said it never came. She now feels without the support of family she is unable to leave her house.

“She relies on the taxis for the social inclusions… she’s a busy woman, she goes shopping two or three times a week, has appointments, but now she’s saying she can’t go out if we’re not around (to take her),” Ms Munro said.

Ms Munro said the issues began when local cab companies became part of the 13CABS network in 2012.

“It’s a system with issues that has been bubbling along for a long time and it’s just in mum’s instance it’s having an impact on her social inclusion,” she said.

“Mum has no problem with the taxi drivers, they are all brilliant. It’s the dispatch, the call centre system that is letting people down.”

The family has lodged complaints with 13CABS’ head office but received “an unsatisfactory” response in return, with a customer service representative telling the 91-year old arthritis sufferer to use the smartphone app to track the taxi.

“Mum’s tech savvy; she has an iPhone, Skypes and uses a computer, and with the arthritis she has good days and bad days, but there’s obviously a problem with the taxis coming in the first place,” Ms Munro said.

Ms Munro said she had personally also missed trains home to Melbourne “a couple of times” after pre-booking and alerting dispatchers to the train timetable.

“This unreliability causes anxiety for everybody, particularly older people,” she said.

“Older people especially are losing confidence in the taxi system and something needs to change.”

13CABS did not respond to questions from The Express by the time of publication.