Taxi Talk February 2016 revised


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Taxi Talk Magazine February 2016

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TAXI TALK ISSUE NO 572 VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY FEBRUARY 2016 TAXI MAGAZINE ON THE RANKS SINCE 1966 PROUDLY PUBLISHED AND PRINTED IN MELBOURNE Print Post Approved number 100004912 VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY 2ND T N I R P RE ION EDIT WHITE NIGHT MELBOURNE SATURDAY 20 FEBRUARY 7PM - 7AM White Night Melbourne is the city as you know it, turned on its head in a dusk until dawn celebration of culture and creativity. A night where the surreal seems real. White Night Melbourne is an event that transforms the impossible into the possible through installation, lighting, street performances, film, music, dance and interactive events taking place in Melbourne’s streets, laneways, parklands and public spaces.


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W HO OWNS YOUR INCOM E DATA? Your Taximeter Your Income Data Their Taximeter WHOSE INCOME DATA? When you own a Schmidt G4 Taximeter: • YOU OWN the confidential income data stored in your taximeter, and this income data fully remains your property. When you use a Cabcharge Fareway Plus Taximeter: • YOU DO NOT OWN the taximeter. It actually remains the property of Cabcharge or some other party. • DO YOU KNOW who actually owns the confidential income data stored in the Cabcharge Fareway Plus taximeter? • DO YOU KNOW who has access to this confidential income data? What should you do if your taxi network wants to remove your Schmidt G4 Taximeter? It is your absolute right to keep your Schmidt G4 taximeter. Cabcharge is under a legal obligation in Victoria to ensure that the new Fareway Plus fully integrates with the Schmidt G4 Taximeter. All over Australia, it is your absolute right to insist that your Schmidt G4 taximeter is kept in its rightful place on your taxi’s centre console. The Fareway Plus display unit can be mounted somewhere else, e.g. under the dash. If you wish we can mount it under the dash and out of the way for you. What should you do if you are feeling misled, pressured or bullied? You can report it directly to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Alternatively, call us and we can pass on your complaint. Schmidt Electronic Laboratories Pty Ltd Trusted by thousands of taxi operators & drivers for more than 35 years Phone (03) 9546 6990 or 1300 132 422 | Email | Website Address 153 Osborne Avenue, Clayton South, VIC 3169 | ABN 20 005 631 710


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C 6 10 19 24 27 ontents Challenges in 2016 & beyond Networks and government need to work together. TAXI VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY MAGAZINE ON THE RANKS SINCE 1966 MAGAZINE EDITOR Toni F. Peters FOUNDER Stanley F. White PUBLISHER Trade Promotions Pty Ltd ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES Toll cheats get nabbed Mrs Toni Peters Trade Promotions Pty Ltd PO Box 2345, Mt Waverley VIC 3149 Phone: ....................................... 0400 137 866 Email: ............................. Website: .......................... The Sheriffs are out to catch the toll cheats. Licence Statistics DISPLAY ADS Monthly Victorian taxi & hire car licence comparison. All copy, editorial and artwork must be submitted by the 15th of the month prior to publication date. Advertisement sizes and costs can be downloaded at Taxi Services Commission Updates on government issues effecting the industry. CLASSIFIED ADS $30 for 35 words, $60 for 70 words, etc. Email or Mail your classified advertisement by the 15th of the month prior to publication date, together with your payment. Customer Charter SUBSCRIPTION DETAILS 1 year = $35 Rights and responsibilities of passengers and drivers. PAYMENT OPTIONS • • proudly supporting these organisations since inception..... Via PAYPAL to Direct Deposit to Trade Promotions Pty Ltd BSB 033065 A/c 312786 Mail Cheque to Trade Promotions Pty Ltd PO Box 2345, Mt Waverley VIC 3149 VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY • Views expressed in any article in Taxi Talk magazine are those of the individual contributor and not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher cannot accept any responsibility for any opinions, information, errors or omissions in this publication. To the extent permitted by law, the publisher will not be liable for any damages including special, exemplary, punitive or consequential damages (including but not limited to economic loss or loss of profit or revenue or loss of opportunity) or indirect loss or damage of any kind arising from the contract, tort or otherwise, even if advised of the possibility of such loss of profits or damage. Advertisements must comply with the relevant provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Responsibility for compliance with the Act rests with the person, company or advertising agency submitting the advertisement. Taxi Talk magazine has agreed to advertise taxi clubs because those clubs have stated that they and their products comply with all applicable laws and regulations relating to insurance for taxi operators. Taxi Talk magazine has not independently verified these taxi clubs’ compliance, and give no warranty and make no representation as to whether the taxi clubs are compliant. Operators should satisfy themselves as to a taxi club’s compliance with laws and regulations through their own enquiries. These advertisements do not constitute recommendations by Taxi Talk magazine that operators purchase insurance products from taxi clubs. Taxi Talk magazine does not accept any liability or responsibility for any loss or damage suffered or incurred by any operator because a taxi club or its product or service is non-compliant. TAXI MAGAZINE Taxi Talk magazine is wholly owned by Trade Promotions Pty Ltd. COPYRIGHT © Trade Promotions Pty Ltd 2015. All rights reserved. The “Taxi Talk – Voice of the taxi industry” heading and logos are trademarks of Stanley F. White. Copyright of articles and photographs of Taxi Talk magazine remain with the individual contributors and may not be reproduced without permission. Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry February 2016 |3


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EDITOR’S DESK TAXI VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY In New South Wales the government is embracing the “collaborative economy” and is in the process of drafting regulation for same. Some of the businesses that are included in the collaborate economy are Uber, Airbnb, Kickstarter, Ebay, Gumtree and Airtasker. NSW Innovation Minister Victor Dominello says digital innovation is “transforming the way people do business in every city and every country around the world. The reality is the collaborative economy is here to stay.” “We are living in the information age and it is vital that government policies embrace new technologies and enable businesses to operate with certainty,” he said. So, what is the Victorian government doing about the collaborate/sharing economy? Are they going to embrace it as NSW has or just continue to sit on their hands and wait for something to miraculously happen? Have you ever tried to get your taxi or hire car insured via a regular mainstream insurer? Well, it just doesn’t work - you can complete the online application form or talk with a consultant and once you say that the car is used to transport people - they both say “sorry - we do not insure these vehicles”. Apparently there are some brokers who will handle your insurance - but these are few and far between. So, it’s to the Taxi Clubs that you must go to get your taxi vehicle insurance. There are plenty of them in Victoria, so shop around and find the one that best suits you. The latest loss for the Victorian taxi industry is the sale of Frankston Radio Cabs to Silver Top Taxi Service. Frankston Radio Cabs had been operating in the Frankston area for over 65 years, but technology innovation and cost increases forced them to look to a major company for support. They will still be operating from Milne Avenue, Frankston - just not as Frankston Radio Cabs. San Francisco’s largest taxi company, Yellow Cabs has filed for bankruptcy. The company is in serious financial trouble primarily due to competition from ride-hailing apps, Uber and Lyft. Many people are using Uber and Lyft in preference to taxis. “On an annual basis over 5 million passengers are transported MAGAZINE ON THE RANKS SINCE 1966 Proudly published in Melbourne 64 | September | February2015 2016 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry


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in Yellow Cabs,” Yellow Cab President Pamela Martinez wrote in a letter to shareholders last month. “We used to have more and our goal is to get them back and even more.” Many taxi companies, operators, regulators and interested parties have lobbied for legislation to protect themselves from Uber, but the ride-hailing app giant, currently valued at US$62.5 million, is hard to beat. Also, for the first time ever, a car service has been permitted to service Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California where this year’s Super Bowl (USA National Football League championship game) is being played. It is none other than Uber! The ride-hailing company effectively bought exclusive rights to the Super Bowl. Uber is providing around US$500,000 to sponsor the Super Bowl Host Committee, which co-ordinates the transportation for the game. And as part of its exclusive deal, Lyft, taxis and other car services won’t be let into the stadium area. Isn’t it amazing what a little money can do? The Taxi Services Commission recently released an updated look at the industry’s Customer Charter. It is imperative that all taxi drivers adhere to this charter. If the drivers (and their taxis) are providing exemplary service to the travelling public, there will be little need for the passengers to look elsewhere for transportation. Toni Peters Editor, Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry TT TAXI VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY TALK ISSUE NO 572 VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY FEBRUARY 2016 TAXI TALK ISSUE NO 571 VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY December 2015 / January 2016 TAXI MAGAZINE ON THE RANKS SINCE 1966 PROUDLY PUBLISHED AND PRINTED IN VICTORIA Print Post Approved number 100004912 VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY TAXI MAGAZINE ON THE RANKS SINCE 1966 PROUDLY PUBLISHED AND PRINTED IN MELBOURNE Print Post Approved number 100004912 WHITE NIGHT MELBOURNE SATURDAY 20 FEBRUARY 7PM - 7AM White Night Melbourne is the city as you know it, turned on its head in a dusk til dawn celebration of culture and creativity. A night where the surreal seems real. White Night Melbourne is an event that transforms the impossible into the possible through installation, lighting, street performances, film, music, dance and interactive events taking place in Melbourne’s streets, laneways, parklands and public spaces. every month to your mail box subscribe TODAY! The centrepiece of Melbourne’s Christmas Festival, City Square has been transformed into Christmas Square, a magical forest offering festive fun for the whole family. By day, discover nutcracker soldiers, interactive candy canes and get a free photo with Santa. An interactive Intel Christmas installation will also offer an exciting glimpse of the future. By night, enjoy soundscapes and Christmas lighting. christmas in melbourne Never miss an edition of Taxi Talk magazine! Send $35 and your mailing details and we will add you to our mailing list to receive a printed copy of Taxi Talk for 1 year. Want more than 1 copy - no problem - send us an email and we will advise you of the mailing price. Mail and cheques: PO Box 2345, Mt Waverley Vic 3149 Enquiries: 0400 137 866 Email: Direct Deposit - Westpac BSB 033065 Account No. 312786 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry February 2016 |5


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CHALLENGES IN 2016 AND BEYOND One of the very old challenges for the industry was at long last removed by the action of the Andrews Government. For many years the taxi industry has been used as a scapegoat when New Year’s Eve revellers were left in the city trying to get transport home. It has always been an impossible task for the taxi industry to take one hundred thousand people out of the city between midnight and five in the morning. The taxi industry was never meant to be used as mass transport. However, this did not stop the media and governments from blaming the industry and over-supplying the market with additional taxis. the public and our politicians, whilst giving the best possible service to the public. We face many more challenges in the future. Some of these have to be addressed in the near future and others will become obvious as time goes on. If we want the taxi industry to survive we have to realise that the industry has to act primarily in the interest of the public. Many in the industry have lost track of this and too many times self-interest is put before the interest of the public. Laws and regulations were, and should always be, made primarily in the Interest of the public and at the same time provide certainty and viability to the service providers. The industry can only hope that the government will be successful in running public transport for 24 hours in the future. The challenges presented by the continuous unlawful operation of Uber, has not gone away. However the surge pricing used by Uber, on New Year’s Eve, has shown that you can always get transport home, as long as you have a big, fat wallet. The Victorian Minister of Transport, Jacinta Allen and the Andrews Government have to be congratulated for taking their time and not letting themselves be bullied into changing our laws simply to accommodate an American company, but instead consider carefully under which regulations they would allow Uber to operate. In the meantime we need to bring the taxi industry’s case to the attention of The competition argument is and will be one of the most challenging for the industry. It is used to cover up all kinds of selfinterest by all kinds of individuals, companies and governments. The taxi driver will use it to justify when he “bottles” a radio job. The radio networks use it when they entice operators or contracts from each other. Taxi operators use it to justify when they “steal” drivers off each other Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry 6 | February 2016


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’ and government uses it to justify their money making involvement in the industry. We have to look closely at the competition in the taxi industry to find out if it helps or hinders the interest of the most important party, the public. If we define the interest of the public in more detail it should help us to see which part of competition is in the public interest and which is not. It is in the interest of the general public that the industry provides a safe, reliable, professional and friendly point to point transport at the cheapest possible price. So, where does competition help or hinder the interest of the public? It is easy to see that competition between drivers or operators has little or no effect on the interest of the public. Competition between the radio networks looks to be a good thing because the taxi-user can use the Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry Network Service Provider Service of his choice. One service might answer the phone quicker, be more helpful, or friendlier than the other. However the taxi-user is primarily interested in getting a taxi for transportation from point to point and is in the majority of cases not interested in which network provides the taxi. In fact, in this case, competition between networks works against the interest of the taxi-user. He only has access to those taxis that are affiliated with the Network Service Provider of his choice and not all available taxis. The Victorian government decided to compete with perpetual licence holders in the market of leasing taxi licences. A lot can be said on this subject and there should be an in depth discussion on why and to what extent governments should be involved. However, one can see all around the world that an unlimited supply of taxis will invariably lead to an increase in price for the consumer and a decrease in overall service. This is therefore not in the public interest. Let’s hope that the all facets of the Victorian taxi industry will work together and with the help of the government, survive the present crisis so that the Victorian public will once again have a world class taxi service that we can all be proud of. Hans Altoff Taxi Owner/ Operator TT It is in the public’s interest that the networks or the government work together to find a solution that gives the public access to ALL available taxis in Melbourne. February 2016 |7


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MONEY FOR HARDSHIP There’s still time to apply for the Taxi Reform Hardship Fund before applications close on 12 February 2016. The fund was established to assist perpetual taxi licence owners who may be experiencing severe financial distress as a result of reforms following the 2012 Taxi Industry Inquiry. Perpetual taxi licence owners who meet the following criteria may be eligible for payments from the fund. Persons who had an ownership interest in a taxi licence between 28 March 2011 and 1 July 2013 and as a direct result of the Taxi Industry Inquiry and subsequent reforms are currently experiencing both: • A deficiency in income that would not allow provision for either themselves or their immediate family the necessities of food, shelter, clothing, medical expenses, education for children and other basic requirements; and An inability to liquidate assets in order to either meet the costs of those necessities outlined above or to pay outstanding debts as and when they fall due. To establish if an applicant meets this criteria, applications will be means tested and assessed against a set of guidelines supporting the criteria outlined above. The Chair and auditing team will determine payment amounts for eligible applicants once applications for the fund close. For more information about the fund, or to download the application form visit the Taxi Reform Hardship Fund website - au and search for taxi reform hardship. Applications close at 5pm on Friday, 12 FebTT ruary 2016. • 8 | February 2016 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry


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SEND ANY AMOUNT ANYWHERE FOR JUST $ Register in-store at the kiosk or online at * Flat fee of $1 applies to the first transaction only for new customers to MoneyGram at 7-Eleven. Offer ends 11.59pm 4 April 2016 AEST. In addition to the transfer fee, a currency exchange rate may also apply. MoneyGram also makes money from currency exchange. MoneyGram and the Globe are marks of MoneyGram. All other marks are the property of their respective owners. © 2016 MoneyGram. Send limit at a 7-Eleven store is AUD 3,000, with some countries restricted to less than this. Offer excludes transactions to Nigeria, Ghana and Colombia. 1 New customers, first transaction only Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry February 2016 |9


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TOLL CHEATS GET NABBED The Sheriffs are out on the roads catching those who try to avoid the toll fees. Police, the Taxi Services Commission and the Sheriff’s Office are getting operations in place to catch up with toll cheats. They will use GPS and numberplate recognition technology to locate them. A toll invoice must be paid by the due date otherwise you will be issued a Final Toll Invoice with additional administration charges. When the Final Toll Invoice remains unpaid, you will receive an Infringement Notice from Victoria Police for $148 for every day of travel. Next is a letter from the Sheriff’s Office. Once the Sheriff’s Office becomes involved you need to take immediate action to resolve your matters. The Sheriff’s Officers are authorised to clamp your vehicle’s wheel, suspend your driver’s licence and vehicle registration, seize and sell your personal property and arrest you. TT 10 | February 2016 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry


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3.67 million unpaid toll fines = ALMOST $ 1 BILLION UNPAID FINES Taxi Drivers 129,563 fines unpaid $ 35 million unpaid CityLink $ 616 million unpaid EastLink $ 363 million unpaid Australia’s premier taxi magazine is now proudly independent taxitalk • Taxi Talk magazine • Taxi news Took its first faltering steps in May 1966 and for the first time in 60 years provided a forum for a common cause in the taxi and hire car industry. A progressive approach to sharing the industry’s news to Victorian taxi owners, operators and drivers. 11 issues a year! (Feb - Dec) on the ranks since 1966 magazine TAXI TALK ISSUE NO 572 VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY FEBRUARY 2016 TAXI VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY MAGAZINE ON THE RANKS SINCE 1966 PROUDLY PUBLISHED AND PRINTED IN MELBOURNE Print Post Approved number 100004912 WHITE NIGHT MELBOURNE SATURDAY 20 FEBRUARY 7PM - 7AM White Night Melbourne is the city as you know it, turned on its head in a dusk til dawn celebration of culture and creativity. A night where the surreal seems real. White Night Melbourne is an event that transforms the impossible into the possible through installation, lighting, street performances, film, music, dance and interactive events taking place in Melbourne’s streets, laneways, parklands and public spaces. • Monthly editions • Updated monthly with the current magazine edition. Phone 0400 137 866 | Email | Website Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry February 2016 | 11


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WORLD TAXI NEWS SINGAPORE ComfortDelGro, a Singapore-based multinational land transport company, operates 46,500 vehicles in seven countries and manages the largest taxi fleet in Singapore with some 17,000 taxis. ComfortDelGro is the first taxi company in Singapore to accept MasterPass. Mr Yang Ban Seng, CEO of ComfortDelGro Taxis, said: “MasterPass is a service initiative to provide our customers with a seamless and hassle free ride in our taxis.” “They just need to book our taxis using MasterPass, hop into our cab and get off at their destination without any fare transaction. Our drivers will also like it because there’s no fiddling of notes and coins and no dipping of cards – it really does save both customers and cabbies valuable time.” TT JAKARTA Ojek are a traditional form of transportation in Jakarta. Given the city’s infamous congestion, ojek can be found on every street corner of the capital, although their existence has no legal basis. For years, ojek have been considered an alternative type of public transportation for people who like to reach their destination without spending hours stuck in traffic, but now the game has completely changed. The rising popularity of the two biggest players in the app-based ojek business, Go-Jek and GrabBike, has made the two-wheeled taxi a favorite mode of public transportation among middleclass Jakartans. Taxi companies Blue Bird and Express have also voiced their objection, as their drivers reported dropping income since the advent of the app-based ojek. Indra Budiari TT TAXI finance We are accredited with over 30 banks and other lenders EASY CAR LOAN APPROVALS... NO TAX RETURNS REQUIRED* * conditions apply cheap rates best service fast approvals GAP COVER AVAILABLE cheap finance rates... ALL TAXI LICENCES & VHA CAR FINANCE all taxi vehicles (cars and vans, VHA vehicles, limos and others) $ 30,000 yarrafinance experts in commercial finance Phone 96 Garden Road, Clayton (near Ikea) 9561 8876 12 | February 2016 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry


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NEW YORK STATE A taxi ride from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport to City Hall downtown typically costs at least $39. If Uber or another ride-booking service were operating in Buffalo, the same ride could cost less than $20. That’s why Uber has become a national, even international, rage. Uber drivers are picking up passengers in every large American city, but not Buffalo – now the largest city in the nation without Uber. Why not Buffalo? The answer can be found 288 miles to the east, in Albany. Ride-hailing services, which use mobile apps to connect passengers and drivers, are not permitted in New York State, except in New York City, under a special arrangement. “I think there’s a very strong possibility that Uber will be accepted statewide,” State Sen. Timothy M. Kennedy said. “I think there’s a growing desire to have Uber in New York State. I think it’s gaining traction and momentum.” But getting through the Legislature will be difficult. Taxicab and Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry limo companies, cabbies and many disabled people are lined up against the service. These opponents say it would threaten the taxicab industry, costing at least 1,330 jobs in the Buffalo area alone, especially among support personnel such as dispatchers and mechanics. Opponents also say it would limit transportation options for the disabled. And they claim Uber would rely unfairly on independent-contractor drivers not subject to workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits and payroll withholdings. “We’re not afraid of competition,” said Kevin Barwell of Buffalo, president of the Limousine, Bus, Taxi Operators of Upstate New York. “If they want to come in and compete, fine, if they’re on the same playing field.” Supporters counter that Uber, which operates in 45 states, would provide flexible, part-time driving jobs for people needing extra income; increase access to small businesses; make communities safer by reducing drunken driving; serve underserved areas; and reduce discrimination against passengers living in tough neighborhoods. Gene Warner TT AMS LAW Serving the Taxi Industry for over 30 years We practice as Business, Commercial, Conveyancing, Estate Planning, Family, Litigation, Probate, Superannuation, Taxation ADAMS MAGUIRE SIER 176 Upper Heidelberg Road, Ivanhoe 3079 Email: | Phone: 9497 2622 February 2016 LAWYERS | 13


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COMMUNITY FIRE PROTECTION With the bushfire season well and truly underway, Victoria Police is ramping up patrols to detect bushfire arson and prevent the destruction it can have on communities. This summer, police will reactivate Operation Firesetter to detect and prevent bushfire arson in high-risk locations and times. The operation is a state-wide initiative activated on severe, extreme or code red days. Deputy Commissioner Andrew Crisp said the operation was about taking action to catch arsonists before their criminal behaviour has devastating consequences. “We’ve already seen serious fires in some areas of the state. It’s more important than ever to remain vigilant and report suspicious behaviour to Crime Stoppers,” DC Crisp said. But it’s not just arsonists who provide a safety risk to the community. Recklessly caused fires are often viewed by the community as accidental. In reality, the potential for injury, loss of life, property damage and drain on resources is the same as that caused by arson. “Something like failing to properly extinguish a campfire, using machinery or angle grinders on a total fire ban day, or flicking a cigarette butt into grass is a recipe for disaster,” DC Crisp said. “We want people to be mindful of their activities during fire danger periods. Know the restrictions and be accountable to them.” Victoria Police is asking the community to help prevent deliberately and accidentally lit fires to keep Victoria safe this summer. TT ATTENTION ! For more information call in and see us at: Become members of our united, credible and honest association Taxi Drivers, Taxi Operators and Taxi Licence Holders register with us and be part of a united voice The Victorian Taxi & Hire Car Families 888 Mt. Alexander Road, Moonee Ponds, or 105 Normanby Road, North Caulfield Ring Leo any time on 0409 562 531 Unity will achieve our goal Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry 14 | February 2016


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How you can help • e mindful of your activities during fire danger B periods. Know the restrictions and be accountable to them. f you believe a person, or vehicle, is behaving in I a suspicious manner write down the details. If you record the details straight away the more accurate they are likely to be, and the more helpful the information will be to police. f you are suspicious of a person or a vehicle, write I down as much detailed information as possible. • If a fire affects your neighbourhood, try to: • • • ote the description of any people who have N entered or left the scene before the fire started. ote the description of any vehicles entering or N leaving the scene before the fire started ote any activity in the area prior to the fire N starting, such as camping, firewood collecting, bushwalkers etc. emember the time and location where you first R observed the fire. • • • If you see smoke or fire, call Triple Zero (‘000’) immediately. If you have difficulty speaking English, you can ask for an interpreter once you have been transferred to the emergency service you requested If you see something suspicious, report the behaviour by calling Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visiting Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry February 2016 | 15



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