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Melbourne taxis and Sydney taxis

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —May 8, 2008
Filed in Anecdotes

Last week Melbourne was witness to our taxi drivers protesting in the city streets against their poor working conditions. The protest was sparked by the fatal stabbing of a fellow taxi driver. Among a range of improvements, the drivers wanted taxi owners to make available security screens that wrap around their driver’s seat.

This week I was in Sydney and Daryl reminded me that taxis there were once big users of driver security screens but they’re rarely seen these days. We have also noticed a marked improvement in the quality of Sydney taxis over the last couple of years. So when we jumped into a cab we asked the driver why the screens had disappeared.

The driver knew exactly what had changed. “A couple of years ago some new legislation was brought in that enabled taxi drivers to refuse a fare,” he said. “Now we choose who gets into our cab and as a result violence has dropped. We also know if a single, male passenger, wearing a cap (to shield his face from the in-car security camera) jumps into the back seat, it’s likely to be trouble, and we tell them to get out.”

According to this cabbie, this one intervention has made the big impact on driver security.

I wonder why Melbourne is not learning the lessons from Sydney?

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:

3 Responses to “Melbourne taxis and Sydney taxis”

  1. Ben Says:

    I know someone who worked on the implementation of those screens for drivers in Sydney. There was a lot of demand for them (similar to Melbourne now) until they were introduced, and then were almost universally despised by the drivers. 10 years later, I’ll still get the story from her every month or two about how painful that project was. She still bears a significant grudge against Sydney taxi drivers for making her life hell on that project.

  2. andrew Says:

    The screens are no use in standard Ford Falcons. What is needed are purpose built taxis adapted in build to provide a sensible option for driver safety whilst affording civilised comfortable comunication. As a well experienced former Melbourne cabbie, I will NOT drive again if forced to be squashed for hours behind a cheap add on screen.

  3. jens henriksen Says:

    If we can draw parallels between human individuals (I’m thinking of your post on the “kidnapping busdriver”) and large complex organisations as cities, then maybe we can understand it as a question of “Sydney” not having earned its right to advice or serve as an example for “Melbourne”. After all – it’s people who decide.

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