Cab driver supports planned fare freeze

A Wollongong cab driver says he doesn't want taxi fares to rise - and he says he's not the only one.

Ray Agostini, who has been driving cabs for seven years, said the recent proposal by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal for a freeze on fares for 2014-15 made good sense.

In a draft report this week, IPART proposed the fare freeze for NSW metropolitan taxi fares, along with issuing another 190 taxi licences.

As a regional centre, Wollongong taxi fares are pegged to Sydney fares.

IPART's stance was criticised by the NSW Taxi Council, which said the fare freeze ignored the recent 20 per cent price hike for LPG, and in effect meant a pay cut for drivers.

But Mr Agostini, 59, said there had already been enough fare rises, which put customers off.

"I don't think there should be any further rises at all," he said.

"Rising fares will only discourage customers; they will find other means of transport."

Mr Agostini said prices were already high enough to be a disincentive to catching taxis.

"To maintain a customer base, we need to keep prices as low as possible, to get more customers," he said.

"I don't catch taxis myself when I'm off - they're too expensive."

Mr Agostini said the recent hike in the flagfall for Friday and Saturday nights to $6 had angered customers.

"If you have a flagfall of $6, and a telephone booking fee of $2.40, the meter starts at $8.40," he said.

"I have heard reports of drivers being verbally attacked, or physically threatened, by regular customers who know where they are going [and the usual cost]."

IPART will give its final report in February.

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