Council scheme offering cheap cabs under review

THE fate of Ipswich City Council's undocumented taxi subsidy scheme remains up in the air seven months after a review was ordered into the process.

Ipswich administrator Greg Chemello ordered a review into the City Heart Cabs program after it operated for five years with no formal agreement in place.

The program, launched as a subsidised travel program for some Ipswich residents in January 2011, costs the council about $15,000 each year.

It allows people receiving an age pension, disability support pension or carer's payment to travel by taxi from their home to Riverlink Shopping Centre, Ipswich City Square, Brassall, Booval Fair and Orion Town Centre for only $2 a person each way.

Between 50 and 70 people use the program each year.

Yellow Cabs invoices the council on a monthly basis for the fares it has incurred that month, the difference between the full fare and the $2 rate for participants.

The council continued to pay for the service despite an agreement to fund it lapsing in 2013.

Yellow Cabs gives the council information about service usage, names of service users, pick-up points, destinations and the full fare.

Privacy laws prevent the verification of a person's eligibility to use the service, meaning the program operates on an "honour system".

Mr Chemello was presented with several options for the service, including cutting off funding, in December.

He instead directed council officers to review the program; an analysis that remains ongoing.

No timeline for the review has been given and the cabs program will continue in the meantime.

Translink also offers a Taxi Subsidy Scheme for people with extreme disabilities and FlexiLink services for residents in some areas of Ipswich, but the State Government is also reviewing the program.



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