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TAXPAYERS are meeting the cost of cab fares for Queensland Rail passengers stranded by cancelled and delayed train services.
Services have been disrupted 15 times in the past 12 weeks in the Brisbane region, but Queensland Transport denies it has a problem with its infrastructure.
The State Government confirmed yesterday it had dipped into the public purse to pay for alternative transport when "exceptional circumstances, such as power outages, traffic accidents, wild weather and attempted suicides" affected lines.
The Courier-Mail asked Queensland Rail to reveal how much money had been spent on transporting delayed train passengers after a taxi driver claimed thousands of dollars were being spent on redirecting commuters.
The driver, who did not want to be identified, said taxis had been called out to collect grounded passengers at least once a week during the past few months.
Queensland Rail spokesman Ian Collier said he needed a least a day's notice before he could reveal how many taxis had been ordered since September and how much the bill had totalled.
The Yellow Cab driver said 10 maxi taxis – at $85 for each vehicle – were called to a southwest Brisbane rail station last week after a power failure.
He said taxi drivers were often told to take passengers to the next available operational station, but sometimes it was late at night and the platforms were deserted.
"I'm not supposed to but I take them home. I can't have that (safety issues) on my conscience," he said.
Mr Collier said taxis often had to be used because buses could be hard to source or there could be a disabled passenger.
He said Queensland Rail was dedicated to customer service, and part of its commitment included calling in buses and taxis when services were delayed or cancelled.
"In most cases these are exceptional circumstances that are beyond the control of Queensland Rail," he said.
"No one can predict a bus being wedged under a rail overpass."
Liberal Party leader Bob Quinn warned that Queenslanders could have another "Energex on their hands".
"Queensland Rail is not spending enough on maintenance (and) it has the same range of excuses that Energex had," Mr Quinn said.
He said the Government had only recently signed a contract for new rolling stock after a three to four-year drought.
He said he found it hard to believe that there had been 15 "exceptional circumstances" in 12 weeks.
The migration to Queensland was testing the network, he said.
A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Paul Lucas failed to return The Courier-Mail's phone call.
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