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Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett has called for public transport to run around the clock on weekends during the festive season in a bid to get revellers home quicker and address Melbourne's taxi shortage.
Long queues are common for cabs in the CBD and Melbourne's inner-city suburbs and often cause tension as people wrangle over hailing taxis or wait in ranks on their way home from a night out.
Mr Kennett estimated Melbourne was up to 6000 drivers short of meeting demand and said there was little incentive to become cabbies given the pay was poor, hours were long and work conditions tough.
"There aren't many of us who'd work for $8 an hour in an industry where at certain times of the day or year the driver can be threatened physically, they can be verballed, they can have people leaving the cab without being paid," he told radio station 3AW.
Mr Kennett said 24-hour trains, trams and buses running from Friday through to the early hours of Sunday would provide a solution at this time of the year, when more revellers were in the city celebrating.
"The beauty about that is you can carry volumes of people," he said.
"A taxi, you can only carry three of four maybe five at a squeeze - I don't know what the licence provides - but when you use buses or use trains you can move volumes of people.
"Whether they leave on the half-hour on the hour ... people would be able to adjust their performances and activities accordingly."
Mr Kennett said it was unlikely the state government would introduce any measure this year, but hoped Transport Minister Terry Mulder would consider putting on more transport services during next year's festive season.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/kennett-calls-for-allnight-public-transport-20111212-1oq9c.html
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