A NEW player has entered the Bendigo taxi market, and has promised to double the number of cabs servicing the city by Christmas.
13CABS has set itself the challenge of putting 50 new taxis on the road in just over two months.
The network will launch with more than 10 cabs servicing the Bendigo area.
Recruitment efforts are ongoing.
Prior to the Bendigo launch of the business, the city was serviced by 45 taxis.
"We're of the view Bendigo has been under-serviced," 13CABS general manager David Samuel said.
He said the city had a low taxi-to-population ratio compared to cities of a similar size, such as Ballarat.
"We believe it’s time the people of Bendigo got more options in regards to the transport services at their disposal, and how they are able to access these services,” Mr Samuel said.
Two wheelchair accessible cabs are initially expected to be available, 24-hours, with scope for more in future.
A 13CABS wheelchair accessible taxi caught on fire earlier in the week.
"Thankfully, no-one was hurt," Mr Samuel said.
He said a replacement had been ordered from Melbourne, and was expected to arrive imminently.
Though Mr Samuel said the arrival of 13CABS in Bendigo had been positively received, the business said in a media statement a number of the city's existing cabbies had "switched" to the 13CABS network.
It cited "additional services available", such as the 13CABS app, as motivators for the move.
Customers can book, track and pay for a taxi using the app.
Mr Samuel said changes Minister for Public Transport and Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan and the state government had made to the taxi industry were "pivotal" in providing 13CABS access to the Bendigo market.
The reforms emphasised a need for greater competition.
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