John Winston

Watch what you say - audio recording on way to Qld taxis

THOSE late-night, alcohol-laced confessions and regrettable conversations made in taxi back seats will soon be recorded under Queensland Government measures to improve safety within the taxi industry.

Video recording devices are already installed in taxis in the Sunshine State but Transport Minister Scott Emerson has announced he will take it a step further.

Mr Emerson said placing audio recording in taxis would act as a further deterrent to assaults against taxi drivers and passengers.

"We won't stand for attacks on taxi drivers, but audio recordings and cameras can deter and ensure additional evidence when a crime is committed," he said.

"This government is committed to providing all Queensland taxi drivers with a safe work environment, however, this must be balanced with a passenger's and taxi driver's right to privacy."

The captured data will be encrypted and automatically overwritten after a certain period as happens with video recordings.

This week the south-east has seen two instances where taxi drivers have been assaulted and their cars stolen.

Three teenagers allegedly punched a driver before stealing his cab in Woodridge on Monday.

On Sunday, a 23-year-old man allegedly hit a driver in the face after travelling in a cab through Redbank Plains.

Police found the stolen taxi not long after.

The State Government will also make it mandatory for taxis to have automated taximeters in cabs.

"Legislation is already in place to stop taxi operators or drivers from charging more than the allowable maximum fare, but incidences of overcharging can still occur," Mr Emerson said.

"When taximeters are automated, all parts of the fare will be recorded on the meter and the passenger will only pay the price that's displayed.

"This price will also be itemised into the various fare components on the trip receipt."

Taxi Council Queensland chief executive Benjamin Wash said he supported the introduction of greater security measures in taxis.

"We also support automated metering for the benefit of both drivers and customers, though we point out that with around 250,000 taxi fares each day, instances of rorting are extremely rare," he said.

"The State Government's own mystery shopper research confirms this.

"That said, we recognise that every industry has people who will do the wrong thing from time to time. Taxi Council Queensland has zero tolerance for any unethical behaviour and this is a positive step."

Legislation is expected to be introduced to Queensland Parliament next month.