A taxi company is under fire after revealing it only hires Australian drivers whose first language is English.
Eureka Taxis launched its service in Ballan, about 78km northwest of Melbourne, on Monday, announcing the news to locals by posting in a community Facebook group.
In the post, Eureka Taxis’ Matthew Matters said people in Ballan would be able to book a taxi and “be picked up by an Australian driver”.
“All drivers are: Australian drivers, fully insured (and) have current working with children checks,” he wrote.
The majority of commenters seemed excited about having a new taxi service but not everyone was impressed with the prerequisite for drivers.
“Up your arse I’m a wog,” one person wrote.
Co-owner Vivian Wilson responded to the man, pointing out she is from a European background and has no problem with the requirement for drivers to have English as a first language.
“I have no issues when businesses ask for drivers to have English being your first language. I personally don’t take offence to it,” she said.
The commenter pushed back, claiming requiring drivers to be Australian was the problem.
“We don’t all have to be Australian to speak English,” he said.
Ms Wilson claimed the company was just giving customers what they wanted by having English-speaking drivers.
“It’s just what customers are asking … Eureka Taxis have fulfilled customers’ requests,” she said.
The author of the post then chimed in, saying the man’s response was “totally out of line” and abuse was unnecessary.
“The ‘Australian Drivers’ part of my advert was NEVER intended to offend any nationality.
To understand what I was meaning, I think you need to understand the taxi industry as a whole specifically when it comes to the quality, experience and professionalism with drivers,” Mr Matters wrote.
“I think your profanity and attitude/defensiveness is out of line, uncalled for and totally unacceptable.
“I think you should have asked for clarification or messaged me privately PRIOR to unleashing a torrent of abuse.”
On another post Mr Matters made about Eureka Taxis, a few other locals questioned what the “Australian drivers” requirement meant.
“Australian drivers means that English is their first language and they hold an Australian driving licence (not an international licence),” Mr Matters responded.
Ms Wilson clarified to The Ballarat News that English as a first language was a strict requirement for drivers but they could come from any background.
She said there are a lot of “multicultural drivers” where the company is based in Ballarat and Eureka Taxi’s requirement for their drivers to hold an Australian licence was based on customer demand.
“You’ve got drivers that will sit there and talk their own language while they have customers in the car which is quite rude,” she told the publication.
“The attention to the customer isn’t 100 per cent, so we are fulfilling that gap.”