The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will not oppose the proposed merger between Brisbane Cabs and Merrywell Pty Ltd (trading as Black & White Cabs), Acting ACCC Chairman, Mr Allan Asher, said today .

"Black & White Cabs operates the second largest taxi depot service in the Brisbane metropolitan area while Brisbane Cabs operates the smallest.

"After the introduction of changes in regulation proposed by Queensland Transport, all taxi booking service providers operating in South-East Queensland will be required to enter into service contracts which set minimum service levels. These include a requirement that taxi booking service providers comply with auditing standards which are likely to necessitate the use of computerised despatch systems.

"The largest depot in the market, Yellow Cabs, has experienced significant growth within its fleet after the transfer of a number of taxi operators from Brisbane Cabs and Black & White Cabs. It has been a vigorous competitor. Yellow Cabs is further expected to increase its taxi numbers following the Queensland Transport decision that the number of wheelchair accessible taxis will be increased. All additional wheelchair accessible taxis will be operated through Yellow Cabs for the next two years under contract with the Queensland Government.

"Inquiries indicated that while Brisbane Cabs was an effective competitor when it first entered the market five years ago, this competition has not been maintained particularly in the area of despatch system technology. This has affected its ability to attract taxi operators to its depot and also its ability to satisfy the proposed regulatory requirements of Queensland Transport.

"Black & White Cabs has also experienced difficulties in retaining its taxi numbers, losing a significant number of taxis through transfers in the past year. Recently, Black & White Cabs has been the subject of legal proceedings instituted by its despatch system supplier, Motorola, for default of payment. It is likely that failure to service this liability would result in the withdrawal of this equipment from the Black & White Cabs depot and the cessation of its despatch operations at least in the short term.

"It is unlikely that individually Black & White Cabs or Brisbane Cabs would continue to be vigorous and effective competitors in this market in the future."