Warrnambool taxi drivers have had their hours cut after patronage numbers dropped 75 per cent due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Stephen Hardy, a Warrnambool taxi driver of 17 years, said people were no longer booking cabs because there was nowhere to go.
"Patronage is down about 75 per cent because we are no longer getting any night time trips," he said.
Pubs, nightclubs and entertainment venues were forced to close their doors on Monday as part of Australia's stage-one shut down response to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We are only getting jobs during the day for our elderly or disabled passengers," Mr Hardy said.
"At night time there is basically nothing."
It is understood that total takings have dropped by over $2000 per week, per vehicle.
Mr Hardy said despite the difficulties, drivers were still expected to pay a 10 per cent taxi levy.
"We're just trying to figure out what to do from here," he said.
"It's going to be tough. For a lot of people, for everyone."
Warrnambool taxi driver Rose Lane said her weekend hours had been reduced by five hours each night.
"I would usually start at 6pm and work through to what we call 'finish', which is any time between midnight onwards," she said.
"On Fridays I would sometimes finish between 3am and 6am. But now people have nowhere to go so I've seen a significant drop in hours. It's a big loss in income as I only do nights, it's a bit worrying."
Ms Lane said drivers were taking every day as it comes.
"I think we would be considered an essential service because people need people transport," she said.
"But we don't know when or if the government will call for compulsory quarantine and whether that will include taxis. For now we will just be out there and available to the community like we always have been."
Ms Lane said she wasn't really worried about the health concerns of working within close proximity of potential strangers.
"At the end of the day, people need to get to places and that's my job," she said.
"We also trust that people will do the right thing (by self isolating if necessary)."
Listen to the latest episode of our weekly episode The Booletin and Beyond:
A Department of Transport spokeswoman said V/Line had also seen a reduction in the number of people travelling on the public transport network.
She said all travellers should abide by the 1.5-metre social distancing measures and stay home if they were unwell.
Maintenance works and the construction of a new storage facility has temporarily shut down the Warrnambool train line, with coach replacements running between Warrnambool and Southern Cross for all or part of the journey until April 12.
The spokeswoman said V/Line had seen a reduction in the number of people travelling on the public transport network in line with the broader trend of more people working from home, meaning less people would be using the replacements buses.
"Public transport is an essential service and is still available for those passengers who need to undertake travel," she said.
The Department of Transport is believed to be working with the Department of Health and Human Services, other health agencies and transport operators to prepare for the potential effects of the virus.
Public transport operators are understood to have increased cleaning measures, including sanitising and disinfecting touch points more often.
Some Victorian bus operators are believed to have introduced 1.5-metre exclusion areas around the driver's seat.
- The Standard initially incorrectly reported that taxi "wages had dropped by over $2000 over the weekends". It is now understood that total takings have dropped by over $2000 per week, per vehicle.
We have removed our paywall from our stories about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we want to make sure our readers are as informed as possible. If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe here.