01 June, 2018
Taxi industry challenged to Think Different in annual conference
The Australian Taxi Industry Association (ATIA) brought together all facets of the industry at its annual international taxi conference on the Gold Coast this week to discuss and explore new beginnings, trends and technological innovations as well as looking to the future, all to deliver better taxi services for Australian communities.
Running from May 27-31, the conference hosted taxi-booking companies, small and large fleet operators, licence owners and drivers from across the country and overseas to educate all on the latest product and service developments and opportunities available to them to help adapt business models and practices to an ever-changing industry environment.
The conference was opened by The Honourable Mark Ryan, Minister for Police and Minister for Corrective Services, and featured subject experts talking on autonomous vehicle technologies, cyber security, improving communication, regulatory compliance and safer operating and driving practices.
Blair Davies, Taxi Council of Queensland CEO, says the conference showcased the industry’s investment into new initiatives and served to underscore the point that members are adapting to the challenging times and improving the ways they serve their customers.
“Our focus is to deliver the highest standard of personalised transport service to the community and this year’s conference theme Think Different was a deliberate challenge for all attendees to consider emerging global trends and adopt the latest technology innovations as a means to meet growing consumer demand,” said Mr Davies.
“We know that we can’t be sitting on our laurels, especially as new operators enter the market and can exploit the current uneven playing field. We have to continue to invest in new technologies and educate ourselves on the latest trends, Government policy and developments to ensure we stay ahead in a constantly changing environment.”
The conference proved to be an important source of networking, discussion and learning for those in the industry, and it enabled attendees to participate in Q&A panels and presentations with world-class speakers to learn more about relevant industry developments from across the globe.
“There is a continual need to meet ever-changing requirements and demands of our customers and the high calibre of expert presenters provided good direction, resources and commentary for Queensland taxi stakeholders to consider,” continued Mr Davies.
“With trends like driverless vehicles, cyber security and road safety growing in concern and booked-hire vehicles driving hard working Queensland taxi service providers to the wall as a result of insufficient Government enforcement of compliance and rules, our industry needs to be better informed on how we can leverage new developments to survive and thrive in this environment.
“In the context of discussions around making taxi trips safer for customers and drivers, there was a very interesting session contrasting the different approaches to CTP in Queensland, NSW and Victoria. It was clear to attendees that the Victorian CTP scheme had adapted to the new regulatory environment for personalised transport the best.
“It was also really great to have the Queensland Insurance Commissioner, Neil Singleton, at the conference and involved in that discussion. Hopefully, we may see some changes to the Queensland CTP scheme in the not too distant future, because if Victorian taxis and booked hire vehicles can be paying the same $510.00pa CTP premium from 1 July 2018, there is no reason for Queensland taxis to be paying $4,460.60 pa while Queensland booked hire vehicles pay only $584.10 pa.
“We want to continue to be early adopters of new technologies and harnessing these benefits across the board from booking companies, operators and even drivers and customers, to widen our ability to provide efficient, safe, reliable and on-demand service to the Queensland community and beyond.”
Despite an ongoing wave of new entrants into the market, the taxi industry continues to stand as a strong and viable industry, always on the lookout for new efficiency and safety innovations that may improve service to customers.
With the strength of the national and state peak industry bodies behind them, members in the Queensland taxi industry have the determination, information and assets to compete for customers with new entrants and do so with better service.
For more information on the ATIA International Taxi Conference, please visit http://www.atia.com.au/conferences/national-conference/.
4 May, 2018
If the rules don’t apply to everyone, who do they apply to?
The Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) is challenging last month’s decision by Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads to grant Taxify Australia Pty Ltd (Taxify) a Booking Entity Authorisation (BEA), arguing there is a clear breach of the regulations and the decision opens the door for other booked-hired businesses to disregard any rules that they may not like .
The Government’s legislation makes it illegal for non-taxi operators to use the word ‘taxi’ or ‘cab’ in promotional materials or advertising unless a taxi is the vehicle providing the service. Taxify is a booked hire service and it does not dispatch trips to taxis.
TCQ CEO Blair Davies believes Taxify, which also trades as TAXIFY OU, is deliberately mocking the Government as well as the taxi industry.
“To dispatch taxis or booked hire vehicles in Queensland, the regulations require companies to be authorised BEAs. Taxify applied for BEA status using the name “TAXIFY OU’ which looks a lot like ‘Taxi F… You’,” said Mr Davies.
“The Transport Department should be making Taxify do what UberCab had to do back in 2010 when it wanted to start operating in San Francisco. It wasn’t allowed to use the word ‘cab’ in its name because it wasn’t dispatching trips to bona fide taxis and so it rebranded its operations as just Uber. Taxify needs to do the same.
“TCQ is not objecting to a new competitor entering the personalised transport market, we are simply asking the Government to hold everybody in the sector accountable to the rules that it created. If the Transport Department is going to allow one competitor to blatantly mock a regulation and disregard it, it opens the door for others to do the same.”
TCQ’s concerns about Taxify being given BEA status are not restricted to it illegally using the word ‘taxi’ in its name. In September last year, Taxify’s operations in London were shut down with reports suggesting the company had tried to operate without securing the necessary licenses.
“Taxify is yet another global behemoth that wants to make money in Queensland,” says Mr Davies. “The Government opened the door for them with its regulatory changes and so it now needs to step up to the challenge of keeping these companies from running amuck.
“TCQ is calling on the Government to say to Taxify and others like them that Queensland is a great place, but if you want to come here, you must play by our rules and if they don’t the Government needs to slam the brakes on them right from the get go.
“Granting BEA status to a foreign controlled company is like a license for them to make money out of Queenslanders. It’s a privilege and not a right.
“The Government can’t have the Transport Department handing out BEA status to companies that show they want to misrepresent the types of services they provide or that don’t take safety and other regulatory requirements seriously,” concludes Mr Davies.
27 April, 2018
Booked-hire services causing CBD congestion
The inundation of booked-hire vehicles on Brisbane and Gold Coast roads is resulting in mounting congestion and other traffic problems across CBD areas and inner city suburbs. Hundreds, and at times possibly thousands, of booked-hire vehicles are cruising around South East Queensland streets while waiting for their next fare, causing a massive strain on the traffic flow system.
The Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) is urging authorities to protect the safety of passengers and other road users by imposing stronger penalties on booked-hire vehicles that make dangerous manoeuvrers and stop to pick-up or set-down their clients illegally.
Booked-hire vehicles are not allowed to use taxi ranks under the Government’s new regulations because the space is too limited. Instead, booked-hired vehicles have access to more than 155 loading zones to pick up and drop off their passengers in the Brisbane CBD, so there is no reason for drivers to stop illegally, hold up traffic, or have passengers entering and exiting their vehicles in unsafe locations.
TCQ CEO, Blair Davies, says the unchecked growth and evidently negative impact of booked-hire vehicles on our roads is a “wake up call” for Government and has called for stronger enforcement by Police and Transport Department officers.
“Legalising booked-hire services has turned over our city streets to be run by people in the gig economy for their own profit at the expense of other road users,” said Mr Davies.
“Congestion is just the tip of the iceberg. Other unwanted consequences include dangerous parking manoeuvres and passengers getting in and out of vehicles in unsafe locations, both of which put passengers’ and other road users’ safety at greater risk.
“Passenger safety should always be put first and authorities need to do more to ensure booked hire drivers obey the law when operating on our roads.”
Booked-hired service, Uber, claims to have more than 11,000 drivers in Brisbane compared to the 3,100 taxis operating across the whole of Queensland. With booked-hire operators such as Ola and Taxify eyeing Brisbane as one of their next markets to enter, concerns of further traffic woes are imminent.
“The situation can surely only get worse as more operators enter the market,” predicts Mr Davies. “Brisbane should follow New York in considering a cap on the number of booked-hire vehicles operating on our roads as a means to mitigate congestion.
“While we welcome competition, more needs to be done by the Government to improve the safety and efficiency of Queensland roads. Everyone in the personalised transport sector should be held to the same standards as the taxi industry when passenger and public safety is at risk. The last thing we want is to see Queensland drivers and commuters lose out in the end as global operators pump more and more cars onto our roads,” concludes Mr Davies.
April 16, 2018
Road safety manual for taxi industry aims to deliver standardised framework
The Road Safety Manual for the Taxi Industry, developed by QUT’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) has just been released and aims to develop a standardised safe driving guide for taxi operators, owners and drivers.
The report is the result of months of work on the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) funded project called Reducing the Crash Involvement of Taxis in Queensland: Situational Analysis and Crash and Exposure Analyses.
The Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) and our members actively participated in the development of the Manual in a bid to help deliver a new, coordinated approach to driver safety and highlight the key hazards and risks affecting the industry.
TCQ CEO, Blair Davies, said the industry’s approach to safety has always been to push to higher standards.
“The safety of our operators, owners, drivers and passengers is of utmost importance and TCQ’s support of this manual reinforces this,” Mr Davies said.
“With some 3,200 taxis operating on Queensland roads 24/7, and moving up to 90 million people per year, improving safety in the taxi industry is a big deal.
“A standardised safety-related framework such as The Road Safety Manual for the Taxi Industry aims to provide the industry with a number of strategies that taxi operators and drivers can adopt to ensure a safer industry as a whole.”
CARRS-Q Senior researcher Amanda Evenhuis said the manual highlights some examples of the key hazards and risks facing the industry and provides some risk management ideas that could be adopted to make the industry safer.
“While our previous research found examples of initiatives to improve road safety within the Queensland taxi industry, an overarching coordinated, strategic approach was lacking,” Ms Evenhuis said.
“The most common factors associated with a higher risk of crashes for taxi drivers are gender (mostly men), age (25-49), driver distraction, vehicle condition, road conditions, organisational culture, high mileage and time pressure.
“Driver distraction or inattention has been found to be a contributing factor of 78 per cent of all crashes and 65 per cent of near crashes by taxi drivers and other drivers. Fatigue is another danger area that can impact on drivers’ mental and physical capacities.”
The Road Safety Manual for the Taxi Industry covers six main sections with a seventh revision process covering:
Each section provides a series of actions or questions taxi drivers, owners and operators can consider in a bid to help them understand the potential risks and formulate a management plan relevant to their own operations.
The Road Safety Manual for the Taxi Industry is available to download at https://research.qut.edu.au/carrsq/projects/research-proposal-to-reduce-the-crash-involvement-of-taxis-in-queensland-development-of-driving-safety-resources-and-further-analyses/.