August 30, 2016
Taxi Council warns of spike in sexual assaults after QLD rideshare legislation
Taxi Council Queensland (TCQ) says proposed new legislation that will deregulate the taxi industry and prevent the public from identifying taxis will lead to an increase in sexual assaults in this state, just as it is doing overseas.
A recent Associated Press (AP) report in the USA revealed that a man posed as an uber driver to assault a woman in Atlanta; with similar cases being reported in several US cities including Los Angeles, where “a man was arrested and accused of luring a woman into his SUV and then raping her and choking her until she became unconscious”.
The reports states that, “within the past 12 months, police in Washington, D.C., and in Chicago also have issued public alerts to warn residents about people pretending to be uber drivers and preying on unsuspecting customers.”
TCQ chief executive officer Benjamin Wash said the council has been warning about such attacks since the start of illegal rideshare services in Queensland but had been accused of scaremongering.
“It goes without saying that if the public cannot identify vehicles that are genuine taxis, there is opportunity for predators and people with criminal intent to easily exploit this, particularly when dealing with drunk and vulnerable customers.”
He said uber is not to blame, but “any system that allows unmarked cars to pick up passengers is a recipe for disaster.
“While rideshare drivers should only accept pre-booked rides, we know many cruise around nightclub precincts and schools trying to pick up passengers, and this will get worse with the new legislation that allows anyone to run their own taxi service.”
The AP report quotes police as confirming that “some uber drivers wait outside bars anticipating that people will need rides, much like taxis do.”
“This Government has given criminals and predators an opportunity to masquerade as rideshare drivers, offering lifts to passengers at their most vulnerable, and all Queenslanders should be outraged.”
AP article referred to above - http://www.denverpost.com/2016/08/26/atlanta-police-seek-man-who-posed-as-uber-driver-attacked-woman/
August 29, 2016
Taxi Council condemns Government payback
Queensland’s taxi peak body has accused the State Government of targeting taxi drivers as payback for the industry’s lack of support for the deregulation of the industry, announced recently following the Varghese Review into personalised transport.
Taxi Council Queensland CEO Benjamin Wash revealed that police were breath testing all drivers on a major city rank on Saturday night, disrupting taxi services.
He said this had never happened before on this scale and that police informed drivers that they were acting on the direct orders of “Queensland politicians”.
“We feared that the Government would target law abiding taxi drivers because we didn’t jump for joy when they deregulated our industry, and it appears they are doing exactly that.”
Mr Wash said the review was a whitewash and it was clear that the Labor Government was more interested in supporting illegal multinational operators that don’t pay tax in Australia, over Queensland small business.
“Every small business in Queensland should be worried that not only did the Government abandon the 16,000 small business operators that make up the taxi industry, but are now vindictive enough to target them and ensure they lose more business.
“By deregulating this industry, they have stripped consumers of protection, ignored their responsibility to put safety first, and supported a breakdown of the rule of law.”
He said that under the new era of deregulation, anyone can start their own taxi service with no checks or balances, no rules and no quality standards.
“The Queensland public should be aware that this is not about a company called uber, but about opening up public transport to anyone with the bar set so low it’s scary and dangerous.
“Sadly something very serious will have to happen before the Government wakes up.”
Taxi Council of Queensland Inc.
August 15, 2016
Taxi Council calls on Queenslanders to dump RACQ after dishonest stealth campaign
The RACQ’s credibility is in tatters after it “played” the Government and media by running a dishonest campaign in support of uber for the sole purpose of entering the rideshare market itself, according to Queensland’s peak taxi body.
Taxi Council Queensland (TCQ) CEO Benjamin Wash says while the RACQ can conduct any legal business it wants, it was dishonest by providing comments under the guise of being a peak motoring body while not publicly declaring its interest in creating its own rideshare company.
“The RACQ has sold out Queenslanders by supporting a foreign multinational that sends its profits offshore at the expense of thousands of Queensland small businesses, and even worse it has been caught lying about its intentions.
“We called their management out last week and their response has been an embarrassing and confusing mix of admitting their intent and denying it all at the same time.”
RACQ executive manager Michael Roth has told the Sunday Mail that the organisation intended to ‘investigate the business opportunities presented by becoming a (rideshare) provider’.
“This is something that RACQ could do in the future,” he was quoted as saying.
Mr Wash said TCQ’s concerns were not about competition, but about integrity.
“It’s a big deal because the RACQ’s so-called ‘independent’ voice carries weight with the media and public who assume it speaks from a public benefit perspective, not from commercial self-interest.
“Tens of thousands of small business people associated with the taxi industry across Queensland who operate honestly, pay their taxes and abide by regulations will rightly feel betrayed, and many will have membership and insurance with RACQ.
“We call on all within the taxi industry and all other Queenslanders to immediately send them a message by cancelling their membership and insurance policies and changing to companies that support local business and display integrity.”
TCQ said the RACQ’s “doublespeak” is not fooling anyone. “The organisation must now come clean and be honest, or its contribution to future public debates won’t be taken seriously.”
August 11, 2016
Media conference - Response to State Government announcement - Varghese Review
Taxi Council Queensland Chief Executive Officer Benjamin Wash will respond to the announcement by the State Government on the Varghese Review recommendations today. He will be accompanied by Rob Pyne MP.
Time – 2.15pm
Date – TODAY Thursday August 11
Where – Outside the office of Rob Pyne MP - 46-50 Spence St, Cairns