29 June, 2018
With the number of booked-hire vehicles in Brisbane more than triple the number of taxis, and the prospect of some very large new entrants about to launch, the Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) is calling on the State Government to urgently address problems for driver viability and road safety created by the oversupply of booked-hire services.
The surplus of booked-hire vehicles places a massive strain on the traffic flow system as they circle South East Queensland roads waiting and competing for their next fare. Under the pressure to make a living, booked-hire drivers are engaging in dangerous on-road manoeuvres, they’re stopping illegally to pick-up or set-down passengers where it is not safe to do so, and they are putting other road users at risk.
TCQ CEO, Blair Davies said the saturated personalised transport market was compromising the safety and efficiency of Queensland roads and degrading services for the community.
“With this flood of booked-hire drivers on the road, it’s become a dog-eat-dog environment. The Government flung open the doors and now public safety is being put at risk as too many booked hire drivers resort to cutting corners in order to make a living in such a competitive market,” said Mr Davies.
“We’re seeing more and more of these booked hire vehicles just adding to the congestion problem that already clogs our roads. The problem is exacerbated as these vehicles engage in dangerous parking manoeuvres, as well as by their passengers getting in and out of vehicles in unsafe locations.
“Everyone wants our roads to be safer and work more efficiently. The Government needs to step in to ensure all drivers in the personalised transport sector can remain viable.”
With booked-hire goliaths such as Ola, Taxify and DiDi following Uber into Queensland, Mr Davies says unchecked growth in supply will become a giant problem for all drivers in the personalised transport sector.
"One of the troubles with the Uber model is that they sign up as many drivers as they can get, but the demand for their service doesn’t grow at even nearly the same rate. The cake just keeps getting cut into smaller and smaller slices to the point where their drivers are cannot make a decent living,” he said.
"We know from our experience in the taxi industry that as times get tougher and tougher for drivers their discipline and attention to service and safety start to drop away. It is really no surprise that we are hearing more and more reports of Uber drivers taking passengers the long way, charging bogus soiling fees, and using other scams to rip-off customers.
“There are no winners in this sort of market other than the foreign platforms themselves. Drivers lose out as they’re always chasing the next fare rather than making money and getting ahead. The Queensland community loses out as well as everyone deals with greater congestion, unsafe driving, and the risk of being ripped off by desperate booked hire drivers.
“The Queensland Government 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, improve passenger and other road users’ safety and ensure the viability of personalised transport sector drivers,” concludes Mr Davies.