Taxi Council says too much uberX spin and not enough honesty in media reporting
Queensland’s Taxi Council has accused sections of the media of “blindly following the spin” disseminated by illegal ride-hailing company uberX, and ignoring the legitimate safety concerns of experts.
Taxi Council Queensland (TCQ) chief executive officer Benjamin Wash was referring to an article that appeared in Fairfax media this week warning Australian businesses that allowing staff to use uberX instead of taxis risked heavy penalties under work safety laws.
The article stated that “workplace lawyers are voicing major concerns about employers that permit staff use of the controversial service because it could breach their duty of care.”
Law firm Holding Redlich said uberX “should be banned by employers because the service was unlicensed and unregulated and there were no in-car surveillance cameras, used in taxis, to deter assaults.”
Mr Wash said that TCQ had been voicing these concerns for a long while and that much was “common sense”, however some parts of the media were “spellbound” by the illegal operator and had become “a dangerous mouthpiece for misinformation by putting lives in danger”.
“The media should be placing Uber X and their claims under the same scrutiny and fact-checking guidelines by which they treat others including the taxi industry, but many do not,” he said.
“The media are complicit in an illegal operation that tells the public to trust them on issues of safety, insurance, driver checks, vehicle maintenance and other issues – yet never provides any evidence to show their service is safe.
“Put simply, Uber has been given a free ride by some of the media which has resulted in the public believing the service is both lawful and safe – when it is neither.
“We know uberX is not safe. We know it’s not properly insured and we know that every time someone gets into an uberX car, both the driver and passenger are at risk, yet it takes a legal firm to finally provide the motivation for some honest articles.”
Original article - http://www.smh.com.au/national/uberx-companies-face-penalties-for-use-of-rideshare-service-20150412-1mjb6r.html
Queensland taxi licence owners fear price drop as Uber gains traction
· ALEXANDRIA UTTING
· THE COURIER-MAIL
· APRIL 11, 2015 9:00AM
THE price of Brisbane taxi licences could fall by 20 per cent if Uber is allowed to gain further market traction, an academic warns.
Queensland University of Technology lecturer Nicolas Pontes said legalising ride-sharing services such as Uber and removing restrictions on the number of taxi licences issued would change Australia’s $5.5 billion taxi industry.
“We don’t know what exactly is going to happen in Brisbane but what happened in other places like New York in 2013 was that (licence prices) dropped about 70 per cent after uber started in the marketplace,” Dr Pontes said.
Dr Pontes, an advertising and consumer behaviour lecturer from QUT’s Business School, said licences in Victoria fell from $500,000 to $290,000 last year after the State Government removed restrictions on the number available.
“I don’t think that is the amount of (price) reduction we’re expecting in Brisbane, I’d say it’s about 20 per cent, but it depends if ride-share will be in the market.”
Australian Taxi Industry Association figures put the price of a new licence in Queensland metropolitan areas at $519,000 in 2014. However, many private sellers, who were unwilling to speak on the record for fear of being unable to on-sell plates, said they had received offers of no higher than $150,000 this year.
One licence holder said they were forced to lease their plates after being unable to onsell them.
IBISWorld Senior Industry Analyst, Stephen Gargano, said licences in Queensland were no longer a good buy in light of recommendations made by the Australian competition watchdog’s Harper Review.
“It would be an extremely risky investment, with a lot of questions over which way regulation will go,” he said.
However, Taxi Council Queensland CEO, Benjamin Wash, reassured licence holders. “I think they remain a good investment and, in light of the Harper Review, I don’t anticipate any change in the Queensland taxi industry because the Harper Review had a fairly narrow scope,” he said.
A spokesman for Deputy Premier and Minister for Transport Jackie Trad said any legislative change based on review recommendations would be considered once the Queensland Government Taxi Strategic Plan expired later this year.