Brisbane Times | Toby Crockford | MARCH 27 2017 - 1:17PM
Taxi drivers have offered to evacuate residents for free as Cyclone Debbie bears down on the north Queensland coast.
Cabbies in Townsville, Mackay, the Whitsundays, Burdekin and Ayr were all on-board with the idea, which would see them partner with local SES to help evacuate vulnerable residents and transport emergency services around the warning areas without charge.
Townsville Taxis general manager Angela Rheeders said north Queensland cabbies were "really community focused" and said it was "really heart-warming" to see so many different north Queensland regions teaming up during such a tense time.
She added that by helping out whenever possible, taxis were freeing up emergency services vehicles so they could be used for other important work.
Taxi Council Queensland president Max McBride described Cyclone Debbie as "a big sucker" and echoed Ms Rheeders' message of helping local residents.
"It's important all of the resources we can muster are available to help communities be prepared."
He added cabbies had offered similar support during previous extreme weather events. Mr McBride said when Cyclone Marcia ripped through Rockhampton and Yeppoon in 2015, taxis were ferrying local residents up until about two hours before the worst of the weather hit.
He even recalled pulling maxi taxis from service on the day because they were being blown off the road by the strong winds coming through the area, five hours before the main cyclone arrived.
Read More: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/taxis-offer-to-evacuate-locals-for-free-as-cyclone-debbie-approaches-20170326-gv6yq0.html
Daily Mecury | Campbell Gellie | 15th Mar 2017 2:24 PM
About a quarter of the people at Mt Pleasant Tavern on Tuesday night arrived in taxis with Uber on their minds.
Despite Uber not yet ride-sharing its way into Mackay, the value of taxi licences and regulating the taxi industry was brought up no fewer than five times at the Liberal National Party's listening tour with Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan, Opposition leader Tim Nicholls and deputy leader Deb Frecklington.
Taxi drivers, licence holders, Mackay and Whitsunday Taxi general manager Gerry Lucas and Mackay-based Taxi Council Queensland president Max McBride made up a quarter of all the people there.
"Nothing is off the table, road construction, dams, crocodiles, mental health, education,” Mr Costigan said to the audience and then received a clap when he said "the taxi industry”.
Two questioners asked what the LNP would do to save what was left of their retirement nest eggs, which were tied up in taxi licences, once worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and now valued in the tens of thousands with the uncertainty around the industry as a result of Uber.
"Our goal is to level the playing field up with ride share operators,” he said
He said they had been meeting with people of all walks of life and "most would say the compensation is mostly inadequate”.
Mr McBride spoke about how the government issued taxi licences in 2012 for a cost of about $350,000.
"Those licence holders have got $20,000 back and now, by way of assistance, may get another $9000,” he said, adding that it was gut wrenching how much more they had lost in value to their licences.
Read More: https://www.dailymercury.com.au/news/give-us-a-crack-mackay-taxi-industry/3155127/
Jessica Marszalek, The Courier-Mail
March 10, 2017 12:00am
UBER drivers will pay a $237 annual licence fee, be forced to take out special insurance, get their cars safety-checked and install reflective signs on their vehicles.
Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey has announced a second round of reforms for rideshare services, and hardship payments for taxis and limousines, that yesterday angered both Uber and the taxi industry.
Key reforms include introducing a new annual licence fee for ride-booking operators that Uber spokesman Mike Scott described as a “new fee on everyday Queenslanders”.
New safety measures include requirements to carry reflective signs on front and rear windscreens advertising a car is an Uber vehicle and follow driver fatigue management plans.
Vehicles will undergo safety checks when licensed, and will have to take out a new class of compulsory third party insurance that is yet to be calculated by the Motor Accident Insurance Commission.
And $27 million in hardship payments will soon open for taxi and limousine owners and operators.
Mr Bailey said the changes were about making things fairer for all operators and increaing safety and choice for passengers.
But Uber spokesman Mike Scott said the licensing fees didn’t help create safety improvements, consumer benefits or new jobs.
“We’re disappointed to see the government propose new fees on everyday Queenslanders looking to access flexible work,” he said.
Taxi Council chief executive Benjamin Wash said the proposed new laws didn’t level the playing field.
“This proposed legislation has been written to advantage rideshare operators — who have flouted the law and attempted to avoid tax and regulatory requirements — over law abiding small businesses operators who make up Queensland’s taxi industry,” he said.
The Opposition said it would consider the new laws and consult with industry.
Brisbane Times | March 9 2017 | Felicity Caldwell
uber drivers will be slugged more than $200 for an annual licence fee under suggested state reforms that even the ridesharer's traditional rival – the taxi industry – has slammed.
The fee was among a swag of changes announced by Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey ahead of the second stage of legislation due to be introduced to Queensland Parliament later this month.
But the latest reforms are far from popular – pleasing neither ridesharing company Uber nor the Taxi Council Queensland.
Taxi service licences and limousine licences and plates will be retained and a new annual licence fee of $237.26 will be introduced for ridebooking operators such as Uber.
Reflective signage will also be mandatory on the front and back of ridebooking services.
Security cameras must be operating in vehicles that are not pre-booked or services that take cash or payment during the journey. But this requirement would not affect Uber, which takes payment via a pre-registered credit card after the journey.
Driver fatigue must also be managed by companies and operators.
And all personalised transport vehicles will require an annual certificate of inspection and a new class of compulsory third party insurance – separate to taxis – has been created for ridebooking and limousines.
An Uber spokesman said the licence fee was "disappointing".
"We're disappointed to see the government propose new fees on everyday Queenslanders looking to access flexible work," the spokesman said.
"The addition of vehicle licensing fees, which do not create any safety improvements or consumer benefits, is not in keeping with the stated aims of these reforms to open up competition, increase consumer choice and create new flexible work opportunities for Queenslanders."
Fairfax Media asked Uber if it would absorb the cost of the annual licensing fee or whether it would be paid by individual drivers but the question was not answered.
There are about 10,000 Uber drivers in Queensland, which means the fee could instantly generate more than $2.73 million for the government.
Uber is still assessing the announcement, made on Thursday afternoon.
Taxi Council Queensland chief executive officer Benjamin Wash accused the government of doing nothing to level the playing field.
Read More: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/queensland-uber-drivers-will-need-to-pay-200-in-annual-licence-fees-under-proposed-changes-20170309-guul0a.html