8:30am - 11:00am
Taxi Council of Queensland
29 May 2015 , 9:53 AM by Gemma Snowdon
The stoush between taxi companies and ridesharing company Uber continues.
Yesterday I spoke with the Deputy Premier and Minister for Transport, Jackie Trad, about what she intends to do about the ongoing saga.
Uber said they've only had one meeting with the Minister for Transport, Deputy Premier Jackie Trad.
Benjamin Wash is the CEO of Taxi Council Queensland.
Uber has launched a full scale attack on the taxi industry writing to every Queensland MP to argue the case for change. Peter Doherty reports.
Uber fights for survival in Qld | 7News - Yahoo Screen
• JESSICA MARSZALEK
• THE COURIER-MAIL
• MAY 26, 2015 12:00AM
Uber threatens legal action against taxes
UBER has slammed the Palaszczuk Government for siding with the taxi industry over passengers, saying it could create 4000 new jobs in a year if the Government would only let it.
In a 44-page document delivered to every state MP, the company says the Government lacks courage to take on the protected taxi monopoly, forcing people to “accept poor service without any prospect of relief”.
“The lack of courage or willingness to tackle the perceived political power of the taxi industry, its lobby groups and a small group of wealthy taxi-plate investors must be investigated,” it says.
More than 100,000 people have taken an Uber trip and 2000 drivers have signed up since the company’s launch in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast a year ago.
Passengers use a mobile app to request a car, track it, and pay automatically through their account when they’re dropped off. There is no meter, cars can’t be flagged or booked in advance and cash is not accepted, with drivers using their own personal cars.
Uber says the Government has refused to discuss Queensland’s Taxi Strategic Plan, which expires this year. Pic: Tara Croser.
Despite Queensland’s Taxi Strategic Plan expiring this year, Uber says the Department of Transport and Main Roads has so far refused to discuss reform, are fining its drivers and clearly want it to close down.
“Axing the jobs of 2000 Queenslanders and denying a further 4000 people a job over the next 12 months is not a ¬rational approach to policy making,” the submission says.
Uber’s director of public policy for Australia and New Zealand, Brad Kitschke, said they wanted to create jobs.
“All we’re asking for is permission,” he said.
“The regulatory framework is supposed to be there to protect consumers, not to protect an incumbent industry and cement a monopoly.
“Uber would not be popular if people didn’t want it.”
The submission lays out a proposal for regulation to cover rideshare apps, with Uber rejecting the Government’s position that its drivers are covered by taxi laws.
“It’s like saying public transport is competing with taxi ¬services and therefore need the same regulatory treatment,” he said.
It suggests drivers apply for a government permit, pay an annual fee, be licenced under reasonable terms, have mandatory insurance, face vehicle checks and be banned from drugs, alcohol and discriminating against passengers.
The submission follows comments by Treasurer Joe Hockey last week when he urged state governments to look at potentially outdated regulation around taxis in light of ridesharing.
Australian Competition and Consumer head Rod Simms has also previously urged governments to drop expensive taxi regulation, saying it is not the job of governments to protect established industries.
But Taxi Council chief Benjamin Wash said anyone wanting to enter the market should meet the current requirements.
— additional reporting by Tom Snowdon
Date May 26, 2015 - 3:53PM
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said she is aiming for a "level playing field" as ride share company Uber continues to duke it out with the Queensland Taxi Council.
The state's taxi strategy, set down in 2010, is due to expire this year.
Uber has stepped up its campaign pushing against what it calls the taxi industry's monopoly, writing a 44-page letter to each of Queensland's 89 MPs asking the government to "enter into meaningful conversations about reform and recognise ridesharing as a new and distinct form of point-to-point transport that requires a new regulatory approach".
The state's Taxi Council, meanwhile, has accused Uber of attempting to "bully" its way into the marketplace with an unfair advantage.
Uber argues it is not a taxi service, merely connecting passengers with drivers and therefore should not be subject to the same regulations as the taxies.
The taxi industry argues just as hard that they are required to fork out thousands of dollars because of those regulation requirements and Uber drivers are doing the same job, without paying the piper.
Both sides are calling on the government to do something.
Ms Trad said she was trying to.
"I have already met with Uber," she said, adding it was six weeks ago.
"We had a discussion. I had a discussion with the taxi industry council, as I said before the Palaszczuk-Labor Government has an open door policy.
"I am very happy to meet with Uber and the Taxi Council to discuss the issues they have in terms of regulation with the industry.
"But can I just say that the taxi strategy for Queensland expires this year and we have been having conversations in that context.
"We understand that the world is changing, but we also understand that a lot of mums and dads have made significant investments, in terms of their taxi licences, and that needs to be respected.
"I am happy and willing to be talking to everyone in the industry to make sure the playing field is fair, that passenger safety first and fundamentally is forefront and centre and as I said, I am looking forward to talking to them."
Ms Trad said the solution could be found in "compromise", but that it was a work in progress.
"There are a number of issues to deal with the regulation of drivers, criminal history checks and daily reporting which occurs in the regulated taxi industry," she said.
"I have expressed to Uber my concerns in relation to this and I am happy to keep talking to them, but let me be clear.
"The Palaszczuk-Labor Government made a commitment at the election that we would work with everyone in the industry to make sure that the investments that mum and dad's have put into taxi licences are respected and secure and to make sure that passenger safety is of paramount concern when we look at other options operating within the taxi industry."
The issue continues to dog the government, with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk put on the spot by a local taxi driver during her cabinet's recent visit to the central-Queensland town of Rockhampton.