October 25, 2016
Queensland takes transport backwards while the rest of the world goes forward
Taxi Council Queensland (TCQ) has revealed that other countries are insisting that rideshare drivers are proficient in not only verbal but written English while the Queensland Government is lowering the standards.
TCQ chief executive officer Benjamin Wash referred to the decision by the London Transit Authority that “drivers of private hire vehicles must speak, listen to, read, and write English to a set level” as sensible regulation but said Uber in the UK opposed the move.
“The reality is that Uber and other rideshare companies across the world want no regulations because their business model is based on a race to the bottom.
Mr Wash said Reuters reported only last week that Uber was taking legal action against London’s insistence that their drivers know English.
“Instead of doing what other countries have done, and raising the bar to ensure rideshare meets the high standards expected of taxis, the Palaszczuk Government has lowered taxi standards and set the bar at the lowest point, ensuring even ‘Dodgy Brothers Rideshare’ can operate.
“The Government has put the interests of a foreign company that pays no local tax ahead of providing a high standard of service to Queenslanders.”
The Reuters report quoted the London transport operator TfL as saying, “Drivers must be able to communicate with passengers to discuss a route, or fare, as well as reading and understanding important regulatory, safety and travel information.”
This is not only sensible but essential according to Mr Wash, who pointed out that English language is only one of the ways in which the Government has lowered the bar.
“We must remember that at this stage there is basically no regulations for rideshare at all in Queensland; they can do as they like.
“If the Government truly believes that calling a transport service rideshare instead of taxi somehow ensures a long-term, high quality service without regulation, they are well and truly living in fantasy land.”
October 24, 2016
Uber is rideshare but rideshare is not Uber
Taxi Council Queensland (TCQ) has labelled the State Government “naive in the extreme” if they believe that their new rideshare regulation is about Uber, and has urged MPs and the media to look at the wider ramification of the new regulatory changes.
TCQ Chief Executive Officer Benjamin Wash said he was shocked to hear Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe recently say that rideshare was safe because people could see the picture of the driver on an app.
“It appears that they have made these changes under the assumption that it is about one foreign company. This is unprecedented.
“Surely they are aware that the legislation is far wider reaching and that now, anyone of any age and experience with any vehicle in any location can start a rideshare business whether they have an app or not.”
Mr Wash said the changes now make it legal for anyone to start transporting passengers with no consumer protection guidelines, no pricing boundaries and no service standards.
“This is what passenger transport has become, and many people have already started running their own dodgy services, putting people in danger with the full support of the Queensland Government.”
Mr Wash said even the media have fallen into the trap.
“Journalists ask me about Uber, but they must realise that Uber is one player and there will be others as well as many individuals. It’s a free-for-all.
“Who is going to take responsibility for the inevitable deaths, assaults, thefts and rip-offs that will occur under a system where anyone can do whatever they like?” he asked.
“The Government could have made rideshare legal by putting in place sensible safety based regulations, but instead they decided to eliminate all safety and service measures.
“There will be severe consequences.”
October 11, 2016
Taxi Council calls for urgent changes to rideshare regulations after alleged sex assault
Taxi Council Queensland (TCQ) says their continued warnings about the dangers of new rideshare regulations have unfortunately been proved correct following revelations on ‘A Current Affair’ that an 18-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted by an Uber driver.
TCQ Chief Executive Officer Benjamin Wash said it is vital that the Government, community and media note three very important points in the story that highlight the huge danger to consumers.
“The Uber driver turned the phone off and disabled the app; there was no camera in the car, preventing police from obtaining evidence; and the alleged victim had no one to contact and was forced to deal with someone in the Netherlands.”
Mr Wash said the taxi industry has warned of these exact risks numerous times but no one listened.
“We’ve said time and time again that rideshare vehicles are not properly GPS monitored – and this was shown when the driver simply turned off the phone and was off the grid.
“We’ve also said cameras are necessary for evidence, and we’ve explained that you can’t deal with an anonymous app managed by an overseas company when something goes wrong.
“We were ridiculed by some members of the media and organisations like the RACQ when we pointed these things out, but I’d invite those same people to speak to this young girl and tell her how safe rideshare is.”
He said it was time for the Government to wake up and make urgent changes to protect Queensland consumers.
“If there are still occasional incidents in taxis that have safety protection like cameras and GPS monitoring, how on earth can removing these measures make anything better?
“More young women will be raped and more people will be assaulted unless the State Government immediately takes its head out of the sand and amends these poorly drafted regulatory changes and increases protection in rideshare vehicles.”
Original ACA story - http://www.9news.com.au/national/2016/10/05/20/32/queensland-teenager-claims-uber-driver-sexually-assaulted-her
October 11, 2016
Taxi Council slams Government “race to bottom” approach
Taxi Council Queensland (TCQ) says taxi companies across the state still offer drivers high levels of training despite the State Government removing this requirement in its recent regulatory changes.
TCQ Chief Executive Officer Benjamin Wash says the Government’s changes were a poorly thought out attempt to level the playing field in order to accommodate rideshare, with the result being lower service standards and the removal of consumer protection.
He said rideshare companies don’t have to adhere to any standards and can “basically do what they like”.
“The taxi industry did not ask for and does not want lowering of standards.
“The big question is whether the Government will continue to allow rideshare vehicles to operate with no guidelines whatsoever, putting public safety at risk.”