Mount Tamborine local, Michael Smith, has been announced as the State’s Taxi Driver of the Year (Conventional Vehicle) in the prestigious Taxi Council of Queensland’s (TCQ) Industry Awards, held at the Easts Leagues Club on Wednesday 22 November 2017.
The 40 year veteran of the industry is renowned for offering fantastic service to each and every one of his customers, and doing his job with a smile and helpful nature every time.
He has received multiple commendations from the public and his peers, and also boasts a pristine driving record with no at-fault speeding or traffic infringements.
Michael Smith said he was originally attracted to work in the industry by the flexible hours and the ability to be his own boss, however his passion for his customers has kept him here.
“From business people to the elderly and everyone in between, I love getting to know the people who step into my cab,” he said.
“You can get of pretty good idea of anyone’s life story after half an hour of chatting.
“I always make an effort to make my customers feel a little bit special, even if it’s simply by hopping out of the car to open their door for them.”
In addition, Michael participates in the Yellow Cabs Ambassador program and plays an ongoing hands-on role as a mentor for new drivers.
“I think every new driver should have a mentor that they can call on to assist with answering the questions that only come to mind once they start driving.
“Some new drivers have mates in the industry, but others have no one to ask.” Mr Smith said.
TCQ CEO, Blair Davies, congratulated Michael on winning his award and on the outstanding contribution he continues to make to the industry.
“We need our experienced taxi drivers like Michael helping new drivers to learn the ropes because better drivers mean better service to our customers. In the end, everyone wins with better service because it’s one of the keys to seeing more fares, more often for every driver,” said Mr Davies.
Full list of 2017 Taxi Council Queensland Industry Awards is as follows:
Taxi Council of Queensland Inc.
August 23, 2017
Failure to report attacks a cause for concern
The Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) has expressed alarm about recent news from the United Kingdom that indicates Uber has failed its duty in reporting sex attacks committed by its drivers.
The Telegraph newspaper reported that London's Metropolitan Police was seriously concerned that the company was cherry-picking what incidents it reported to the police in order to protect its public image.
The Telegraph article quotes Inspector Neil Billany, head of the Metropolitan Police's taxi and private hire unit, saying he had "significant concerns" about Uber’s behaviour and he believed that Uber were only notifying police of “less serious matters” that would be “less damaging to its reputation”.
Among the list of serious crimes that the company allegedly failed to report to police were a string of sexual assaults, two suspected public order offences, and one very serious incident in which a driver produced pepper spray during a road rage argument.
Given the recent spate of Uber drivers being charged with sexual and other offences in Queensland, it begs the question as to whether there may be more incidents coming to light in the future.
TCQ chief executive officer Blair Davies is particularly concerned that we may have only seen the tip of the iceberg.
“In the last month we have had three Uber drivers charged with very serious offences and the Premier’s only response has been to say Uber “needs to start accepting responsibility,” Mr Davies said.
“This is to the same company that was outed for pulling the wool over the Government’s eyes using its “Greyball” app enhancement, and now outed for irresponsible behaviour in relation to reporting crimes by its drivers in the UK.
“If anyone has to start accepting responsibility for the lack of safeguards protecting vulnerable members of the community using booked hire services, first and foremost it should be the Queensland Government.”
Taxi Council of Queensland Inc.
August 9, 2017
How many Uber victims before the Government acts?
The latest alleged sexual assault involving an Uber driver in Brisbane provides further cause for the State Government to rethink its position on the safety of booked hire services, according to the Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ).
TCQ CEO Blair Davies said the evidence keeps mounting for the Government to mandate security cameras in booked hire vehicles.
“The proof is compelling; these services are not as safe as the Government thought. This is sadly becoming just too common an event in Brisbane and it’s also likely to be a problem elsewhere in the state.
“How many more young female victims do there need to be before this Government does something?”
Sexual assault (rape) charges were recently laid against two other Uber drivers in Brisbane, and Mr Davies has questioned whether these alleged incidents would have happened if security cameras were in those vehicles.
He said while booked hire drivers must have criminal background checks like taxi drivers, these checks only provide half of the solution.
“Checks stop convicted predators driving taxis and booked hire vehicles, but what about predators who have never been caught?
“If a sexual predator hasn’t been caught or charged with an offence, they won’t be red flagged. Security cameras complement criminal history checks and provide the extra level of protection needed to deter anyone without a record using a taxi or booked hire vehicle for criminal behaviour.
“Since 2005, taxi passengers and drivers have been safer because of security cameras being mandatory in Queensland taxis. It’s now time for the Government to step in and make them mandatory in booked hire vehicles as well.”
Taxi Council of Queensland Inc.
July 11, 2017
Taxi travel information for State of Origin fans
Taxi Council Queensland (TCQ) is urging State of Origin fans to be patient when catching cabs tonight due to the expected exceptional demand for taxis for the blockbuster at Suncorp Stadium.
In anticipation of a capacity crowd to cheer on the Maroons, a secure taxi rank will operate on Castlemaine Street outside the YMCA from 9:30pm-12:30am.
After the game, customers booking taxis by phone or via the Yellow or Black & White Cabs smartphone apps should arrange to be picked up away from the Stadium due to limited access caused by traffic congestion on Milton Road, Castlemaine Street and Caxton Street.
Taxis will be available at the rank outside Hotel LA on Petrie Terrace when the street is reopened to traffic.
There will be a dedicated disabled pick-up/drop off zone near the Wally Lewis statue in the forecourt on Given Terrace/Caxton Street. TCQ reminds customers no abled passengers will be picked up from disabled zones.
Fans continuing their post-match celebrations will be able to catch taxis at a secure rank outside the Treasury Building in George Street.