The Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) is pleased that taxis can continue to provide much-needed services to people with disabilities following the Government’s decision to reinstate the Taxi Subsidy Scheme (TSS).
The scheme will now be staying in place at least to mid-2019.
“The Government’s transitioning of TSS recipients to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) risked leaving many people with disability stranded without funding for essential transport,” said TCQ CEO Blair Davies.
“Putting TSS funding into the NDIS may have looked like a reasonable idea at the time, but its implementation was proving to be a disaster for many people who cannot access other forms of public transport due to disability.
“This is a win for common sense and the hard work put in by disability advocates like John Mayo from Spinal Life Australia, as well as TCQ. We saw the problem as it began emerging, and then worked together to fix it."
The TSS provides a 50 per cent subsidy capped at $25 per taxi trip.
“There are almost 54,000 TSS members in Queensland and that’s a lot of people who will continue to benefit from affordable personal transportation.
“Our industry has a proud history of providing services to people with disability. It hasn’t been easy building that capacity and there’s always room for further improvement, however, we should never lose sight of how far we’ve come.
“Taxis are integral to the fabric of communities right across Queensland and our services to people with disability are just one example of our commitment to helping ensure no one gets left behind.”
Members are being encouraged to make plans now to attend the Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) annual conference.
The conference will be held at the Mackay Entertainment & Convention Centre from August 28 through September 2, 2017.
TCQ’s yearly gathering is set to hear from industry experts, stakeholders and guest speakers who will cover a range of issues that are critically important to the industry.
“Registrations are progressing well, so we suggest members consider confirming their plans to be there now rather than waiting until the last minute,” said TCQ CEO Blair Davies.
“The conference will consist of an extended three-day program, so there will definitely be something for everyone.”
Mr Davies said it will also be an opportunity for those coming from other parts of Queensland to explore and enjoy the Mackay region.
“We have put together a vast array of social programs for members, including tours to the wonderful tourist attractions that the region has to offer.
“Conference delegates and our partners will have access to special rates and packages.”
Mr Davies said as the conference will follow TCQ’s annual general meeting scheduled for August 15, there will undoubtedly be business issues to discuss in more detail.
A Brisbane taxi driver has been commended for his honesty and integrity as he took it upon himself to track down a member of the public and return to them a lost bag containing $6,000.
This comes after weeks of misconduct by Brisbane’s ride-booking drivers towards their passengers.
Last month, Atambeer Singh spotted the bag sitting atop of another vehicle and retrieved it after it had slid off the roof into the middle of a busy intersection.
He tried everything before finally turning to social media to return the bag to its very grateful owner.
Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) CEO Blair Davies was full of praise for Mr Singh’s actions and his commitment to helping a complete stranger.
“Here we have a local taxi driver going above and beyond to do the right thing and help someone out,” said Mr Davies.
“This is the type of conduct we expect of all Queensland taxi drivers and Atambeer’s actions epitomizes our industry’s core values of professionalism and honesty.”
“It’s just another great example of the outstanding service that Queensland taxi drivers aim to deliver for all members of the community.
Taxi licence buy backs have to be an option that is always on the table according to Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) chief executive officer, Blair Davies.
“We want our members to know that we are open to the State Government reacquiring the taxi licences they sold to the industry, but only if are willing to do so on what section 51 of the Constitution would consider as being on just terms,” he said.
“Most Australians understand and support the concept of on just terms as popularised in the movie, The Castle. For the Queensland Government, it means buying back licences at their fair market value immediately prior to the arrival of illegal ride-sourcing services in April 2014.”
“It would be a moral outrage to the concept if the Government sought to take advantage of lower market values that have resulted from the Government’s inability to enforce its own laws, and more recently, its creation of unlevel regulations that unfairly favour ride-booking services.”
“If the Government wants to buy back taxi licences say in Brisbane then they need to be looking at offering a figure north of $500,000 per licence.
"That might seem like a lot of money to an ordinary bloke in the street but it has to be remembered that taxi licences over the decades have typically been bought and sold for prices around the prevailing median house prices.”
Mr Davies said that TCQ was very concerned about the downward trend in taxi licence values and the impact that that is having on the thousands of mum and dad businesses that own those licences.
“TCQ has always stood up for taxi licence owners and our new team plans to redouble our efforts to put the stops on any Government that wants to disrespect them,” he said.
Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) is reminding members that applications are now open for the Taxi and Limousine Business Advisory Services Grants Program (BAS Grant).
Taxi and limousine licence holders and operators can apply for grants of up to $5,000 to obtain professional advice on transitioning to the new regulatory framework for personalised transport.
“Successful applicants can use the money to get professional help on business, operational and strategic planning, financial advice, and legal assistance,” said TCQ chief executive officer Blair Davies.
“To be eligible, license holders or operators must meet certain criteria including either holding a taxi or limousine licence or be a taxi or limousine operator, be a registered business, and be a Queensland resident or Queensland business.”
In addition to meeting the eligibility criteria, applicants will also be considered by the extent to which they’ve been impacted by increased competition due to booked-hire services and the degree of personal financial investment in their licence or operation.
Applications close on July 25, 2017.
For TCQ’s BAS grant assistance registration, visit http://www.tcq.org.au/bas-grant-assistance-registration.html
For further information and to apply for the BAS Grants, visit www.business.qld.gov.au/bas-grants
The Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) continues to strongly advocate for security cameras to be used in all booked-hire services to further increase the security and safety of passengers and drivers.
It comes after an Uber driver was recently charged with assaulting a female passenger he had picked up in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley nightclub precinct.
“The Queensland public deserves the highest safety standards possible for the transport industry and security cameras are vital to help preventing incidents such as this happening”, TCQ Chief Executive Officer Blair Davies said.
While taxis are currently required to have security cameras installed, booked-hire service vehicles don’t require any such security measures under existing regulations.
“Opponents may argue about the extra cost involved but you just can’t put a price on safety.”
Mr Davies understands why a permanent camera may appear unsuitable for some booked-hire service drivers as they use their vehicles in their private lives, but stressed that passengers and drivers will continue to be at risk until mandatory security cameras in vehicles become standard.
“The cameras in booked-hire vehicles do not have to be the same as those in taxis. The technology exists for cheaper cameras that can be in use only when the drivers are using the booked-hire app.
“Even these would greatly increase security and safety for passengers and drivers alike.”
Taxi Council Queensland (TCQ) is renewing its push for anti-tamper GPS units to be fitted to all vehicles in the personalised transport sector.
TCQ president Max McBride said GPS units are already in taxis, but not in other services.
“Booked-hire services use GPS units to locate their customers and drivers, but the units can be easily taken offline which can lead to personal safety issues.
“There have been many reports of personalised transport drivers turning off their GPS units so they can’t be tracked, but that makes it risky for people who choose to use a service other than taxis.
“For everyone’s protection, all vehicles should have anti-tamper GPS units hard wired into them.”
Mr McBride said the units also have other benefits such as an owner of a stolen vehicle being able to track it down, even if it has been burnt out.
“That has happened in the taxi industry, so there’s no reason to believe it won’t happen to all forms of personalised transport at some point.”
The issue of installing commercial grade, anti-tamper GPS units in all personalised transport vehicles is one of the 20 key points that make up TCQ’s campaign to bring common sense back to the sector.
For more information, please visit www.commonsensetransport.com.au
Taxi Council Queensland (TCQ) says an alleged sexual assault involving a booked-hire service driver should prompt the State Government to expedite the introduction of security cameras in all personalised transport sector vehicles.
A 47-year old uber driver has been charged with allegedly assaulting a 20-year female passenger he had picked up in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley nightclub precinct.
Police are investigating whether there are other victims of similar assaults.
“We need to be raising safety standards to prevent incidents like this from happening,” said TCQ president Max McBride.
“While it’s mandatory for taxis to have security cameras in them, booked-hire service vehicles don’t require them and unfortunately this latest incident highlights why cameras are necessary.”
Mr McBride said security cameras help protect the safety of both customers and drivers.
“Booked-hire services claim security cameras are too expensive to install in their vehicles, but at what point does cost outweigh people’s safety?
“We’ve issued this warning several times yet politicians are still not listening.”
More evidence has surfaced of the flawed business model adopted by booked-hire services, says Taxi Council Queensland (TCQ).
A recent news article reported that a Queensland journalist suspected his uber account had been hijacked and was being charged fees around the world, but when he tried to contact the booked-hire service to resolve the issue he couldn’t reach a real person.
“Emails and tweets over a 24-hour period got no response, yet his account reportedly continued to be charged,” said TCQ president Max McBride.
“He was forced to use his professional contacts to call uber’s publicity officer directly to get action, and that is unacceptable.”
Mr McBride said booked-hire services collect a large amount of data about their customers and data breaches such as this are common.
“This is another reminder that booked-hire services need to be kept more accountable and further enforcement is required to ensure they are providing and maintaining the high standard the public deserves.”
Establishing an independent Personalised Transport Commission with the power to enforce regulatory conditions is essential for the personalised transport sector.