Media release
29 June, 2018

With the number of booked-hire vehicles in Brisbane more than triple the number of taxis, and the prospect of some very large new entrants about to launch, the Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) is calling on the State Government to urgently address problems for driver viability and road safety created by the oversupply of booked-hire services.

The surplus of booked-hire vehicles places a massive strain on the traffic flow system as they circle South East Queensland roads waiting and competing for their next fare. Under the pressure to make a living, booked-hire drivers are engaging in dangerous on-road manoeuvres, they’re stopping illegally to pick-up or set-down passengers where it is not safe to do so, and they are putting other road users at risk.

TCQ CEO, Blair Davies said the saturated personalised transport market was compromising the safety and efficiency of Queensland roads and degrading services for the community.

“With this flood of booked-hire drivers on the road, it’s become a dog-eat-dog environment. The Government flung open the doors and now public safety is being put at risk as too many booked hire drivers resort to cutting corners in order to make a living in such a competitive market,” said Mr Davies.

“We’re seeing more and more of these booked hire vehicles just adding to the congestion problem that already clogs our roads. The problem is exacerbated as these vehicles engage in dangerous parking manoeuvres, as well as by their passengers getting in and out of vehicles in unsafe locations.

“Everyone wants our roads to be safer and work more efficiently. The Government needs to step in to ensure all drivers in the personalised transport sector can remain viable.”

With booked-hire goliaths such as Ola, Taxify and DiDi following Uber into Queensland, Mr Davies says unchecked growth in supply will become a giant problem for all drivers in the personalised transport sector.

“One of the troubles with the Uber model is that they sign up as many drivers as they can get, but the demand for their service doesn’t grow at even nearly the same rate. The cake just keeps getting cut into smaller and smaller slices to the point where their drivers are cannot make a decent living,” he said.

“We know from our experience in the taxi industry that as times get tougher and tougher for drivers their discipline and attention to service and safety start to drop away. It is really no surprise that we are hearing more and more reports of Uber drivers taking passengers the long way, charging bogus soiling fees, and using other scams to rip-off customers.

“There are no winners in this sort of market other than the foreign platforms themselves. Drivers lose out as they’re always chasing the next fare rather than making money and getting ahead. The Queensland community loses out as well as everyone deals with greater congestion, unsafe driving, and the risk of being ripped off by desperate booked hire drivers.

“The Queensland Government should follow New York in considering a cap on the number of booked-hire vehicles operating on our roads as a means to mitigate congestion, improve passenger and other road users’ safety and ensure the viability of personalised transport sector drivers,” concludes Mr Davies.


Media release
22 June, 2018

“You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred. You cannot help the poor by destroying the right.” These words by Abraham Lincoln were shared by Don Roberson as an encouragement to all to as they look towards the future – as relevant today as when they were first uttered.

A mix of sorrow and appreciation fills the hearts of the Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) today as we farewell Don, a life member of the Council, who’s devotion to working to improve the taxi industry for owners, drivers and customers and 100 percent dedication to his role as President from 1976 to 1991, remains an inspiration to all. His efforts truly helped guide and soar the industry through both changing and challenging times.

Don joined in the taxi industry in 1964 with the purchase of his first license for a yellow EH Holden. Don was chairman of the Yellow Owners committee for many years and his outstanding service was recognised by TCQ through bestowal of its highest honour, a life membership in 1989. In his time as TCQ President, Don oversaw the development of policies and change that positioned the industry for growth and prosperity.

Don led the industry’s charge on a range of important matters, including examining Government legislation, promoting driver safety, improving standards of service and encouraging better driver-passenger relationships. He supported members through tough times including low fare takings and allegations of driver attacks on passengers and was a steady and reliable voice for the industry whenever needed.

Current TCQ President, Max McBride attributes much of the strength and progressiveness of the Queensland taxi industry today to Don’s leadership, guidance and devotion over 31 years in the industry.

“During his period as President, Don’s position was never challenged or questioned, and this is a clear testimony in the eyes of his peers to his approach to representing the owners and drivers in dealings with the Government and promoting the viability of our industry,” said Max McBride.

“Don’s commitment and love of the industry was evident to all and he has surely and deeply left a bright legacy behind.”

Outside of the industry, Don was a very family oriented man, married to his beautiful wife Rita for 65 years, and he is survived by his three children, nine grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.

Don enjoyed golfing, fishing and travelling in Australia, with one of his most memorable trips being a safari to the Gulf of Carpentaria with a group of friends, where he caught bream and crabs and enjoyed the incredible number of Australian tourists basking in what our amazing country has to offer.

The memory of Don’s commitment, life and light will live on with us. Thank you Don for everything you have done for the Taxi Council of Queensland, for the industry and for the community.



Media Release

Following the announcement of the Palaszczuk Government’s focus on the dangers of driver distraction and improving road safety for all Queenslanders, the Taxi of Council Queensland (TCQ) is calling for stronger action to deal with drivers in the personalised transport sector who use mobile phones while driving.

In 2017, 248 fatalities occurred on Queensland roads with 27 attributed to driver distraction such as the use of electronic and mobile devices while driving. These figures only reflect the worst-case scenarios and they don’t paint the full picture of the many pedestrians and road users injured by vehicles driven by distracted drivers.

Queensland taxis are equipped with purpose designed and built, high-tech mobile dispatch terminals (MDTs). MDTs are fixed in positions where they do not obstruct the driver’s vision and taxi drivers are trained in how to safely interact with MDTs without them causing distraction.

In comparison, booked-hire drivers rely solely on ordinary smartphones to receive jobs, find customers and interact with their platform provider. Booked ride drivers are consequently under enormous commercial pressure to interact with their phones, much of the time being while they are driving.

TCQ CEO, Blair Davies said the personal injuries and lives lost because of distracted drivers may be a reality but that doesn’t mean as a community we should be accepting it.

“It’s not OK to crash into someone because you were busy with your mobile phone,” said Mr Davies. “With the flood of booked-hire vehicles operating on Queensland roads, the problem of driver distraction is only going to get worse if the State Government doesn’t act and act quickly.

“While some booked-hire drivers may use hands free technology, more needs to be done by the Government to stop those who flout the laws and use mobile phones while driving. It’s time that we call out driver distraction from mobile phones for what it is, completely unacceptable and irresponsible risk taking resulting in Queenslanders needlessly dying or suffering serious injuries.”

It is illegal for any driver to use mobile devices in hand while the vehicle is in motion or stationary with the engine on, yet 75 per cent of Queensland drivers admit to doing so.

Mr Davies says a level playing field for all drivers in the personalised transport sector is key to ensuring passengers have access to safe and reliable transport. There should be zero tolerance for booked-hire drivers and taxi drivers misusing their mobile phones while driving.

“Safety is a top priority for the taxi industry,” said Mr Davies.

“Our purpose designed MDTs and the training we provide to taxi drivers to use them is our investment in our drivers’ and passengers’ safety.

“We have no issues with competitors that operate within the personalised transport sector, but they should be held to the same standards as taxis when public safety is at risk.

“There is always the opportunity for the sector to improve the safety of all Queenslanders on the road and TCQ will look to work closely with the State Government, QPS and regulators to ensure we have safer roads for all.”


14/05/2018 ABC NEWS | By Josh Robertson

An Uber driver says he has lodged a deprivation of liberty complaint with police, claiming he was forced to drive on a footpath after taxis blocked him from entering an inner Brisbane street.

The latest stoush between the taxi industry and ride-share operators emerged when vision of Max Foley’s unorthodox exit from Warner Street in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley party precinct hit social media on Sunday.

Mr Foley, 24, told the ABC he was blocked for up to 12 minutes by up to five taxi drivers after entering a private driveway to pick up a customer early on Sunday morning.

“I asked all of them to move, both out my window and asked the [taxi marshall] in the orange for them to move — they just scoffed at me and refused,” he said.

“They were making a lot of noise and recording it and I think my passenger was feeling a bit threatened.”

He’s got the shoe on the wrong foot’

But Queensland Taxi Council chief executive Blair Davies disputed Mr Foley’s account of the incident, saying it was a “convenient excuse” when the video clearly showed the driver was breaking road rules.

“This whole area is a taxi rank. The Uber driver, I don’t know what he was doing picking up a passenger in that space, but whatever it is he shouldn’t be driving down the footpath,” he said.

Mr Davies said a taxi marshall had been “clipped” by the Uber vehicle and had also lodged a complaint with police.

“If anyone’s the victim here, it’s the taxi industry and taxi people, and for the Uber driver to say that he’s the victim, well he’s got the shoe on the wrong foot,” Mr Davies said.

Mr Foley said the claim he made contact with anyone was “ridiculous” and he had driven down the footpath “at a crawl” after his customer agreed it was the best course.

Video obtained by the ABC shows Mr Foley asking his customer to “just hold up the phone and record them [the taxi drivers]”.

In the video, Mr Foley then said: “I think I’ll hook up here, to be honest, and just drive on the footpath.”

He said CCTV footage would back his version of events, which began when “very quickly three or four cabs purposely parked me in”.

“I was probably there for eight or 10 or 12 minutes, trying to get the taxis to move.”

Mr Foley said he had previously been subjected to hostile treatment from taxi drivers in the three and a half years he had been an Uber driver.

The taxi industry has voiced ongoing frustration at the encroachment of Uber on their livelihoods and the taxi council objected to the State Government’s move to make Uber a legal competitor to taxis in 2016.

“I have had taxi drivers key my car, purposely reverse into it, urinate on my tyre. It’s the behaviour that I get working for Uber in Fortitude Valley quite often,” Mr Foley said.

A spokesman for Queensland police said they were still investigating the incident.


Media release
4 May, 2018

​The Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) is challenging last month’s decision by Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads to grant Taxify Australia Pty Ltd (Taxify) a Booking Entity Authorisation (BEA), arguing there is a clear breach of the regulations and the decision opens the door for other booked-hired businesses to disregard any rules that they may not like .

The Government’s legislation makes it illegal for non-taxi operators to use the word ‘taxi’ or ‘cab’ in promotional materials or advertising unless a taxi is the vehicle providing the service. Taxify is a booked hire service and it does not dispatch trips to taxis.

TCQ CEO Blair Davies believes Taxify, which also trades as TAXIFY OU, is deliberately mocking the Government as well as the taxi industry.

“To dispatch taxis or booked hire vehicles in Queensland, the regulations require companies to be authorised BEAs. Taxify applied for BEA status using the name “TAXIFY OU’ which looks a lot like ‘Taxi F… You’,” said Mr Davies.

“The Transport Department should be making Taxify do what UberCab had to do back in 2010 when it wanted to start operating in San Francisco. It wasn’t allowed to use the word ‘cab’ in its name because it wasn’t dispatching trips to bona fide taxis and so it rebranded its operations as just Uber. Taxify needs to do the same.

“TCQ is not objecting to a new competitor entering the personalised transport market, we are simply asking the Government to hold everybody in the sector accountable to the rules that it created. If the Transport Department is going to allow one competitor to blatantly mock a regulation and disregard it, it opens the door for others to do the same.”

TCQ’s concerns about Taxify being given BEA status are not restricted to it illegally using the word ‘taxi’ in its name. In September last year, Taxify’s operations in London were shut down with reports suggesting the company had tried to operate without securing the necessary licenses.

“Taxify is yet another global behemoth that wants to make money in Queensland,” says Mr Davies. “The Government opened the door for them with its regulatory changes and so it now needs to step up to the challenge of keeping these companies from running amuck.

“TCQ is calling on the Government to say to Taxify and others like them that Queensland is a great place, but if you want to come here, you must play by our rules and if they don’t the Government needs to slam the brakes on them right from the get go.

“Granting BEA status to a foreign controlled company is like a license for them to make money out of Queenslanders. It’s a privilege and not a right.

“The Government can’t have the Transport Department handing out BEA status to companies that show they want to misrepresent the types of services they provide or that don’t take safety and other regulatory requirements seriously,” concludes Mr Davies.


Media release
27 April, 2018

The inundation of booked-hire vehicles on Brisbane and Gold Coast roads is resulting in mounting congestion and other traffic problems across CBD areas and inner city suburbs. Hundreds, and at times possibly thousands, of booked-hire vehicles are cruising around South East Queensland streets while waiting for their next fare, causing a massive strain on the traffic flow system.

The Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) is urging authorities to protect the safety of passengers and other road users by imposing stronger penalties on booked-hire vehicles that make dangerous manoeuvrers and stop to pick-up or set-down their clients illegally.

Booked-hire vehicles are not allowed to use taxi ranks under the Government’s new regulations because the space is too limited. Instead, booked-hired vehicles have access to more than 155 loading zones to pick up and drop off their passengers in the Brisbane CBD, so there is no reason for drivers to stop illegally, hold up traffic, or have passengers entering and exiting their vehicles in unsafe locations.

TCQ CEO, Blair Davies, says the unchecked growth and evidently negative impact of booked-hire vehicles on our roads is a “wake up call” for Government and has called for stronger enforcement by Police and Transport Department officers.

“Legalising booked-hire services has turned over our city streets to be run by people in the gig economy for their own profit at the expense of other road users,” said Mr Davies.

“Congestion is just the tip of the iceberg. Other unwanted consequences include dangerous parking manoeuvres and passengers getting in and out of vehicles in unsafe locations, both of which put passengers’ and other road users’ safety at greater risk.

“Passenger safety should always be put first and authorities need to do more to ensure booked hire drivers obey the law when operating on our roads.”

Booked-hired service, Uber, claims to have more than 11,000 drivers in Brisbane compared to the 3,100 taxis operating across the whole of Queensland. With booked-hire operators such as Ola and Taxify eyeing Brisbane as one of their next markets to enter, concerns of further traffic woes are imminent.

“The situation can surely only get worse as more operators enter the market,” predicts Mr Davies. “Brisbane should follow New York in considering a cap on the number of booked-hire vehicles operating on our roads as a means to mitigate congestion.

“While we welcome competition, more needs to be done by the Government to improve the safety and efficiency of Queensland roads. Everyone in the personalised transport sector should be held to the same standards as the taxi industry when passenger and public safety is at risk. The last thing we want is to see Queensland drivers and commuters lose out in the end as global operators pump more and more cars onto our roads,” concludes Mr Davies.


Media release
April 16, 2018

The Road Safety Manual for the Taxi Industry, developed by QUT’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) has just been released and aims to develop a standardised safe driving guide for taxi operators, owners and drivers.

The report is the result of months of work on the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) funded project called Reducing the Crash Involvement of Taxis in Queensland: Situational Analysis and Crash and Exposure Analyses.

The Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) and our members actively participated in the development of the Manual in a bid to help deliver a new, coordinated approach to driver safety and highlight the key hazards and risks affecting the industry.

TCQ CEO, Blair Davies, said the industry’s approach to safety has always been to push to higher standards.

“The safety of our operators, owners, drivers and passengers is of utmost importance and TCQ’s support of this manual reinforces this,” Mr Davies said.

“With some 3,200 taxis operating on Queensland roads 24/7, and moving up to 90 million people per year, improving safety in the taxi industry is a big deal.

“A standardised safety-related framework such as The Road Safety Manual for the Taxi Industry aims to provide the industry with a number of strategies that taxi operators and drivers can adopt to ensure a safer industry as a whole.”

CARRS-Q Senior researcher Amanda Evenhuis said the manual highlights some examples of the key hazards and risks facing the industry and provides some risk management ideas that could be adopted to make the industry safer.

“While our previous research found examples of initiatives to improve road safety within the Queensland taxi industry, an overarching coordinated, strategic approach was lacking,” Ms Evenhuis said.

“The most common factors associated with a higher risk of crashes for taxi drivers are gender (mostly men), age (25-49), driver distraction, vehicle condition, road conditions, organisational culture, high mileage and time pressure.

“Driver distraction or inattention has been found to be a contributing factor of 78 per cent of all crashes and 65 per cent of near crashes by taxi drivers and other drivers. Fatigue is another danger area that can impact on drivers’ mental and physical capacities.”

The Road Safety Manual for the Taxi Industry covers six main sections with a seventh revision process covering:

  • Systematic nature of work driving safety
  • Legislative obligations
  • Core safety elements
  • Steps towards improving driving safety of taxis
  • Post incident management and investigation
  • Continuous improvement
  • Reassess management of taxi industry risks

Each section provides a series of actions or questions taxi drivers, owners and operators can consider in a bid to help them understand the potential risks and formulate a management plan relevant to their own operations.

The Road Safety Manual for the Taxi Industry is available to download here.


Media release
28 March, 2018

With a recent report1 revealing UberX drivers earn less than the national minimal wage, the Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) has warned that booked-hire service drivers are clearly in danger of being exploited and says that more needs to be done to ensure the fair treatment of all drivers.

The study by The Australia Institute Centre for Future Work found that the average UberX wage in Australia equates to just $14.62 per hour, well below the national minimum wage of $18.29 per hour. This estimated figure is the drivers’ take home pay after deducting Uber’s fees, net taxes and vehicle maintenance costs from their hourly earnings.

TCQ CEO, Blair Davies, says these recent figures are “a wake-up call” to Government and has called for tighter protections to ensure booked-hire drivers are not exploited in Australia.

“With more than 50 per cent of booked-hire drivers relying on this work as their main source of income, it is simply not sustainable or ethical for them to continue to live and work under such poor conditions” said Mr Davies.

“There are clearly cases where booked-hire drivers are earning very little and paying for costs out of their own pocket in order to subsidise Uber’s financial losses. If one platform can get away with this type of practice, what’s to say other booked-hire service companies won’t follow suit? How long do we sit back and watch drivers being treated poorly in this way before we have a very serious social issue on our hands?”

The TCQ is concerned that “the driver” is becoming less and less of a concern within the booked-hire service industry, something that has been highlighted by Uber’s introduction of a driverless fleet in the US.

“Uber’s end-game is ultimately to cut drivers completely out of the picture. Its charging along with its driverless car program because it wants to be rid of having to give drivers a fair deal,” said Mr Davies. “It is a case of drivers not being a priority focus for the company and that’s why they are clearly not rushing to fix what is blatant exploitation.

“Taxi drivers typically split the income from the cab 50:50 with taxis operators, they’re the guys who own the taxi and pay for all its running costs. Booked-hire drivers in contrast are essentially funding their trips themselves. Couple this with the fact that booked-hire vehicles still don’t have any real security equipment to keep them, and their passengers safe, it has to be said they are getting a very raw deal!”

Uber deducts a 25 percent service fee from each fare** and introduced a 55 cent booking fee in 2016, where 50 cents is taken by Uber while the remaining five cents is left for the driver to pay the Australian Taxation Office as GST***.

Mr Davies says booked-hire drivers do not realise how much they are losing out and should instead explore alternative avenues.

“The taxi industry just wants to see a personalised transport sector where everyone gets a fair deal, both drivers and passengers. Booked-hire drivers have been complaining for years that that they just want a safe working environment and to have their services properly valued. Unless something is done about this soon, we will see booked-hire drivers emerge as a new underclass of the working poor.,” concluded Mr Davies.

Reference: 1. The Australia Institute Centre for Future Work – Innovation or Exploitation? Simulating Net Hourly Incomes of UberX Drivers. By Jim Stanford 6 March, 2018 Reference 2: Business Insider Australia – Australian Uber drivers say the company is manipulating their ratings to boost its fees. By Harry Tucker 20 May, 2016
Reference 3: The Daily Telegraph – ‘It’s a slap in the face’: Uber drivers label rise of minimum fee ‘minuscule’. By Edward Boyd 29 May, 2017 2:04PM