Taxi industry pushes for tougher scrutiny on new entrants

Media release
31 August 2018

A recent report of a passenger murdered by a DiDi driver in China has raised serious concerns from the Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ), demanding the Queensland Government take a more comprehensive look at how booked-hire platforms perform overseas before allowing them to enter the Queensland market.

TCQ is urging the State Government to act before it’s too late and critically review its role as a protector of public safety in the personalised transport sector as the Chinese booked-hire platform considers further expansion in Australia.

TCQ CEO, Blair Davies, says it is not an anti-competition position the Council holds, but a view that the Government has a crucial role to play in regulating to keep passengers and drivers safe in the personalised transport sector.

“We’ve heard it time and time again, booked-hired drivers being involved in unsavoury, predatory situations endangering passengers and other road users, and yet there has been no serious response from the Department of Transport to critically review the impacts and criteria on allowing these platforms to enter our market,” said Mr Davies.

“The Queensland Government needs to seriously up its game particularly in regard to the international platforms entering and operating in Queensland or they will run the risk of more dangerous, unsafe incidences occurring on our streets.

“How these platforms operate overseas is literally a window to how they will operate in Queensland.  When their safety plans and procedures fail passengers overseas, they are just as likely to fail vulnerable Queenslanders.

“We won’t stand back and watch more passengers suffer from the lack of security in booked-hire vehicles because some politicians and bureaucrats want to tell us the community needs more choice and it doesn’t matter if that comes at the expense of public safety. Nobody needs more choice when that means putting some vulnerable members of the Queensland community at unnecessary risk of becoming the victims of heinous crimes.

“As DiDi eyes further expansion across Australia, it’s never been more vital to look at their track record overseas to consider the impact it could have on Queensland passengers and roads.”

With booked-hire services’ safety standards and measures barely existent in comparison to Queensland taxis, Mr Davies says the Queensland Government can’t continue to jeopardise the safety of Queenslanders for the profit of global platforms.

“This latest incident in China is just yet another example of the gaping discrepancies between the booked-hire services and taxis. These operators are taking short-cuts instead of concrete steps to vet their drivers and put proper safety measures in place,” he continues.

“We urge the State Government to see the incident in China as a wakeup call and make a stronger commitment to protect the safety of our passengers and drivers. They need to place these platforms under stricter scrutiny, otherwise I fear we could be hearing of more tragedies like the ones reported in China, right here in Queensland,” concludes Mr Davies.