TCQ says Government needs to make passenger safety the priority

Media release
May 24, 2019

The charges last month against yet another booked-hire driver for allegedly sexually assaulting a young woman has the Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ) calling on the Queensland Government to pick up the pace of their Stage 3 review of the Personalised Transport reforms and do more to ensure the safety of Queensland passengers.

Last month, police charged a 25-year-old booked-hire driver alleging that he entered the home of his 21-year-old passenger after dropping her off and that he sexually assaulted her in her bedroom before she could fight him off with assistance from her housemates awoken during the commotion.

CEO of the TCQ, Blair Davies says “the Personalised Transport reforms have been rolling the dice when it comes to passenger safety with booked-hire vehicles and enough is enough.”

“There is clear evidence that booked-hire vehicles and their drivers are not as safe as the Government expected they would be, or as Queenslanders quite rightly demand them to be, and so the Government needs to act,” says Mr Davies, “and get its Transport Department to put reviewing safety in the Personalised Transport sector at the top of the list.

“We have been calling for better safety to be mandated for booked-hire vehicles for years now and yet little has happened, other than more passengers becoming the victims of predators. It’s now overtime for passengers’ safety to go to the top of the priority list. People may want choices and options but not when some of them come with a very real risk of danger.

“There are stark differences between the taxi industry and the booked-hire sector when it comes to our approach to safety issues. We were the ones who encouraged the Government to mandate security cameras in taxis in the mid 2000s because we wanted every Queensland taxi to be as safe as it possibly could for passengers and drivers. In contrast, the booked-hire sector looks at these types of safety technologies as costs they want to avoid.

“The TCQ has consistently highlighted the need for booked-hire vehicles to have mandatory safety equipment, because experience shows that relying on platforms to do the right thing voluntarily just doesn’t work,” Mr Davies said.

“We know security cameras, monitored duress alarms, and hard-wired GPS tracking have improved passenger and driver safety in taxis, so clearly these technologies would be effective solutions for booked-hire vehicles as well. We think the platforms know this too, but they just want to pretend that it is not their responsibility. However, safety is not something that overseas companies wanting to make profits in Australia should be allowed to get away with ignoring.

“The Queensland Government simply needs to say to the platforms, we trusted you and you let us and the community down. The ‘softly-softly’ approach hasn’t worked and so it’s now time to start implementing tougher measures,” added Mr Davies.