The personalised transport sector is embracing new technologies
and models. The most obvious illustration of this is Uber, who have
faced a significant struggle breaking in to the market. With over
700 fined issued since the crackdown in April, Queensland Premier
Annastacia Palaszczuk has now announced that ride-sharing services
will be legalized from 5 September 2016, allowing companies like
Uber to legally operate.
The new framework will be implemented progressively, and aimed
at levelling the playing field for taxis and Uber. Transport
Minister Stirling Hinchliffe framed the changes as 'innovation
done with fairness.' $100 million will be budgeted to support
the taxi industry through the spike in competition, acknowledging
that the taxi industry is unlike other industries facing
disruption, restricted by exhaustive Government regulation around
The $100 million adjustment package will attempt to usher in new
regulations in a way that compensates taxi drivers for the
additional competition. The incentive so far provides for:
$20,000 in one-off payments for taxi license holders, capped at
A $2.6 million hardship fund to allow disadvantages taxi
drivers to compete in the booked market;
$4.3 million in waived fees for taxi drivers over the next 12
$5.6 in incentives for wheelchair accessible taxis; and
$3.7 million in funds for business advisory support for
Booked transport drivers will require a booked service annual
license and authorization that will involve mandatory health and
criminal checks, and a vehicle with a current safety inspection -
limitations to which Uber drivers are already subject. All drivers
will be subject to an annual booking service license fee, which
will replace the taxi license renewal fee.
The regulations will take a two staged approach. From 5
September 2016, stage one will see taxis continue to have exclusive
access to hail and ranks markets. Fines for solicitation and
touting are set to double to $487. Maximum fares will be removed,
but will continue for taxis obtained at a rank hailed from the
street, or those providing wheelchair accessible services and Taxi
Subsidy Scheme members. Like Uber, taxis will be able to charge
surge pricing, although will see a hard hit on service fees which
will be capped at five percent. Customer service standards will be
heavily impacted with the removal of standards for dress of
drivers, cleanliness and comfort of vehicles, as well as minimum
age limits for drivers, English proficiency and electronic
payments. From November 1 2016, safety certificates will be valid
for 12 months and all fare estimates must be provided before the
journey, or agreed upfront.
Stage two will introduce a new chain of responsibility in
personalised transport services, with clear legal obligations to be
set out. Currently, taxis require a signed bailment agreement that
determination on whether bailment agreements will be retained in
2017. Additionally, the Government will consider whether security
cameras are required in all vehicles, and the relevant minimum
standards of security, and whether operators provide subsidized
services to Taxi Subsidy Scheme members. Finally, Compulsory Third
Party Insurance classes will be reviewed by the Motor Accident
The legalisation of ride-share services has been a controversial
issue across the board, with many people favouring Uber as a
cheaper alternative, providing a more streamlined service with
higher standards. The Government claims the introduction of blanket
regulations will bring improved services for taxis and Uber,
reduced waiting times and competitive fares as a result of industry
players competing on equal footing. Equal footing will allow for
consistency in safety and fair estimates, and will open the market
and create opportunities for new and existing participants to
respond to market changes and drive competition. However, public
response has been mixed, with those in favour of taxis suggesting
this is a way to subsidise Uber's entry to the market, making
taxpayers fund the changes. The Chief Executive Officer of the Taxi
Council was publically unimpressed with the announcement, which may
indicate the changes will continue to aggravate tensions between
taxis and Uber.
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