With the Victorian election looming, there is a critical issue that has been overlooked by the major parties, the commercial passenger vehicle industry.
The industry has a ‘new’ regulator, Transport Safety Victoria, but this simple name change has failed to alleviate the systemic problems faced by drivers, operators and passengers.
As we enter the festive season, with spring shopping, Christmas and New Years, the Victorian public will rely on taxis, ride-sharing and rental cars more than ever. MP Rod Barton fears a small minority of drivers will continue to behave illegally and unethically, giving the whole industry a bad name.
Barton names who will win the November 26 electione to take concrete action and address the failures of the 2017 industry reforms. Fair and equitable compensation for taxi license owners must be introduced if the industry is to have a future.
Recently, New South Wales reflected on the suffering of taxi licensees and put more transition payments on the table. Although the package fell short of industry expectations, it remains a benchmark that nearly doubles the payouts to Victorian licensees.
The problems in Victoria don’t end there. There are serious things that need to be settled. Reports of aggressive and illegal solicitation are worse than ever, and taxi drivers refuse to turn on the meters in the row. The gig economy and the price-gouging ride-sharing model have seeped into the industry, acting as the gateway to new extortion, exploitation and unethical behavior.
Barton is urging major parties to make electoral commitments to conduct an independent review of the commercial passenger vehicle industry.
It is simply not plausible, feasible or fair that Australian taxi companies have one set of rules and regulations and that a San Francisco taxi company can operate to lesser safety standards. This is a lose-lose situation for Victorian passengers and the taxpayer.
The commercial passenger vehicle sector provides an essential service to Victorians. The major parties must rise to the challenge and come up with a viable plan for the future of the industry.
Quotes attributable to Metro East MP and Transport Matters Party Leader Rod Barton MP:
“This suffering in Victoria needs to be addressed because until we address it we cannot build a viable pathway.”
“I call on Labour, the Coalition and the Greens to commit to fair and equitable compensation for Victorian license holders and to conduct an independent review of the commercial passenger vehicle industry.”
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