Taxi Talk August 2015


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Taxi Talk magazine August 2015 edition

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TAXI TALK August 2015 ISSUE NO 567 TAXI VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY MAGAZINE Official journal of the Victorian Taxi Association Print Post Approved number 100004912 will g photo n n i n n i Aw “ nt i a mome capture convey the d time an at moment of th essence iewer.” to the v e p Rex Du ain, Jud g SEE MY WORLD Enter a photo which captures the competition theme See My World and be in the running to win some amazing prizes! By entering you will be supporting Macular Disease Foundation Australia in raising awareness of macular disease, Australia’s leading cause of blindness and severe vision loss and includes diabetic eye disease and macular degeneration. Entries close 8 September 2015. Visit for details.


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INSIDE... 4 8 10 18 20 22 28 Victorian Taxi Association editorial Maintain the good service you provide. TAXI VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY MAGAZINE OFFICIAL JOURNAL OF THE VICTORIAN TAXI ASSOCIATION MAGAZINE EDITOR ........................ Toni F. Peters VTA EDITOR ....................................David Samuel FOUNDER ....................................Stanley F. White PUBLISHER ..................Trade Promotions Pty Ltd Victorian Taxi Conference Delivery the Right Message. Register today. ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES Trade Promotions Pty Ltd 42 Grenfell Road, Mt Waverley VIC 3149 PO Box 2345, Mt Waverley VIC 3149 Phone: ............................................. 03 9807 0237 Email: ................................... Website: ................................ Regulating ride hailing The VTA perspective on this hot topic. DISPLAY ADVERTISEMENTS Taxi and Hire Car Statistics Monthly Victorian licence and driver statistics for taxis and hire cars. All copy, editorial and artwork must be in by the 15th of the month prior to publication date. Advertisement sizes and rates can be viewed at SUBSCRIPTION DETAILS Stress and mindfulness Use mindfulness to improve memory, boost the immune system and easier to fall asleep. 1 year = $35 CLASSIFIED ADVERTISEMENTS $30 for 35 words, $60 for 70 words, etc. Email or Mail your classified advertisement by the 15th of the month prior to publication date, together with your payment. Taxi Services Commission Updates on government issues effecting the Victorian taxi and hire car industry. PAYMENT OPTIONS • • • Via PAYPAL to Direct Deposit to BSB 033065 A/c 312786 Mail Cheque to Trade Promotions Pty Ltd PO Box 2345, Mt Waverley VIC 3149 Legal News Are you able to challenge a will? July Competition Winners A. Muhammad, L. Arachige, M. Pollock Congratulations to all winners Phone: 03 9676 2635................ Fax: 03 9676 2643 PRESIDENT .................................... Kevin Gange VICE PRESIDENT ................. Stephen Armstrong CHIEF EXECUTIVE ....................... David Samuel Taxi Talk magazine, a monthly publication for the Victorian taxi industry, is published by Trade Promotions Pty Ltd in collaboration with the Victorian Taxi Association Inc (VTA). The VTA is the peak industry body in Victoria, fostering the interests and wellbeing of taxi-cab drivers, taxi-cab permit holders and Taxi Booking Services across the state. Taxi Talk magazine is wholly owned by Trade Promotions Pty Ltd. COPYRIGHT © Trade Promotions Pty Ltd 2014. All rights reserved. The “Taxi Talk – Voice of the taxi industry” heading and logos are trademarks of Stanley F. White. Copyright of articles and photographs of Taxi Talk magazine remain with the individual contributors and may not be reproduced without permission. Views expressed in any article in Taxi Talk are those of the individual contributor and not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher cannot accept any responsibility for any opinions, information, errors or omissions in this publication. To the extent permitted by law, the publisher will not be liable for any damages including special, exemplary, punitive or consequential damages (including but not limited to economic loss or loss of profit or revenue or loss of opportunity) or indirect loss or damage of any kind arising from the contract, tort or otherwise, even if advised of the possibility of such loss of profits or damage. Advertisements must comply with the relevant provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Responsibility for compliance with the Act rests with the person, company or advertising agency submitting the advertisement. Taxi Talk has agreed to advertise taxi clubs because those clubs have stated that they and their products comply with all applicable laws and regulations relating to insurance for taxi operators. Neither Taxi Talk nor VTA has independently verified these taxi clubs’ compliance, and they give no warranty and make no representation as to whether the taxi clubs are compliant. Operators should satisfy themselves as to a taxi club’s compliance with laws and regulations through their own enquiries. These advertisements do not constitute recommendations by Taxi Talk or VTA that operators purchase insurance products from taxi clubs. Neither Taxi Talk nor VTA accept any liability or responsibility for any loss or damage suffered or incurred by any operator because a taxi club or its product or service is non-compliant. Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry August 2015 |3


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GOOD SERVICE maintain the you provide I 4 | August 2015 can honestly say that as long as I have been a part of this industry (about 7 years) I have really not known a prolonged time of calm and stability. Having said this, I have also never seen the tension and concern that has defined the last six months, particularly the last three.


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I said many times during the Victorian Taxi Industry Inquiry that I was proud to represent the taxi industry in Victoria because of the way it conducted itself during a time of adversity. My resolve, and the resolve of the VTA, to do what we can to stand behind this industry has only strengthened tenfold since then. Why? Because this situation is rubbish! We are effectively being asked to play a game against an opposition playing by completely different rules – they choose how to play and when they score. Our terms of engagement on the other hand are tightly controlled and very specific – our goal posts are much closer together and our accuracy is heavily checked and scrutinised by officials charged with that responsibility. So what is our opponent’s argument? It’s all ok because we are simply playing a different game. It just happens to be for the same trophy (or customers), on the same field at the same time. What has once again pleased me is the ability of our industry in Victoria not to get sucked into an inappropriate and self-defeating response as we have seen in other places. In Western Australia, for example, drivers went on strike blocking access to parts of the city. We all understand and sympathise with why they acted this way, but ultimately it is completely counter-productive. Uber’s subscription rate went through the roof while customers can’t access taxis. Meanwhile the public commentary about the strike was almost all negative towards the industry and the Western Australian Government’s position has not moved as a result. As I say, I do not intend to criticise the Western Australian taxi drivers - they did what they thought necessary, but ultimately this form of protest is ineffective in this context against this type of threat. I am of the firm view that when making decisions of this nature a clear line needs be drawn in relation to motivation. Are you doing it to make yourself feel better or achieve an outcome? Unfortunately, often making oneself feel better will not produce a tangible outcome and can often have the opposite effect, as in this case. In Victoria, the Minister has put a process in place to try and resolve this issue. Obviously, people’s views on Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry David Samuel VTA CEO how the Government have performed in this respect will be largely determined by the outcome of that process but it is vital that we allow it to run its course without disruption. In places, like Paris, where there have been fiery protests, much of the frustration has stemmed from the Government not doing what our Government is doing, which is seriously considering this matter and attempting to come up with a sustainable and effective set of rules. In the meantime, we will do what we can to encourage the Taxi Services Commission, and others, to enforce the law and hold all to account. It is vital during this difficult period that we remember our industry is still the biggest provider of point-to-point transport services in Victoria, by a big margin - even Uber’s commentary confirms this. We must use our position to retain and encourage new patronage, and wherever possible, limit the impact of this illegitimate and illegal product on the businesses of honest hard working people. At the VTA we have the utmost confidence in the service you provide. It is safer, more accessible and is as affordable as any competitor that is required to play by the same rules and pay the same compliance costs. At the end of the day, demand for point-to-point transport services is not declining, it’s growing. Most of that is due to the great work done by our industry. I know how hard many are doing it because I hear about it and see it every day, but I also know once the field is levelled it will be your business that succeeds not the poorer imitation. D August 2015 |5


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Vic taxi conference REGISTER TODAY This year’s VTA Conference will provide opportunities to network, reconnect with fellow industry participants and hear the latest on the developments in the Victorian taxi industry. The two day event will bring together authorised network service providers, small and large fleet operators and licence owners from across the state, along with key industry suppliers in a professional and collegiate environment. The Business Program will address the pivotal issues facing the taxi industry, featuring two days of speakers, industry experts and government leaders. We are developing a program which delegates will find both stimulating and relevant, with a mix of operational and policy information. The Conference Dinner on Tuesday evening will be held onsite in the hotel’s exclusive reception area and will be an opportunity for guests to relax and socialise. Speakers and entertainment are sure to make for an enjoyable night. Registrations are now open! Visit the VTA website for registration and further details at D Want to be kept up to date with the latest industry news as it happens? No time to sit in front of a computer to catch up on what is going on? Sign up for the VTA’s new SMS alerts to hear about industry news and developments as they happen. The VTA would like to thank MessageMedia who are kindly supporting our efforts to communicate with everyone in the taxi industry. 8 | August 2015 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry


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Regulating ride hailing VTA PERSPECTIVE The VTA has been actively engaged in a series of meetings of a sub-committee established by the Transport Minister’s industry forum to consider a response to the emergence of illegal ride hailing products. As part of this process the VTA has developed a policy paper which plainly presents the VTA views on an appropriate approach to regulating ride hailing services which covers all key areas of commercial passenger vehicle regulation from licensing to fares. Below is an excerpt from the introduction of the paper. To view the full document visit www. and click on Policy Paper. In determining how ride hail services should be regulated the first issue that must be addressed is why any new laws, regulations or licencing arrangements are required when there are already rules in place that regulate the provision of commercial passenger vehicle services. Ride hailing is a commercial activity. It does not satisfy the definition of car-pooling as currently defined in Sections 86 and 87 of The Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 (the Act). Firstly, because the travel is not ‘incidental’ to the driver’s journey (in fact it is the sole purpose of the journey), and secondly, because both the driver and the app provider are profiting from the passenger’s travel. Victorian laws and regulations must address the emergence of the ‘electronic hail’. The emergence of this type of product has meant the distinction between hail and prebooked work has been significantly blurred. The legislation needs to embrace and define the term electronic hail, as distinct from a prebooking or a street hail/rank hail. Importantly ride hail does not constitute a pre-booking. Ride hail services, like Uber X, do not permit advanced bookings like taxi and hire car industry booking systems. It is limited to ‘ready to ride’ services. This is important for a number of reasons, none more so than providing a clear justification for drivers who engage in the provision of type of service to meet exactly the same knowledge testing requirements as a taxi driver. For these reasons, simply imposing hire car regulations upon ride hail type services is not sufficient. Hire car regulations differ from taxis on the grounds that hire cars accept only pre-booked services for a different market to taxis and thus have the ability to pre-plan journeys. This is the not the case with an electronic hail. Uber themselves offer two distinct services for two different markets - traditional hire car services via Uber Black and a new illegal hybrid model via Uber X again highlighting the differences. This definition of the product also provides a clear justification as to why the price these services charge should be regulated by a maximum fare. Customers are not able to make an informed choice because of the immediacy of the booking. Furthermore, paying more will not necessarily see the service delivered in a more timely fashion because during periods of high demand the wait times are constrained by supply across all services. Employing surge pricing in periods of high demand is an abuse of market power and price gouging because the product the customer receives does not alter (in either quality or timeliness) despite them being asked to pay more. If ride hailing services are to be permitted to conduct their service without being required to abide by maximum fare regulations, the requirement must also be removed for taxis to allow them to compete. As the VTA have repeated on a number of occasions, if fare regulation were to be removed, the biggest loser would be the consumer burdened with higher prices. ... continued page 12 10 | August 2015 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry


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Regulating ride hailing VTA PERSPECTIVE ... continued from page 10 Ride hailing services do not require a new kind of licence, simply a set of licence conditions that would stipulate what regulations the service must comply with. The appropriate licence would be a hire car licence with significantly amended licence conditions to require the service to adhere to more conditions than are currently attached to a hire car licence. Because the model is a hybrid of tenants of taxi and hire car regulations, a hybrid set of conditions would need to apply it to. Upon application the entity would have to indicate if they intended to do electronic hail work or not and the appropriate licence conditions issued. Non-compliance would be met by sanctions and penalties including financial penalties and the loss of demerit points for individual drivers which cannot be shifted to a third party. Any regulation should be based on its need to address a market failure or ensure community/passenger/ driver safety. Because the model is a hybrid, tenants of taxi regulations and tenants of hire car regulation would need to apply to it, as shown in the table below. Finally, it is important to remember that a wide ranging review of the Victorian taxi and hire car industry has only just been completed by apparently eminent experts. It was delivered in December 2012 and responded to by Government in May 2013. The accompanying legislation (Transport Legislation Amendment (Foundation Taxi and Hire Car Reforms) Bill 2013) was introduced in 2013, with further legislation (Transport Legislation Amendment (Further Taxi Reform and Other Matters) Bill 2014) passed during 2014 enacting the majority of significant reforms. It has been suggested that the timing of the review was poor, because since its competition the Uber product(s) has arrived in Australia. The VTA do not share this view. Ride hail providers, like Uber, were well established overseas during the period the VTII was conducted and the VTII team travelled oversees to discuss issues effecting other jurisdictions as part of the VTII. This included two separate trips to the United States where these services originated and were up and running (Uber was established in San Francisco in 2009). To suggest the VTII did not consider these products and their impacts is perhaps a more convenient explanation than it is an accurate one. The VTII final report makes a number of points about the role of smartphone applications and clearly considered the final recommendations with the view to not inhibiting the entry of new market players and innovations which would enhance competition in the commercial passenger vehicle market. D 12 | August 2015 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry


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west to Melbourne Airport AIRPORT DRIVE WEST TO MELBOURNE AIPORT The new Airport Drive provides a second major entry to Melbourne Airport, making the journey quicker for people travelling from the west. Built between Sharps Road and Mercer Drive, the 3.3 kilometre extension of the existing Airport Drive provides direct access to the airport from the M80 Ring Road. The dual carriageway with two lanes in each direction has been designed for now and in the future. It can expand to six lanes at a later time, and accommodate a rail link. Valued at $100 million, the new Airport Drive was delivered in June 2015, on time and under budget. The project also included enhancements to Steele Creek North and a number of changes to surrounding roads. The new Airport Drive and enhancements to Steele Creek North are part of a larger Melbourne Airport transformation. Fast facts Direct access from M80 to airport Reduces congestion on Tullamarine Freeway and Melrose Drive Melbourne Airport has opened a new road providing a second major entry to the > New Airport Drive - Fact Sheet airport and directly linking the airport to the M80 Ring Road. Outgoing Melbourne Airport CEO Mr Chris Woodruff said the new direct access Environmental enhancements would save significant time for passengers and visitors travelling to the airport part of the new Airport Drive project, enhancements were from As the west. “The This new Airport Drive now connects directly to the airport from the M80 Ring includes a 5 million litre storm water system with a 100,000m2 Road, providing quicker easier access to the airport while also relieving conretarding basin, along with aand second smaller basin, to manage the quality quantity of water entering the system. gestion onand the Tullamarine Freeway and Melrose Drive,” Mr Woodruff said. Other key elements of the project include significant environmental enhancements Drive, Sky Road and Link Rd. to Steele Creek North, the renaming of a section of Melrose Drive to Airport Drive; Grassed earth mounds run along Airport Drive to act as a noise the construction of a new road - Watson Drive; and the construction of a cul-debarrier, and an area of 335,000m2 has been landscaped to improve sac at the end of Melrose the visual amenity of the area.Drive. This included planting 867 new “While the opening of the new Airport Drive is significant, we believe it’s important that a mix of transport options is available to passengers and visitors. So, in the centre of the our new Airport Drive, we’ve left enough room for a rail link, and we’ll continue to work with the State Government to bring a rail link to Melbourne Airport,” Mr Woodruff said. D Surrounding roads trees, bringing the total number of plants to 200,000. The water system consists of low level sloping land along Airport made to Steele Creek North. 6.5 kilometres of shared path 5 million litre storm water system 895 people employed during construction 200,000 plants Watson Drive Watson Drive has been constructed to link Melrose Drive to the new Airport Drive. This new road maintains access from Melrose Drive to Melbourne Airport, Melbourne Airport Business Park and Essendon Football Club. Melrose Drive Melrose Drive has been turned into a cul-de-sac 400 metres from the intersection of the new Watson Drive. In addition, Melrose Drive between Mercer Drive and Centre Road has been renamed Airport Drive to provide one continuous road from the M80 Ring Road to Centre Road. Link Road For safety reasons, Link Road has been re-aligned to form an intersection with Airport Drive and Watson Drive. 14 | August 2015 Taxi Talk Voice of the Taxi Industry Taxi Talk -Voice of the Taxi Industry


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DRIVER of the MONTH Loay Batra 13CABS Loay has been driving taxis since 1993. He enjoys interacting with new people and loves to learn from them. He drives full time and has never had an incident with a passenger. Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry August 2015 | 15



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