Taxi Talk March 2016


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Taxi Talk magazine for March 2016

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TAXI TALK ISSUE NO 573 VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY MARCH 2016 TAXI MAGAZINE ON THE RANKS SINCE 1966 PROUDLY PUBLISHED AND PRINTED IN MELBOURNE Print Post Approved number 100004912 VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY moomba 11- 14 MARCH Australia’s largest community festival with a uniquely Melbourne program of activities and events. The festival attracts fun-loving crowds of all ages to Birrarung Marr and Alexandra Gardens on the banks of the Yarra River. Enjoy local performers; the Moomba Masters’ world-class water sports; pro scoot, skate and BMX comps; food; artistically designed floats in the Moomba Parade; as well as the wild and wacky Birdman Rally.


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CLUB BRUNSWICK TAXI Join the newest club in town.... TAXI COVER Third Party & Public Liability 3 Quality and Fast Repairs 3 Lower Annual Contribution on all vehicle types 3 Providing Third Party Certificate with Public Liability of $20,000,000 3 Income Lost for not at fault Discount for Green Top and Owner Drivers We are here 9380 6522 0403 621 291 Fax: 9380 9411 | E-mail: | 59 Weston Street, Brunswick Call us today


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C 6 8 18 19 26 30 ontents Industry laws & regulations They exist primarily to protect the public. TAXI VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY MAGAZINE ON THE RANKS SINCE 1966 MAGAZINE EDITOR Toni F. Peters FOUNDER Stanley F. White PUBLISHER Trade Promotions Pty Ltd Uber not a threat... yet According to Roy Morgan Research. ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES Mrs Toni Peters Trade Promotions Pty Ltd PO Box 2345, Mt Waverley VIC 3149 Phone: ....................................... 0400 137 866 Email: ............................. World Taxi News Website: .......................... A look at what’s making the news around the globe. DISPLAY ADS Licence Statistics All copy, editorial and artwork must be submitted by the 15th of the month prior to publication date. Advertisement sizes and costs can be downloaded at Monthly Victorian taxi & hire car licence comparison. CLASSIFIED ADS Jitney vs Uber 100 years ago we had the jitney - now we have Uber. $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. SUBSCRIPTION DETAILS Taxi Services Commission 1 year = $35 Updates on government issues effecting the industry. PAYMENT OPTIONS • • Via PAYPAL to Direct Deposit to Trade Promotions Pty Ltd BSB 033065 A/c 312786 Mail Cheque to Trade Promotions Pty Ltd PO Box 2345, Mt Waverley VIC 3149 VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY proudly supporting these organisations since inception..... • Views expressed in any article in Taxi Talk magazine 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 magazine 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. Taxi Talk magazine has not independently verified these taxi clubs’ compliance, and 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 magazine that operators purchase insurance products from taxi clubs. Taxi Talk magazine does not 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 MAGAZINE Taxi Talk magazine is wholly owned by Trade Promotions Pty Ltd. COPYRIGHT © Trade Promotions Pty Ltd 2015. 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. Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry March 2016 |3


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EDITOR’S DESK TAXI VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY MAGAZINE ON THE RANKS SINCE 1966 During the past financial year the Taxi Services Commission spent $3.8 million on external advice on how to fix the Victorian taxi industry - and it’s still not resolved. If anything, it’s got worse. How much more will it cost? How much longer before we know, either way, how ride-sharing is to be treated, legislated and recognised in Victoria? We now have taxis of all colours roaming around the streets. What was wrong with the yellow cabs? It used to be great to easily identify a taxi coming your way! With the relaxation of the car colour rule comes the abolishment of the requirement for Peak Service (PS) taxis to have their roof painted green. Being a PS taxi means you can only operate between 3pm and 7am and on some special occasions. Enforcement of these operational hours was made easier with the green roofs. I wonder how many PS cabs will be on the roads plying for work outside of their scheduled hours, because now they blend in with the crowd? Another one of our local startups has bitten the dust and no longer operational. Cabit was started in 2014 and lived for a mere two years. The lime-coloured taxis that were fitted with lpg hybrid engines no longer run under the banner of Cabit. When we visit their website it tells us “we are currently offline we will be back soon”. But they won’t be. All their cars have moved to new homes. Apparently China is Uber’s largest international marketplace. But Uber’s market share is dwarfed by that of the larger Didi Kuaidi. It’s been reported that in China, Uber is losing more than $1 billion a year as Didi Kuaidi is a fierce competitor that’s unprofitable in every city they exist in, but they’re buying up market share. And so, Uber is following them wherever they go, matching their prices and services. Last month the Northern Territory government announced some minor reforms to the taxi industry. NT Transport Minister Peter Chandler said that the NT government will not be making any regulatory changes authorising point to point ridesharing transport services. Therefore Uber will not be able to operate in NT in the short term. The NT government will monitor the “other jurisdictions across Australia where unauthorised ridesharing has been operating”, and review their decision at a later date. Proudly published in Melbourne 64 | September 2015 | March 2016 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry


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GoCatch, a taxi booking app that started in Sydney in 2011, is the latest business to join the ride-sharing app bandwagon. They have created GoCar - the app that is going to compete in the ride-sharing market for passengers - just like Uber does. Big-name investors including billionaire James Packer, SEEK co-founder Paul Bassat, fund manager David Paradice and the Prime Minister’s son Alex Turnbull are backing taxi-booking app GoCatch to launch this new ride-sharing service in Australia. It’s getting a little more competitive every month out there in ride-sharing land. Not only does the taxi industry have Uber to compete with, there are at least another six apps vying and plying for the same work. Competition within the taxi industry had actually decreased over the past 40 years and then along comes the ride-sharing apps, increasing competition and they have done it almost overnight. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman Rod Sims recently said, “digital disruption is the most pro-competition thing to have in the country at the moment. It’s just fantastic.” The apps have become so popular that they won’t be able to be stopped, they need to be embraced and incorporated into our mainstream industry. This month sees Melbourne come alive with Albert Park hosting the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Yarra River and Alexander Gardens host Moomba and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival hits the stages and pubs around town. There are plenty of extra opportunities this month to get that great fare. Be smart, check the calendar for special events, dress well, keep your cab clean and be prepared to work hard. Taxi drivers are ambassadors for Victoria and you all need to pull your socks up if you wish to remain in this game. Toni Peters Editor, Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry TT Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry March 2016 |5


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INDUSTRY LAWS & REGULATION The primary reason for the existence of laws and regulations in the Taxi Industry is the interest and protection of the public. A taxi can be defined as a commercial vehicle that is licensed to carry passengers for financial reward by a professional driver, using a metering device to calculate a fare. Many laws that now exist in the Taxi Industry evolved during decades and served the consumer well. So let us have a look at some of the most important and relevant facets of the industry that are governed by laws and regulations that are in existence today. be painted in a particular colour and fitted with cameras, dome lights, decals, communication equipment and safety-alarms. Furthermore these vehicles have to be inspected before each shift, in accordance with the law, for safety and suitability of carrying passengers. The law also requires taxis to have a taxi roadworthy certificate every 12 months and every six month for cars that are more than 4 years old. 1 Maximum fares. The ESC (Essential Services Commission), an independent government agency, determines maximum fares that are registered on a taxi metering device; the consumer (local and tourist) has certainty and knows that he is paying a fair price for the service offered by a taxi. Fares should always be set by an independent body so that self-interest cannot prevail and that the availability of a taxi is not dependent on the size of a wallet or credit card. Both the government and the industry have a moral and legal obligation to protect consumers from exploitation by unscrupulous behaviour of companies and drivers. 3 Taxi drivers are licensed by the government. They are the back bone of the industry. They should be people of high integrity and professional ability. Qualities that our modern world does not seem to value highly enough anymore. Rather than looking for intellectual giants in testing new taxi drivers, we should concentrate on making sure that a passenger is carried in a safe and timely manner from point A to B. No driver should be allowed to be licensed, if he or she is convicted of a crime that carries a prison sentence. The rights and protection of the community should always override the rights of the individual. 2 Licensed commercial vehicles that are used in the taxi industry have to comply with government regulation. There are substantial penalties in place for non-compliance. The vehicles have to carry a commercial registration and special compulsory third party insurance. They have to 4 A taxi licence gives the holder the right to operate a taxi. This right can be assigned to an accredited Operator. At present about 75% Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry 6 | March 2016


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of the licences in Melbourne are held by perpetual licence holders and the rest is held by the Victorian government. It is the confusion that exists in the eyes of the public and governments with respect to taxi licences that creates most problems in the industry. taxi licence, and therefore the public does not pay for the value of a licence in the taxi fare. • 5 Network Service Providers (NSPs) are accredited by the government to provide a taxi to a taxi user. In Melbourne the NSPs are now providing most of the radio work to taxis. They perform also a number of duties on behalf of the government. The NSPs are not the taxi industry but provide a very important service to the industry. There is however a financial incentive to have more cars in their NSP since this provides greater income for the NSP at the expense of drivers and operators. By not providing a system that dispatches all requests for a taxi to the entire Melbourne fleet, the taxi user has only access to half the fleet. This means the taxi driver and operator can only deliver an inferior and inefficient service to the public. • It is the number of taxi licences and drivers that ensure the supply and quality of service to the public. Get the numbers wrong with respect to drivers and licences or either of them, and supply and quality of service will be affected. An oversupply of licences will invariably have a negative affect on the quality of service to the public and the viability of the Industry. An under-supply of licences will affect the availability of taxis to the public. A shortage of drivers will have an impact on both the service to the public and the viability of the industry, whereas a surplus of drivers can lead to unscrupulous behaviour of operators and licence holders. Contrary to popular belief there is no component in the fare structure that is connected to the value of a Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry Unfortunately the interest of the NSPs is often in direct conflict with the interest of the public, drivers and operators, because of the fact that they are receiving their income of a fixed amount on a per car basis. This leads to the following problems. • Answering the phone costs money in the form of staff and leads at times to delays for the public and lost fares for operators and drivers. There is no financial incentive for NSPs to dispatch more work as this would lead to a cost increase. Most of the problems in the taxi industry could be resolved if our laws would be upheld and all participants in the industry would act in less self-interest. Hans Altoff Taxi Owner/ Operator TT • March 2016 |7


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UBER NOT A THREAT... YET A survey has revealed that 5.1 per cent of Australians aged 14 and over (that’s 989,000 people) reported travelling by Uber at least once in any given threemonth period — but this large uptake is not yet posing a threat to taxi drivers, say researchers. Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan Research who conducted the survey between July and December last year, says “Despite the concerns of traditional taxi drivers, Uber does not yet pose a threat to their market dominance — around a quarter of the population still travel by taxi in an average three months. “However, we will be monitoring closely how/if this changes in the coming year.” “In the meantime, taxi companies wishing to compete in this dramatically shifting scene would do well to identify those individuals who are least likely to switch to Uber and focus some concerted attention on ensuring their continued custom,” he continued. Almost three quarters of them were aged between 18 and 34, while less than 10 per cent were aged 50 and older. Just over one million Australians (or 5.3 per cent) have downloaded the Uber app, and again, it’s the younger age brackets that comprise the lion’s share of downloaders: more than six in every 10, of them, in fact. Furthermore, of the 555,000 Australians (2.8 per cent) who use their Uber app on their mobile phone in an average four weeks, more than two-thirds are from the 18-24 and 25-34 year-old age groups. Uber’s adoption rates vary between the states, with Western Australians embracing the service with particular enthusiasm. Not only do 10.5 per cent of them travel by Uber in any given three months (more than double the national average), 7.6 per cent have downloaded the Uber app and 4.3 per cent use the app on their mobile phone in an average four weeks. The fact that a higher proportion are travelling by Uber than have downloaded the app indicates that many of WA’s Uber passengers travel with others who have not yet downloaded the app themselves. Despite remaining illegal in Victoria, the state’s residents are the second-most likely to travel by Uber in an average three-month period (5.3 per cent). When it comes to downloading the app, Queenslanders follow WA residents — although like Victoria, the company is also illegal in the Sunshine State. Tasmania and South Australia remain relatively oblivious to the Uber phenomenon. Michele Levine says, “ Just like the equally ground-breaking start-up, Airbnb, Uber was founded in San Francisco and has since spread like wildfire around the globe, often causing consternation among Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry 8 | March 2016


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established taxi companies and governments wrestling with its legal implications.” “While NSW and ACT have legalised and regulated Uber, and WA is on the way to doing the same, other states have not yet welcomed it (which hasn’t prevented it from operating in those states),” continued Michele Levine. “Since its late 2012 launch in Sydney, Uber has gone nationwide, with WA leading the country in Uber uptake. As we have found, younger Aussies (aged under 35) are far more likely than their older counterparts to travel by Uber and download the app: hardly surprising, given that most of them have grown up with digital technology.” Rae Johnston TT Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry March 2016 |9


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WORKS ON CITYLINK TULLA Slow down and drive safely as the $1.28 billion Citylink Tulla Widening project hits top gear. As part of the project, an 80km/h speed limit is in place between Flemington Road and Bulla Road, while a 60km/h limit applies during night works to keep both workers and motorists safe. Construction sites are a highrisk environment with heavy machinery, hot bitumen and road workers on foot. “Construction speed limits are enforceable, and when people exceed them, they are putting workers in danger,” said Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donnellan. 100 80 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry 10 | March 2016


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Victoria Police will increase patrols, targeting speeding and tailgating on the freeway as well as entry and exit ramps. Keeping the freeway open while the project is being delivered is a priority, and reduced speed limits are crucial to keeping everyone safe. Work between Bulla Road and Bell Street started in October, with the section from Melbourne Airport to Bulla Road due to start by midyear. Keeping the freeway open while the project is being delivered is a priority, and reduced speed limits are crucial to keeping everyone safe. During construction, the CityLink Tulla Widening Project is expected to create 1,400 jobs, and once complete, will on average save drivers 16 minutes in the morning peak and 17 minutes in the afternoon peak. Drivers caught speeding through the construction zone can expect to be issued with penalty notices. “We’re getting on with delivering the projects that will get Victorians home to their families safer and Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry quicker,” said Minister for Roads and Road Safety, Luke Donnellan. Major construction is expected to begin on the Melbourne Airport to Bulla Road section by mid-2016. Mr Donnellan also stated, “works will involve construction of an additional lane in each direction along the section, a major upgrade to the Mickleham Road interchange, and reconstruction and widening of the English Street bridge to improve access to Essendon Fields”. “The upgrade will also involve installing ramp signals to regulate the flow of traffic entering the freeway, assisting with traffic flow and congestion management,” he continued. This project is due to be completed in 2018. TT March 2016 | 11


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REMOVING TRAIN CROSSINGS The Victorian Government’s project to remove every level crossing between Caulfield and Dandenong will help train the next generation of skilled workers. Premier Daniel Andrews announced last month that a new training and jobs partnership with Chisholm Institute – the New Employment Exchange and Training (NEXT) centre – would be established as part of the $1.6 billion project. The project will create 2000 new jobs, with at least 200 being apprentices or graduate engineers. The new NEXT centre will include a dedicated classroom and training space, a rail training centre, and opportunities for accelerated learning and on-the-job training on this massive project. Importantly, it will give opportunities to re-skill people from industries in decline such as the as retrenched automotive workers, as well as students from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds, including Indigenous Victorians. The program will also provide Year 10, 11 and 12 students from local schools and pre-apprentices with access to construction-based work projects, as well as supervised work experience opportunities. The innovative and modern design will be constructed using pre-fabricated beams, pieced together over the busy rail line as it continues to run. The project is expected to begin construction later this year, with all nine level crossings removed and the five new stations operating in 2018. TT 12 | March 2016 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry


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WATCH OUT UBER Move over UberX, here comes GoCar, and it’s taking Sydney by storm. GoCar is the new ridesharing service from GoCatch. GoCatch started in Australia in 2011 and currently process over 100,000 bookings a month Australia-wide, have 35,000 drivers using GoCatch. And with some 350,000 users in their database, they have a very strong platform for this new ridesharing app. GoCar provides drivers another option to use their personal vehicle to earn extra income, and gives passengers other ways of safely getting from A to B. Anyone with a car can sign up to be a GoCar driver. Passengers are able to get a GoCar via the existing GoCatch app. As a GoCar driver you’ll have access to their GoCatch passenger database, and with 350,000 existing passengers there is plenty of opportunity to keep busy and earn more. GoCatch CEO Ned Moorfield said “We’re not going with surge pricing because people really dislike that approach. We don’t believe in matching supply and demand and I think for Uber it’s all about maximising profits for itself.” Moorfield said GoCar will be 2030% cheaper than taxis during offpeak times and 10-15% cheaper during peak hours. GoCar drivers are charged 15% commission compared with 20% with UberX . Presently GoCar is only available in Sydney and while the launch of GoCar might ruffle some feathers, Moorfield thinks it will provide taxi drivers with additional opportunities. “A large proportion of the ride-sharing drivers out there now are current or ex-taxi drivers, and since bookings are made through the same app, overflow will go to taxi drivers,” said Moorfield. “There’ll definitely be an element that won’t respond well, but I think a lot of drivers will be pragmatic about this.” TT Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry 14 | March 2016


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W HO OWNS YOUR INCOM E DATA? Your Taximeter Your Income Data Their Taximeter WHOSE INCOME DATA? When you own a Schmidt G4 Taximeter: • YOU OWN the confidential income data stored in your taximeter, and this income data fully remains your property. When you use a Cabcharge Fareway Plus Taximeter: • YOU DO NOT OWN the taximeter. It actually remains the property of Cabcharge or some other party. • DO YOU KNOW who actually owns the confidential income data stored in the Cabcharge Fareway Plus taximeter? • DO YOU KNOW who has access to this confidential income data? What should you do if your taxi network wants to remove your Schmidt G4 Taximeter? It is your absolute right to keep your Schmidt G4 taximeter. Cabcharge is under a legal obligation in Victoria to ensure that the new Fareway Plus fully integrates with the Schmidt G4 Taximeter. All over Australia, it is your absolute right to insist that your Schmidt G4 taximeter is kept in its rightful place on your taxi’s centre console. The Fareway Plus display unit can be mounted somewhere else, e.g. under the dash. If you wish we can mount it under the dash and out of the way for you. What should you do if you are feeling misled, pressured or bullied? You can report it directly to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Alternatively, call us and we can pass on your complaint. Schmidt Electronic Laboratories Pty Ltd Trusted by thousands of taxi operators & drivers for more than 35 years Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry Address 153 Osborne Avenue, Clayton South, VIC 3169 | ABN 20 005 631 710 March 2016 Phone (03) 9546 6990 or 1300 132 422 | Email | Website | 15



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