Drive A2B October 2017


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magazine for the Victorian commercial passenger vehicle industry

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DRIVE Voice of the Victorian Point-to-Point Transport Industry OCTOBER 2017 NO 06 incorporating TAXIOF THE TVAOXIICINEDUSTRY on the ranks MAGAZINE since 1966 10DRIVERS FREEJOIN FOR % NOW sphroafriet programme Download TiCKTOC app today available at iTunes & Google Play TAXIS HIRE CARS RIDE SOURCING OWNERS DRIVERS SERVICES


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Giving Power Back to Taxi & Hire Car Drivers Be one of the many & get on-board with the FREE ineda app Enjoy the benefits of our growing community including: • Earning more dollars instead of waiting around taxi ranks • Get notified when customers post their taxi or hire car job • Maximising your vehicles' earning capacity • Bidding for as many jobs as you like • Enabling your taxi services to include parcel delivery with the ineda app Once registered, it’s as simple as: Step 1 Receive the request Step 3 Customer accepts Step 2 Bid for the work Step 4 Deliver & get paid Register NOW to join our list of service providers, go to


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CONTENTS WHAT’S INSIDE 6 Industry in transition The Victorian taxi and hire car industry is in a transition stage. 8 Government Lottery aka Transition Assistance. How did you fare? 12 TSC should rebrand It’s time that the TSC is rebranded to reflect its true portfolio. 16 $1 Trip Levy FAQs Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the Victorian $1 Trip Levy. 20 Autonomous pods are here They will return independence to our senior citizens. 28 Your say Letters and emails received by DRIVE A2B regarding the point-to-point transport industry. 30 Overseas news Snippets regarding the point-to-point industry around the world. FRONT COVER Melbourne’s busy streets Find us at ... DRIVEA2B @DRIVEA2Ba @DRIVEA2B Editor Mrs Toni Peters Publisher Trade Promotions Pty Ltd PO Box 2345, Mount Waverley Vic. 3149 Advertising enquiries Mrs Toni Peters P 0400 137 866 E · W Media Pack containing advertisement sizes and costs can be downloaded from our website. Deadline All articles, editorial and artwork must be submitted by the 15th of the month prior to publication date. Home delivery subscription $45 for your copy of DRIVE A2B to be mailed to you for one year. Payment options Direct Deposit to Trade Promotions Pty Ltd BSB 033065 ACC 312786 REF your name Mail Cheque to Trade Promotions Pty Ltd PO Box 2345, Mt Waverley VIC 3149 DRIVE A2B magazine · October 2017 3


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Welcome to the October 2017 edition of DRIVE Voice of the Victorian Point-to-Point Transport Industry Editorial Aaron de Rozario recently advised DRIVE A2B that past legislation did not empower the Taxi Services Commission (TSC) to bring judgement against illegal hire car operators (eg Uber & 13CABS). He has embraced the new Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry legislation and states that this does give them the compliance power needed to enforce the regulations. When asked why Uber vehicles and drivers are allowed to operate without having appropriate accreditation from the TSC, he responded that we are in a Transition period and many exceptions and leniences will be given during this phase. Okay, but how are 13CABS allowed to have cars decked out in taxi livery and have private plates? It was never legislated previously that taxis could have private plates - and that certainly has not changed in the new legislation, all taxis must have either M, C or U plates. At this stage new hire car vehicles can use private plated cars and they will not get into trouble with the TSC. Are the 13CABS private plated vehicles Taxis or Hire Cars? If they are taxis then they must have a meter, camera and M, C or U taxi plates. If they are hire cars, they don’t have a meter and must not display TAXI livery. So, what are they and how come they are not being made to comply? On another note, the database maintained by the TSC doesn’t have a link to VicRoads. Therefore, whenever ownership details (phone, address etc.) change, these alterations must be advised to BOTH the TSC and also to VicRoads. Really? We are living in an advanced technological age, on the cusp of introducing autonomous cars and flying cars, yet two government departments are unable to share data. Oh, and by the way, at this stage it is not compulsory for ride share vehicles to have insurance nor is it compulsory for their drivers to have a zero blood alcohol reading. Up in Queensland, they have made it mandatory from 1 October, 2017 for ALL personalised transport vehicles (taxi, hire car, ride sharing) to have an approved security camera installed and operational where the service 4 DRIVE A2B magazine · October 2017


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incorporating TAXIOF THE TVAOXIICINEDUSTRY on the ranks MAGAZINE since 1966 meets one or more of the following criteria: • driver and passenger anonymity • cash transactions • point of payment is immediately before, during or after the journey. Exemptions relating to regional and remote areas will continue. I doubt that you haven’t heard the news that London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, announced last month that all companies in London must play by the rules and adhere to the high standards expected – particularly when it comes to the safety of customers. Providing an innovative service must not be at the expense of customer safety and security. Yes, he was referring in particular to Uber. London has made it quite clear that they believe that Uber is a safety risk to society and that they have a flagrant disregard for regulations. Of course, Uber will appeal this decision and the unfortunate thing is that Uber will be permitted to continue to operate until such time as the appeal has been resolved. That could be months! Yet, it does make you wonder if our own Hon Jacinta Allan will sit up and take notice of what decisions are being made around the world regarding Uber. 98% (approx. $330 million) of Transition Assistance cheques have been received by recipients. The payouts don’t seem to be very fair and just. Firstly, why isn’t every licence valued at the same price - ie $100,000 for the first, second, third and fourth? Secondly, it depends on how you have purchased your licence as to how much you will receive. For example, if you purchased ten licences and (a) all listed exactly the same in the name of yourself, then you would only be entitled to $250,000. (b) But if you had these licences in separate entities, eg 2 in Superannuation Fund, 2 in your name, 2 in your wife’s name, 2 in Trust for your children, 2 in your business name, then you would be entitled to received $750,000. At the end of the day the money received from (b) above will all go into the same pocket - yet this owner has managed to secure $500,000 more than owner (a). Not quite sure where the government’s logic is on this one. Toni Peters EDITOR Views expressed in any article in DRIVE A2B 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. DRIVE A2BTM is wholly owned by Trade Promotions Pty Ltd. © Trade Promotions Pty Ltd 2017. All rights reserved. Copyright of articles and photographs in DRIVE A2BTM remains with the individual contributors and may not be reproduced without permission. DRIVE A2B magazine · October 2017 5


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TAXI NEWS INDUSTRY IN TRANSITION Since the introduction of the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Act in August 2017, all taxis, hire cars, ride sharing vehicles are now referred to as Commercial Passenger Vehicles. All existing taxi licences will automatically be converted to new low-cost licence and will be automatically issued once the new system is implemented. Mr De Rozario, Taxi Services Commission CEO, has advised that all applicants for a new Commercial Passenger Vehicle (CPV) licence must personally and individually register online with the Taxi Services Commission and the cost of this new licence will be between $50 - $150. All taxis and hire car vehicles must continue to have a Roadworthy Check every 12 months and this now extends to Ride Share vehicles too. People who have a current taxi or hire car Driver Accreditation will automatically receive CPV Driver Accreditation. New drivers must individually apply online. Yet this rule apparently doesn’t apply to Uber drivers. We have been advised that Driver Accreditation for Uber drivers is to be done directly by Uber. Apparently the Taxi Services Commission (TSC) has granted Uber an exclusive direct portal to the TSC’s database. This direct access allows Uber personnel to enter all relevant details for their drivers and the TSC doesn’t verify any of the documentation or information supplied. They are relying wholly and solely on Uber’s “professionalism” in this matter. The database maintained by the TSC doesn’t have a link to VicRoads. So, whenever ownership details (including phone and address) change, these alterations must be advised to BOTH TSC and also to VicRoads. Mr de Rozario recently commented on the fact that Uber vehicles will NOT be required to have vehicle signage, as he believes vehicle markings will make it easy for them to do rank and hail work. There will be no capping of the number of issued taxi or hire car licences and Peak Service taxis will now operate as a “regular” taxi. No requirements exist to have a percentage of your fleet as wheelchair accessible. The only wheelchair accessible commercial passenger vehicles are taxi WATs. With regards to CPV licence plates • Taxis will continue to have M, U, C plates; • Current Hire Cars will keep their VH plates; • New Hire cars (including ride share) are to have private registration plates. Mr de Rozario advised that Victoria’s CPV industry is in a transition stage and that there are many leniencies given by government during this time. Roadworthies must continue to be obtained every 12 months. 6 DRIVE A2B magazine · October 2017


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Zones • No zones for hire cars (incl ride share) • Zones remain for taxis Domes • Will be an optional extra for taxis • Compulsory for Taxis Cameras • Hire Cars don’t have them • Ride Share vehicles don’t want them One of these leniences is the fact that none of the Ride Share vehicles and drivers have been accredited or licensed and they will not be fined. Another is that 13CABS can have private plated vehicles with TAXI livery on them, running around the state doing taxi work. Mr de Rozario said that during the transition stage, new entrants to the hire car industry can use private plated cars and they will not get into trouble from TSC. He also said that current ride share drivers and operators can work and offer work and not get fined. We hope that this means that when the new licensing and accreditation system is implemented that the TSC will crack down on illegal, unlicensed vehicles, drivers and operators. Surely they can’t keep using this excuse not to fine offenders. The status of the current legal action cases being brought forward by Victorian taxi and hire car industry personnel is: Ombudsman case looking into the actions of the Taxi Services Commission – outcome pending. Court Case against government and Taxi Services Commission for unfair compensation on just terms – proceeding - announcement forthcoming soon. Challenge of the Charter of Human Rights with regards to the revocation of taxi and hire car licences. Being investigated and likely there is a case to be answered. The outcome in favour of the industry won’t change legislation but a statement in our favour would embarrass the government. VEHICLE CHEAP financeRATES CHEAP FINANCE RATES FOR taxis limos vans buses 9561 8876 95 Garden Road, Clayton (near Ikea) EASY BEST FAST CAR LOANS SERVICE APPROVALS We are accredited with over 30 banks and other lenders GAP COVER up to $30,000 available vha vehicles all cars yarrafinance experts in commercial finance proudly serving the taxi industry DRIVE A2B magazine · October 2017 7


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REVOCATION LOTTERYTransition Assistance How did you fare? BY LINDA DE MELIS T ransition assistance payments to taxi and hire car licence owners have recently rolled in and have highlighted yet another layer of absurdity to the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry (CPVI) government reforms. The industry has always stressed that licences must be paid equally and in capital rather than paying a weighted amount on the first taxi licence ($100,000), half that for the second, third and fourth licence and nothing for any more. Despite industry advice to the contrary, it must have seemed straight forward to the bureaucrats. They would know best! The Minister herself would tell you that most people own between 1 and 4 licences – selfcongratulations on covering the bases and ‘getting it right’. The political spin has left us dizzy. Either she is fooling herself or being fooled. The reality is far from this. Most licences are held by legal entities owning 1 to 4 licences. This is quite a different scenario to the picture Minister Allan paints and with a totally different outcome. There exist many more multiple licence owners than the Minister would have the general public believe. Transition payments were disbursed on the basis of legal entities NOT individuals. Same, same but oh so very different – allow me to explain. How fortunate that by fluke alone based on the structure of their personal financial affairs, one couple should receive substantially more than the next. It doesn’t end there. The farcical, grossly unfair and uneven transition payments have uncovered circumstances that would make anyone weep. It has certainly brought tears to the eyes of those directly affected by this and has sent distress levels soaring yet again. There are no winners in any of this and yet somehow a situation has been crafted that Scenario 1 • Husband and wife own two licences jointly. • They have received $100,000 for their first licence and $50,000 for their second - total $150,000. In the most basic comparison with a parallel scenario.... Scenario 2 • Husband and wife team own two licences, one in each name individually. • They have received $100,000 each - total $200,000. 8 DRIVE A2B magazine · October 2017


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If this situation was not so serious it would make any reasonable person laugh – it’s a joke right? indiscriminately favours some and not others, irrespective of the number of licences held. Consider these examples in addition to the two I have already described as well as everything in between. Scenario 3 • Some Licence owners had 10 licences, each in a separate entity. • They received $1,000,000. Scenario 4 • Licence owner with 13 licences demarcated in separate legal entities. • Owner was paid $1,300,000. On the other end of the spectrum.... Scenario 5 • Licence owner who, in addition to 6 other beneficiaries, holds 17 licences, in a single family trust. • They have been paid, or it should be said, the trust has been paid $250,000 for all 17 licences. ($100k, $50k, $50k, $50k and nothing more). • It gets worse – these people also have a debt of $2,000,000. Three generations perpetually ruined. Historically, people have structured their financial affairs to suit their own unique personal and business situation. No one planned for this ridiculous outcome. Not one person was more clever than the next. No one would begrudge people their accidental win, it was not by their design that payments were to be awarded as they have but the inequity is staggering. Relatively speaking, some people have come out with $100,000 for each and every licence held with no licence limit while others were severely penalised and have received very little for each licence owned. Such a harsh penalty that was by chance avoided better by some than others. That has been the luck of the draw. If this situation was not so serious it would make any reasonable person laugh – it’s a joke right? The sheer accident that might be someone’s good fortune is someone else’s nightmare. A taxi licence is property as ruled by the High Court in 1998 but it is being treated by this government like a token found in a pack of cereal. Each licence is equivalent in value, whatever that may be, and is entrenched in people’s finances just like any other income bearing property. An equivalent capital payment for each and every licence would have avoided such a nonsensical and colossal mess. Recompense as capital would have also made clear the tax implications on the transition payments – another chapter to this continuing and unfortunate saga. It is clear the ultimate aim of this government was to reduce the size of the industry package any which way they could spin some sense out of it, without too much regard for applying any level of fairness or equity to people affected. Simply a case of don’t care and don’t care to know. DRIVE A2B magazine · October 2017 9


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VTHF DISASTER RELIEF OF OUR INDUSTRY By now payments, in the form of cheques, have been received by all who once owned a perpetual taxi licence. In most cases this payment was nothing more than an insult and a slap across the face for the years behind the wheel. The government had every opportunity to develop and strengthen the industry yet they decided to run it into the ground. The industry has been treated very poorly and unfairly by government and the regulatory body, for a very long period of time and continues to do so. The new Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Bill that has passed was nothing more than policy on the run, with all previous standards thrown out. The Fairness Fund was made available for participants who will endure financial difficulty, and that too has created more anger than support for those severely affected. The whole application was based on questions of what assets and liabilities applicants have. It was very intrusive and demoralising having just had an asset confiscated and an income destroyed. There is no criteria as to what is fair with the Fairness Fund. Applications were delayed and, in some cases, lost amongst the piles of paperwork. Applications were acknowledged by a generic letter of receipt and some applications have been finalised. However the basis of the calculations for an outcome has not been made clear. The whole process is shambolic. The process has been far too long and has placed further economic stress on people. People are facing financial ruin and many have a feeling of distrust towards government. The participants of the taxi industry have endured intolerable and immense cruelty for a long time. This cruelty by the government continues with the application process of the Fairness Fund which seems like it will take forever to come to finality. UNITE WITH US TODAY For more information email The Victorian Taxi & Hire Car Families Visit and have a chat with us at: 1st Floor, 129 Roden Street, West Melbourne (above Embassy Cafe) 10 DRIVE A2B magazine · October 2017


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VHCA IT’S TIME TSC REBRANDS BY ROD BARTON, President VHCA Around three years ago a number of likeminded operators got together and reformed the Victorian Hire Car Association (VHCA) which had been dormant for more than 10 years. I was one of those operators. We did so because of the appalling treatment Hire Car operators had received from the Fels Report, and the arrogant way the Taxi Services Commission (TSC) dealt with the hire car industry. It’s fair to say nothing much has changed! In our first meeting with the Taxi Services Commission Chair, Marnie Williams, the VHCA suggested a number of different ideas to the TSC. One of these was that the branding of the TSC, “Taxi Services Commission” was totally inappropriate, as this name fails to reflect what its jurisdiction is, or its obligations. Incorrect branding sends mixed messages to the public and stakeholders. This was rejected by the TSC. Now three years later it is even more ridiculous! With the introduction of low cost hire car licences, Hire Cars will outnumber Taxis 3 to 1. It is seriously time to rebrand TSC to reflect its areas of responsibility. There is support at the most senior levels of the TSC for this, but it has still failed to be acted on. These matters have been raised throughout the last three years with TSC and Government. COMMISSIONERS of the Taxi Services Commission I wonder how many of you who are reading this article know: 1. The names the current three Commissioners who oversee the TSC? 2. What their role is? 3. What are their responsibilities? 4. What exactly do they do? 5. What is their background and experience? 6. What experience, if any, in the taxi and hire car industries do they have? 7. What is the policy direction of the TSC determined by the Commissioners? 12 DRIVE A2B magazine · October 2017


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VHCA It is seriously time to rebrand the Taxi Services Commission to reflect its areas of responsibility. I guess that less than 1% of readers could answer any of those questions. I’ll leave you some homework, look them up! and Transport Minister Allan were truly interested in genuine reform, they would have adopted our recommendations. The role of the Commissioners is something we have consistently discussed over the last three years. Whatever the shortcomings in the Taxi and Hire Car industries are, the responsibilities to fix these lie fair and square with the regulator, in conjunction with the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. They recommend policy, the conditions, the rules, regulations and then the TSC is supposed to enforce the legislation in the public’s interest. The TSC should be held responsible for its actions and inactions! This applies to the Commissioners. If the Andrews Labor Government Included was our recommendation that the Commissioners should have been made up of, say; 1. Jeff Kennett (if you could get him) Chair (his record in the Taxi and Hire Car industries speaks for itself.) 2. An experienced elected representative from the Hire Car industry; 3. An experienced elected representative from the Taxi industry 4. A representative from the regulator We understand that a new commissioner will be added to represent those with a disability; this is a very sensible decision Rod Barton President, VHCA considering the important role that taxis play in the lives of those with a disability. This is how you build a Board! Most importantly, confidence of the stakeholders must be guaranteed - something that this Transport Minister and this Andrews Labor Government has failed to appreciate. 13DRIVE A2B magazine · October 2017


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VHCA continued Victorian Hire Cars VHA PLATES The decision not to allow the professional operators to continue to obtain VHA plates is reducing us to nothing more than ride share operators. There have been sections of the taxi industry also lobbying for us to lose our plates and, obviously, Uber does not want VHA plates on their cars (frankly nor do we, we don’t want the public confused!). We met with Minister Allan some time ago and put to her that the plates represented our BRAND, something our industry has built over 30 years. It’s our badge that shows the consumers we are the professionals. We have a proven track record in the market place with a professional reputation, not only in Victoria but, nationally and internationally! Consumers have confidence that when they see a VHA car in their driveway. They know and appreciate that they are getting a properly licensed luxury vehicle, accredited and insured with an experienced driver setting the standards for point-to-point transport in Victoria. Minister Allan allowed us to keep all current VHA plates but rejected any new VHA plates to be issued. Clearly this to accommodate Uber as Uber now comes under the Hire Car category in the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Act 2017. We recently asked the TSC and VicRoads to reconsider this policy position of not allowing new VHA plates to be issued which they initially denied. However, at a recent meeting with the TSC they have agreed to have a joint meeting with VicRoads and the VHCA to have another look at this issue. To be continued........ You can sit there and complain HIRE CAR & TAXI OWNERS JOIN VHCA TODAY ONLY $120 pa about how unfair this all is .... but what we know is, at this stage, you are going to get 100% of NOTHING. JOIN US and maybe, just maybe, we will get a little bit of something! 14 DRIVE A2B magazine · October 2017


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TRANSPORT IMPACTS all aspects of our LIVES Public & Private Transport, Getting To Work, Going To School, Playing & Watching Sports, Socialising Rod Barton and Andre Baruch, the President and Vice President of the Victorian Hire Car Association, have started the process of forming a new political party – the Transport Matters Party (TMP). Rod and Andre are devastated by the way their members and industry colleagues have been treated by the Andrews Labor Government. The TMP will participate in the 2018 Victorian State Election with one clear objective - to give back a voice to local communities. TRANSPORT AFFECTS THE QUALITY OF OUR LIVES, IT SHAPES OUR CITIES AND OUR COMMUNITIES. TRANSPORT MATTERS. YOU HAVE A RIGHT, AND YOU DESERVE TO BE HEARD. TMP MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION FORM I wish to apply for membership of the Transport Matters Party. I acknowledge that there is a $20 annual membership fee, that I will be invoiced for at a later stage. First Name ______________________________________________________________________________________ Surname ______________________________________________________________________________________ Address ______________________________________________________________________________________ Phone Number ______________________________________________________________________________________ Email Address ______________________________________________________________________________________ I confirm that I am not currently a member of any other registered political party. Please accept my application for membership to the Transport Matters Party. Signed: __________________________________________________ Date: _________________________ join us! Complete the application form <------and return via email, sms or mail. It’s that easy! Email: Phone / SMS: 0417 898 698 Mail: PO Box 1046 Elsternwick Vic 3185



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