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TAXI TALK JUNE 2014 ISSUE NO 554 TAXI VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY MAGAZINE Official journal of the Victorian Taxi Association Print Post Approved number 100004912 VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY The Light in Winter FEDERATION SQUARE Experience art, music and performances from dusk at Federation Square’s annual winter program, incorporating local and international artists. Finishing with the Solstice Celebration on the true winter solstice, Saturday 21 June, which will feature performers including Cambodia Space Project, New Dub City, Black Orchid String Band, the Gift of Light Orchestra, Asanti Dance Theatre, Federation of Bhangra, Groove Dance and Burmese, Chinese and Mexican artistic groups.

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INSIDE... 4 6 10 16 22 36 Victorian Taxi Association editorial Driver and passenger safety is not to be compromised 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 Region news Country taxi operators are an integral part of their community 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: ................................... info@taxitalk.com.au Website: ................................ www.taxitalk.com.au Ride sharing apps RSAs are not legitimate competition in the regulated taxi industry Licence statistics Taxi and hire car licence and assignment statistics for last month DISPLAY ADVERTISEMENTS 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 www.taxitalk.com.au. Taxi Services Commission Updates on issues affecting the Victorian Taxi Industry SUBSCRIPTION DETAILS 1 year = $33 CLASSIFIED ADVERTISEMENTS $25 for 30 words, $50 for 60 words, etc. Email or Mail your classified advertisement by the 15th of the month prior to publication date, together with your payment. Events calendar Dates and locations of various Melbourne major events PAYMENT OPTIONS • • • Via PAYPAL to info@taxitalk.com.au Direct Deposit to BSB 033065 A/c 312786 Mail Cheque to Trade Promotions Pty Ltd PO Box 2345, Mt Waverley VIC 3149 taxitalk.com.au Want to know as soon as Taxi Talk is uploaded to our website? Become a member of www.taxitalk.com.au, and you will get an email immediately the next edition has been uploaded. Register at http://www.taxitalk.com.au/apps/auth/signup 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 operators and taxi-cab Network Service Providers 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 - Voice of the Taxi Industry June 2014 |3

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safety not to be Firstly I would like to note the sad passing of a true pillar of the Australian taxi industry, Mr Reginald (Reg) Kermode AM, MBE, JP . compromise The VTA have passed on our sympathies to the Kermode family and those who worked with Mr Kermode’s businesses. Condolences to all. I would like to start by updating readers on plans for our 2014 State Conference. I can now say it will be held at the Langham Hotel on 23 and 24 September with a special VTA 50 year anniversary gala dinner to be held at Zinc, Federation Square on the night of the 23rd. If you wish to know more please do not hesitate to contact Georgia or Alana at the VTA. More information for sponsors and attendees can also be found on our website, www.victaxi.com.au Perhaps the issue that has dominated the news most over the previous month is the emergence of “ride sharing apps” in Victoria and indeed other Australian cities, particularly Sydney. David Samuel VTA CEO Let me start by saying, contrary to popular belief amongst ill-informed media commentators, ride-sharing isn’t innovative, it is simply illegal. Just about any incumbent industry player could do this but instead they choose to follow the law. The VTA are pleased to see the Taxi Services Commission (TSC) enforce the law, particularly in a context where some other regulators seem to baulk at it. The Victorian taxi industry is not opposed to the introduction of innovations like smart phone apps - in fact, it was the industry itself through booking companies that introduced them. 4 | June 2014 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry

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ed However, the industry will argue for a set of regulatory rules that apply equally to all competitors. The industry understands there is push for more competition in the commercial passenger vehicle sector and does not oppose it. However, competition and safety are not mutually exclusive concepts and safety should not be compromised to account for the inadequate business models of some newer market entrants. However, this isn’t competition. These services are illegal, which makes it very hard to argue that they are legitimate sources of competition. The idea that the taxi industry wants to be protected is completely false and misleading. The taxi industry is regulated, not protected, and these regulations are there for good reason. If they are wrong or misplaced they should be amended for all service providers, but until then the law should be respected. The taxi industry realises there are powerful commercial forces behind the ride sharing schemes. We remain surprised and concerned by their apparent contempt for Australian law. Only after a cynical media relations strategy was leaked to Fairfax media have one of these groups sought to meet the Victorian regulator to discuss their product. Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry It remains ironic that so many media commentators seem willing to applaud products that refuse to adhere to the law, while criticising those that do. I was pleased to attend a Taxi Services Commission Consultative Committee meeting on 12 May where Graeme Samuel was happy to reinforce the message that ride share product Uber X is in contravention of Victorian commercial passenger law and that the TSC is taking this matter seriously. In relation to more operational matters the VTA has lodged submissions responding to the Excessive Entry and Consumer Interest tests, the proposed new licence Zones, the conditions to be included in Driver Agreements and an application for authorisation with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Finally, welcome to new members who signed up over the last month, it’s great to have you on board. I know there is still a lot of angst and concern out there. I have recently written to our country and regional members to express this. However, I would ask that you remember you are not alone and many face the same challenges. If you require assistance, no matter how large or small, please do not hesitate to contact us. D June 2014 |5

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Region news It beggars belief to think that at this point in time, country and regional operators have to apply to the ACCC for permission to adjust fares in cooperative networks. When you cut through the bureaucratic and political jargon of the Inquiry, what has been achieved? Putting aside all the commentary about industry woes etc. (not that the media reports on the many great things our industry does on a daily basis), the fundamental purpose of any business is profit. Despite the most recent announcement, the lack of regular fare adjustments is really beginning to threaten a number of businesses. No profit compromises the ability to maintain things and replace vehicles. The shift to a mandated 55/45 fare box split will only put more pressure on operators. Operators that ‘take the risk’ to pay for vehicles, fuel (with rapidly increasing prices), tyres, registration, vehicle servicing, cleaning, insurance, workers compensation, business insurance etc. will not see a reasonable return. Country taxis provide service to our communities on an ‘on demand basis’. This is achieved by the hard working drivers who work with us. Short fare refusal? Not in the country. Many fares are only $7 or $8. Jobs are completed efficiently and cheerfully. After all you probably have known these elderly or disabled customers and their families for years. Country taxi operators are an integral part of the community in which we operate, providing services such as ‘pop into the chemist for me will you love’. Short jobs are part and parcel of operating in the country. Our local knowledge is often put to good use. For example, phone rings, customer says they are from Melbourne visiting their bush block for the weekend but don’t quite know the address. The driver simply asks who did you purchase the block from? Or ask for visible landmarks. Customer is located. That is the Country Knowledge test at its best. The reliance on country taxis is often underestimated by those who do not need such service. But for those who use taxis on a regular basis for essentials such as medical appointments, grocery shopping and hospital visits our presence is appreciated and they let us know. To keep Country Taxi business operating means the continual pursuit of work. Offering our services to as many organisations as possible. Explaining that we offer personal, point to point, transport for their clients, no charge for waiting for the return trip, ringing family when arriving at home. What other industry in the country can achieve these outcomes for their customers? Is it too much to ask for a decent return for what we do? Shane Burke St. Arnaud Taxi Service The ability to control one’s destiny as a taxi service provider to our community has been severely eroded by the decisions of this Government and the Taxi Industry Inquiry. D 6 | June 2014 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry

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PRICE The VTA supports the deregulation of taxi fares in country and regional Victoria and the introduction of a price notification process. However, the price notification policy requires fares to be set as notified by operators which means operators who form part of multi-operator cooperative networks in country and regional areas risk breaching federal competition law should they wish to set a consistent price for their services as a network. During May, the Victorian Taxi As- notification sociation finalised and submitted an application for authorisation to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). The application seeks to secure authorisation for the formation of an arrangement or understanding between two or more taxi operators who form part of a multi-operator cooperative booking network in country or regional taxi licence zones as to maximum fares charged for booked and contracted taxi work. Authorisation would mean operators who form co-operative networks in country areas could discuss and agree a schedule of maximum fares for their services with the risk of prosecution under federal competition law. The VTA eagerly anticipates being able to communicate the outcome of this process to the industry. In the meantime, if you have any concerns for the impact of price notification on your business or have any questions about the authorisation application, contact the VTA on 9676 2635. D 2014 VTA CONFERENCE & GALA DINNER CELEBRATING 50 YEARS 23 -24 SEPTEMBER 2014 CONFERENCE - LANGHAM HOTEL, SOUTHBANK / GALA - ZINC, FEDERATION SQUARE SAVE THE DATE MORE DETAILS COMING SOON 8 | June 2014 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry

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Ride Sharing APPS What are ride-sharing apps? As discussed in the VTA CEO’s editorial this month, ride-sharing apps (RSAs) have recently entered the Australian passenger transport market. These apps promote themselves as merely facilitating car pooling whereby private citizens in private cars can offer to transport each other. In fact, they are a thinly veiled attempt to avoid state regulation of commercial passenger services. They clearly do not facilitate car pooling as that term is intended in the legislation. As the law currently stands, regardless of whether these services call themselves taxis or hire cars, they are operating a commercial passenger service without accreditation and therefore breaking the law. The Victorian Taxi Association (VTA) has congratulated the Taxi Services Commission (TSC) on the hard line they have taken in relation to illegal ride-sharing apps such as UberX. The TSC has stated that they have sent over 30 fines to drivers who were using illegal ride-sharing apps. These apps facilitate payments to members of the public, who may not have undertaken training or safety checks, and are providing an unregulated lift service. Regulation of commercial passenger services Let the VTA’s position be clear - the taxi industry does not seek to stand in the way of competition. The RSAs, however, are not legitimate competition. The law has been established in its current form, after significant consideration and numerous reviews, to ensure that the travelling public is protected. If the RSAs are to be allowed to operate, they must do so within the existing legal framework which has been established to ensure that drivers are well trained and vehicles are safe. Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry 10| June 2014

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The law should not be changed or ignored to meet the inadequate and unsafe business models of new market entrants. We are all familiar with the view that regulation can stifle competition, however, that is not the case with the licensing of drivers, vehicles and booking services - these regulations exist to protect the customer and the driver. able drivers, adequate insurance, and the ability to enforce all of these requirements. Provision of safe and efficient taxi services would be severely undermined should public confidence, particularly in relation to safety, be compromised. Competition & innovation It is a common argument in articles expounding the advantages of RSAs that the industry’s criticism is driven by the fear of competition. This is apparent, for example, in the article by Michael Pascoe for the Age on 24 April ‘No tears shed for backward taxi industry’. The taxi industry is not ‘protected’ - it’s regulated, in large part to ensure safety and efficiency for the public. The taxi industry is not opposed to the introduction of innovations like smart phone apps - in fact, it was the industry itself through booking companies that introduced them. However, the industry will argue for is a set of regulatory rules that apply equally to all competitors. D Driver & passenger safety It is also important to consider the driver, a matter which appears to have been overlooked in this discussion to date. Many of the reforms from the recent Victorian Taxi Industry Inquiry (the Inquiry) were designed to ensure a better deal for drivers. It is hard to see how these protections can be assured in the case of unregulated services. Finally, the RSAs are in stark contrast with the views of the Inquiry. In particular, the Inquiry was of the firm view that nothing should be done that could have a detrimental impact on the safety of the public. Specifically, appropriate vehicles, knowledge- Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry June 2014 | 11

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LICENCE There are currently over 100 taxi licence zones. From 1 July there will be four. It is important to understand that taxis licensed to a particular zone will be able to operate anywhere within that zone from 1 July. Correction – The taxi licence zone table published in the May edition of Taxi Talk was inaccurate and the zones country regional metropolitan urban presentation has led to some confusion in the industry. The VTA apologises for any confusion caused and has included the revised table below which accurately outlines where taxis allocated to the four new licence zones can work from 1 July 2014. D 12 | June 2014 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry

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Call 1300 883 703 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry

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To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Victorian Taxi Association (VTA), the VTA will launch its 50 faces, 50 years project to profile a range of individuals who have been involved in the industry in various ways throughout the years. From owners and operators, passengers and drivers, to regulators and suppliers to the industry, the VTA will put together a story that spans the years and looks to the future. The characters who make up this industry are what keeps it unique and exciting. The anniversary will also be marked with a gala dinner, driver specific events and the launch of a publication documenting the history of the association. The VTA welcomes contributions to this publication or recommendations and volunteers for the 50 Faces, 50 Years project. Please contact Alana Condon, VTA Membership Services Co-ordinator on 03 9676 2635 or email acondon@victaxi.com.au for further information and to express your interest in becoming involved.D 50 FACES YEARS & supporting the Victorian taxi industry during this time of reform TAXI finance We are accredited with over 30 banks and other lenders Easy car loan approvals... no tax rEturns rEquirEd* * conditions apply cheap finance rates... ALL TAXI LICENCES & VHA CAR FINANCE all taxi vehicles (cars and vans, VHA vehicles, limos and other) cheap rates best service fast approvals Phone yarrafinance experts in commercial finance 96 Garden Road, Clayton (near Ikea) 9561 8876 $ 30,000 AVAILABLE GAP COVER 14 | June 2014 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry

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Driver of the Month Kumar Tazzy, Silver Top Taxis, is our Driver of the Month. He came from India to Melbourne in 2009. As a result of an accident, he had to leave his fabrication job and chose to change careers and become a taxi driver. Kumar has been driving for Silver Top for 2 1/2 years. "A clean and tidy car and a good Melway can make your day run a little smoother," says Kumar. D June 2014 | 15

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