Taxi Talk August 2014


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Taxi Talk magazine August 2014 edition

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TAXI TALK ISSUE NO 556 AUGUST 2014 TAXI VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY MAGAZINE Official journal of the Victorian Taxi Association Print Post Approved number 100004912 VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY HEALESVILLE SANCTUARY WINTER WONDERLAND Healesville Sanctuary is encouraging everyone to come out of hibernation this winter and help them put a freeze on extinction. You’ll need your winter woollies and gumboots as you discover some of our most precious endangered animals that live above the snowline. Experience faux snow play, sit around the campfire with keepers telling some of Australia’s favourite classic children’s stories and share dreaming stories and fire stick making with Murrundindi.


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INSIDE... 4 6 16 18 22 36 Victorian Taxi Association editorial Implementation of Government industry reform initiatives. 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 Bailment agreement VTA’s model bailment agreement update. 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: ................................ 100 years of ANZAC The spirit lives 2014 - 2018. 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 Taxi Services Commission Updates on issues affecting the Victorian Taxi Industry SUBSCRIPTION DETAILS 1 year = $35 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 Direct Deposit to BSB 033065 A/c 312786 Mail Cheque to Trade Promotions Pty Ltd PO Box 2345, Mt Waverley VIC 3149 Want to know as soon as Taxi Talk is uploaded to our website? Become a member of, and you will get an email immediately the next edition has been uploaded. Register at 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 August 2014 |3


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compulsory implied am not often lost for words, but really I don’t know where to start this month. To say it’s been busy would be somewhat of an understatement. I feel it is important to discuss a couple of technical matters that have been resulting in a lot of questions, so please excuse me if my editorial is little dry this month. conditions I David Samuel VTA CEO 4 | August 2014


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I would like to start by trying to clarify a couple of things. Firstly, the compulsory third party property insurance requirements for operators do not commence until 30 September - so please don’t rush to sign a contract without being sure what you are signing is compliant with the new regulations. Our understanding, and it is just that because little clarification appears to be available, is that an operator will be required to have a third party property insurance contract in their name after 30 September 2014 providing cover of at least $5,000,000. The policy must: • be issued by a corporation authorised under the Insurance Act 1973 (Cth) to carry on an insurance business; • be held in the Operator’s own name, and • not be held in any name other than the Operator’s. • From 30 September 2014, also indemnify drivers of their taxis against liability in respect of property damage caused by or arising out of the use of the Taxi-cab. Following publication of the draft driver agreement implied conditions, the VTA have received a high volume of enquiries relating to the ability of an operator to charge the driver ‘fees’. We have no intention of telling anyone how to run their business except to say it obviously needs to operate within the auspices of the law. The implied conditions are clear that the operator must pay all ‘operational’ and ‘maintenance’ costs. The implied conditions do not relate to any relationship other than that between an operator and a driver. If a cost charged by a third party to a driver is deemed to be an ‘operational’ or ‘maintenance’ cost then the driver would be entitled to seek reimbursement from the operator. In large part, it appears the confusion about how to structure new bailment agreements is stemming from a lack of clarity regarding what constitutes an “operational” and/or “maintenance” Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry cost. I am led to believe at the time of writing this article the TSC are working on a guidance note which will assist in clarifying these matters. We have also received a number of questions regarding metering of contract and set run work. The TSC have confirmed that operators are permitted to enter into agreements, be they formal (such as contracts) or ad hoc (such as a discount offered to a particular customer at the time of travel) to charge a passenger an agreed amount so long as: • The customer understands what he/she will be charged before the trip begins • The agreed amount is less than the maximum regulated/notified maximum fares. This represents current practice in the Victorian taxi industry and there has been no change to licence conditions, taxi-cab regulations or relevant legislation which would affect this. It is also important that operators and driver understand that regulations require the meter to be on at all times there is a passenger in the taxi. We recognise how much is going on in your commercial and business lives at the moment but urge you all to do what you can to ensure you are compliant with the law. Not doing so makes you an easy target for investigation and prosecution. The VTA would also like to extend our congratulations to Andrew Skelton, former Chief Operating Officer of 13 CABS in Victoria, on his recent appointment as Chief Executive Officer and Russell Balding AO on his appointment as Chairman of Cabcharge Australia Limited. We look forward to working with the new team. Finally, I would just like to finish up by saying how sad I was to hear of the closure of Ouyen taxis. Ross Missen did a tremendous job servicing that community by himself. As many locals pointed out upon hearing the news, the real loser here is the community who will be left without a taxi service and indeed their only means of non-private transport. Thank you Ross for your contribution. D August 2014 |5


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VTA MODEL bailment agreement The VTA is currently finalising a revised version of their model bailment agreement. The new model agreement will retain the practical and operational clauses that still apply from the existing model agreement, with revisions and additions which account for the new driver agreement implied conditions. More on the implied conditions are on page 8 in this edition of Taxi Talk. The VTA encourages all operators and drivers to ensure they have a written bailment agreement. If you would like a copy of the new model agreement when it is available, please email your details to admin@ D 50 faces, 50 years 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 keep 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 for further information and to express your interest in becoming involved.D 6 | August 2014 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry


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DRIVER AGREEMENTS you need to know.... On 30 June 2014, a number of driver agreement implied conditions became law. The implied conditions automatically apply to any relationship between a driver and an operator, even if the conditions are not included in a written agreement. It is the obligation of all operators to ensure they are complying with the implied conditions. We are aware there has been a great deal of change to adapt to over the past weeks so have again provided below a summary of the conditions. The full details can be found on the VTA website ( Record keeping Any operator must keep records of the following and provide copies to drivers at the end of every calendar month (at least): • • • All payments made between the driver and operator All shifts worked Gross fares per shift (including damage to the taxi) and for costs including legal costs associated with such vehicle damage. Leave Where the driver has worked regularly for the operator for 12 months or more (average of three shifts or more per week), the driver must be allowed to take a period of up to four weeks of unpaid leave on a pro rata basis. Maintenance Operators are responsible for all operating and maintenance costs associated with the taxi. Bond • A total of $1,000 may be collected as a bond, which can be collected incrementally, and can be used: • • In the event the driver withholds shift earnings; or The taxi or any item of equipment is damaged due to the driver’s conduct. Insurance • The operator must insure the taxi with a policy providing cover of at least $5,000,000 which is: • • • • • issued by a corporation authorised under the Insurance Act 1973; held in the operator’s own name; and not held in any name other than the operator’s. • The bond only need be held in a designated bank account and a receipt issued Disputes about use of the bond can be referred to the TSC’s dispute resolution process 55/45 The 55/45 mandated fare box split applies to all metered charges, but not to unmetered charges such as tolls, airport charges and electronic payment surcharges. The operator is responsible for any applicable excess The TSC may request evidence of insurance at any time and must be provided to the driver upon request The operator must indemnify the driver for vehicle damage • • Remember, even if your current agreements have not been updated, the implied conditions apply and will be enforced.  D Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry 8 | August 2014


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REGION News In my 17 years involved as owner and operator of Benalla Taxis, I have seen many changes. With all these changes brings apprehension, but in most cases things have not been as bad as I first feared. In saying that, every year seems to be just that bit tougher than the previous, especially the last six years when we had to absorb the rising costs of fuel etc, without a fare increase. Looking at all the challenges we have faced as operators, nothing can compare to what we faced on the 1st July 2014. This day of course was the day our drivers received 55% of the total fare, and as much as we try and tell ourselves everything will be ok, this will be by far my toughest time in the industry that I love. When we finally received a 12% increase in May this year, then turn around and lose 10% to our drivers six weeks later, this is a bitter pill to swallow. I know that as country operators, we have the option to set our own fares, but we also have to think of the most important people in all of this, our customers. If I were to increase our fares by 10% today, to get back the extra 10% that the drivers receive that would be a 22% total increase in two months. That’s a big increase in anyone’s terms, especially given most of our customers are on a low income. So I will continue to operate on 2% increase in six years until such time as we feel we can increase the fares without hurting our loyal customers too much. And with the change to 45/55 owner-driver split brings other imposes, with the increased income to drivers means an increase in our work cover premiums. Not to mention the extra book work required for both our drivers and the TSC. We are spending more time in the office, when more than ever we should be spending this time behind the wheel. I’m all for our drivers earning more money but when that comes at my expense, it hurts. Especially given that we, the owners, are the ones who have everything to lose, as we were the ones who put our hands in our pockets to purchase these businesses in the first place. We are the ones who lay awake in Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry bed each night thinking about the shifts we need to cover, or the vehicles that need to be off the road to carry out repairs. As much as I appreciate my drivers, they are not the ones who have to worry about who is going to cover the work over the next few days, while one of the cabs is in the panel beaters being repaired. Repairs of which I have to pay for, and in some cases would have been caused by them. I could go on forever and I haven’t even mentioned the changes to our license conditions and the uncertainty this has created. Hopefully I’m wrong, and I will look back in time and think why I was so worried in the first place. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will be the case so we must continue to lobby those responsible for these decisions, which have had and will continue to have a big impact on our future. In the meantime we have no choice, unlike our drivers who can jump ship anytime, to ride out these tough times, and hopefully look forward to some smoother waters. David O’Donoghue Benalla Taxis D 10 | August 2014


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Driver of the Month Our Driver of the Month for August 2014 is Ron Holandsjo. Ron has been driving taxis for Silver Top Taxis for 18 years, always with a smile. His love of driving and carrying passengers to their destinations is his passion. Ron believes that he is lucky to still have a job in this economic climate. D August 2014 | 11


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TAXI INSURANCE implied conditions Whilst the Taxi Services Commission will not give advice as to the compliance or otherwise of particular insurance products on the market, the VTA encourages all operators to carefully consider the new requirements when speaking with current or potential providers. We recommend you refer to the below ‘implied conditions’ regarding insurance to ensure you ask the right questions of any potential supplier. An operator must hold a third party property insurance policy with cover of at least $5,000,000 which is: From 30 September 2014, it will be a regulatory requirement for all Victorian taxi operators to hold a third-party property insurance policy for all taxis they operate. supporting the Victorian taxi industry during this time of reform • issued by a corporation authorised under the Insurance Act 1973 (Cth) to carry on an insurance business; • • held in the Operator’s own name, and not held in any name other than the Operator’s Between now and 30 September 2014, the VTA anticipates there will be several new providers to enter the metropolitan taxi insurance market and we encourage all operators to be careful when considering insurance products to ensure they are compliant after 30 September 2014. At the same time, indemnity requirements will come in to effect meaning all operators will be required to indemnify drivers for vehicle damage (including damage to the taxi) and for costs including legal costs associated with such vehicle damage. D 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 12 | August 2014 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry


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PUBLIC Register Phase two of the Taxi Services Commission public register of taxi industry participants is due to ‘go live’ in September 2014. This will include contact details for all listed individuals and companies. All industry participants will soon receive a letter which nominates the details proposed for inclusion on the register. If the address you have registered with the TSC is your home address, and you do not wish for this information to be available online, you should make arrangements to change your address details with the TSC to an alternative address or PO Box. D 2014 VTA CONFERENCE & GALA DINNER CELEBRATING 50 YEARS 23 -24 SEPTEMBER 2014 CONFERENCE - LANGHAM HOTEL, SOUTHBANK / GALA - ZINC, FEDERATION SQUARE 2014 is an exciting year for the Victorian Taxi Association (VTA) as we mark our 50th anniversary. In celebrating this milestone, the VTA is hosting the 2014 VTA Conference & Gala Dinner. The Conference will be held at the iconic Langham Hotel, Southgate on Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 September 2014. The Program comprises of speakers from a variety of fields who will present on a range of topics impacting the Victorian taxi industry. The 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner and Cocktail Hour is scheduled for Tuesday 23 September at Zinc, Federation Square. The impressive venue is located on the banks of the Yarra River with breathtaking views. Guest speakers and entertainment are sure to make for a memorable night. Visit the VTA website for registration and further details at Be quick, numbers are limited. The 2014 Conference is definitely not to be missed. The VTA looks forward to your attendance at what promises to be a great event. D 14| August 2014 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry


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