Taxi Talk September 2014


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September 2014 Taxi Talk magazine

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TAXI TALK September ISSUE NO 557 TAXI VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY MAGAZINE Official journal of the Victorian Taxi Association Print Post Approved number 100004912 VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY MELBOURNE STAR OBSERVATION WHEEL Since opening in December 2013, hundreds of thousands of people have enjoyed a ride on Melbourne’s newest tourism attraction, the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. Open daily, the Melbourne Star offers guests a 30 minute flight that takes in magnificent views across the city and beyond, including Mount Macedon and the Dandenong Ranges. It is a perfect introduction to Melbourne, day or night.


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INSIDE... 4 6 12 18 22 32 34 Victorian Taxi Association editorial Time for action on ride share apps. TAXI VOICE OF THE TAXI INDUSTRY MAGAZINE OFFICIAL JOURNAL OF THE VICTORIAN TAXI ASSOCIATION Bailee drivers What is a bailee driver?. MAGAZINE EDITOR ........................ Toni F. Peters VTA EDITOR ....................................David Samuel FOUNDER ....................................Stanley F. White PUBLISHER ..................Trade Promotions Pty Ltd Licence statistics Taxi and hire car licence and assignment statistics for last month 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: ................................ Taxi Insurance Third-party insurance is now compulsory DISPLAY ADVERTISEMENTS Taxi Services Commission Updates on issues affecting the Victorian Taxi Industry 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 Events Calendar Dates and locations of various Melbourne major events SUBSCRIPTION DETAILS 1 year = $35 CLASSIFIED ADVERTISEMENTS $30 for 35 words, $60 for 70 words, etc. Email or Mail your classified advertisement by the 15th of the month prior to publication date, together with your payment. World News Articles regarding overseas taxi industries 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 auth/signup Taxi Talk magazine, a monthly publication for the Victorian taxi industry, is published by Trade Promotions Pty Ltd in collaboration with the Victorian Taxi Association Inc (VTA). The VTA is the peak industry body in Victoria, fostering the interests and wellbeing of taxi-cab drivers, taxi-cab permit holders and Taxi Booking Services across the state. Taxi Talk magazine is wholly owned by Trade Promotions Pty Ltd. COPYRIGHT © Trade Promotions Pty Ltd 2014. All rights reserved. The “Taxi Talk – Voice of the taxi industry” heading and logos are trademarks of Stanley F. White. Copyright of articles and photographs of Taxi Talk magazine remain with the individual contributors and may not be reproduced without permission. Views expressed in any article in Taxi Talk are those of the individual contributor and not necessarily those of the publisher. The publisher cannot accept any responsibility for any opinions, information, errors or omissions in this publication. To the extent permitted by law, the publisher will not be liable for any damages including special, exemplary, punitive or consequential damages (including but not limited to economic loss or loss of profit or revenue or loss of opportunity) or indirect loss or damage of any kind arising from the contract, tort or otherwise, even if advised of the possibility of such loss of profits or damage. Advertisements must comply with the relevant provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Responsibility for compliance with the Act rests with the person, company or advertising agency submitting the advertisement. Phone: 03 9676 2635................ Fax: 03 9676 2643 PRESIDENT .................................... Kevin Gange VICE PRESIDENT ................. Stephen Armstrong CHIEF EXECUTIVE ....................... David Samuel Taxi Talk has agreed to advertise taxi clubs because those clubs have stated that they and their products comply with all applicable laws and regulations relating to insurance for taxi operators. Neither Taxi Talk nor VTA has independently verified these taxi clubs’ compliance, and they give no warranty and make no representation as to whether the taxi clubs are compliant. Operators should satisfy themselves as to a taxi club’s compliance with laws and regulations through their own enquiries. These advertisements do not constitute recommendations by Taxi Talk or VTA that operators purchase insurance products from taxi clubs. Neither Taxi Talk nor VTA accept any liability or responsibility for any loss or damage suffered or incurred by any operator because a taxi club or its product or service is non-compliant. Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry September 2014 |3


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TIME FOR ACTION on ride share apps lease do not assume that my editorial this month is an attempt to cover off on everything that is going on within our industry at the moment. I simply don’t have time or space to achieve this. We have certainly embarked on a new and challenging path. P David Samuel VTA CEO 4 | September 2014


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A number of significant issues have arisen since the last edition of Taxi Talk and I am proud of the way my staff have dealt with them in a pragmatic and responsive fashion. As a result, we have been able to deliver a number of sensible changes to government process and policy. I must start by noting the sad and sudden passing of Philip (Phil) Franet during August. I did not work with Phil but understand that he was an industry stalwart who followed his father into taxis in Victoria. Phil held positions as both CEO and President of the VTA and we thank him for his service to the industry. Our thoughts are with his family. I am of course aware that the headline issues remain for many within the industry and there is still a great degree of anxiety. I get reminded of this on a daily basis when I receive correspondence from various industry participants. I recently got an email from an existing licence holder who relayed her story to me. This is a person who worked hard for many years only to find at the end of that working life that the thing they thought they had invested in no longer contained the value it once did, completely turning this person’s life on its head. I don’t want to re-open a debate about the treatment of licence holders, but I do not understand how one cannot feel for people who find themselves in this situation, regardless of political persuasion and what economic doctrine one embraces. Of the issues that we are currently dealing with the one that perhaps poses the most significant long term threat to our service is the emergence of ride sharing products - for example Uber X. These providers refuse to abide by the two most critical legal underpinnings of any commercial passenger service; that the vehicle is licensed to provide the service, and the driver is accredited to do so. Ride sharing services adhere to neither of these principles and are therefore simply not legal. Both of these fundamentals are vital to sustainable commercial passenger services. This is not, as our critics would suggest, because we want to retain high licence values and overcharge customers - quite the opposite. The law has been established in its current form, after significant consideration and countless reviews, to ensure that the travelling public is protected. The law should not be changed or ignored to meet the Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry 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. The idea that the market will take account for safety is absurd. Safety and service have to be pro-actively managed, you can’t deal with either after the event. The notion that a ‘star rating’ on a smart phone application can replace criminal background checks and vehicle licensing is beyond ridiculous. The rules for the provision of taxi services, especially as they relate to consumer safety, should apply equally to all. They should not be bent to meet the flawed ride sharing business model - it is a slippery slope. In any case, those who run these services have made a clear decision that it is cheaper and easier to avoid the law than operate their business within it. This is the model they have adopted around the world, beginning in North America. Unless the authorities revise the law to suit their requirements these large multinational firms simply ignore the law and pay the fines - although some drivers are reporting they are not as generous as they claim to be in this respect. These products are simply thumbing their nose at governments and regulators around the world for their own commercial advantage. It might appear cool and new but this is nothing more than a cynical attempt to earn a quick dollar at the expense of our community and ultimately sustainable commercial passenger services. I can assure you a lot of work is being done in this space and I hope to be able to share more with you next month. Suffice to say this is not an issue that is peculiar to Victoria and as a result, a national, if not international, approach is necessary. Please take care and do not hesitate to get in touch if you have an issue. We are always happy to hear from you. D September 2014 |5


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BAILEE DRIVERS What is a bailee driver? Taxi drivers whose sole responsibility in the industry is to drive shifts using their Permit Holder’s (formerly known as Operators) taxi are called ‘bailee drivers’. The term ‘bailee’ is derived from the word ‘bailment’ which is the legal term for the kind of arrangement between a driver and a Permit Holder for use of the taxi. If a relationship exhibits certain characteristics, it will, according to law, be a bailment relationship (no matter how the parties or anyone else decides to describe it). Those characteristics are as follows: 1. the delivery of the exclusive right of possession by the bailor (Permit Holder); 2. the voluntary assumption of possession by the bailee (driver); 3. an assumption of the responsibility by the bailee (driver) to keep the goods (taxi) safe; and 4. the obligation to return the thing bailed (the taxi). The essence of bailment is that possession is transferred from the bailor and is voluntarily accepted by the bailee, but ownership is not. This is clearly the case between a Permit Holder and a taxi driver. Bailee Drivers are self-employed and are individual small businesses. They agree to terms with Permit Holders to take possession of and use a licensed taxi for a period of time and in exchange pay a percentage of the earnings, and at the end of that period of time return the taxi to the Permit Holder. This agreement may be formalised in a written bailment agreement. The nature of the bailment relationship has been tested in court several times and is a clearly understood legal structure under which taxi drivers and Permit Holder (Operators) work. There has been some speculation in the industry of late about whether taxi drivers should still be referred to as ‘bailee drivers’. So is a taxi driver still a bailee driver? Yes. The idea that as a result of recent reforms bailee drivers no longer exist is false. There have been no changes in the recent reforms which affect the legal nature of the bailment relationship between drivers and Permit Holders (Operators). The introduction of ‘implied conditions’ are, in practice, a set of minimum standards which apply to all taxi bailment relationships, whether the two parties have a written bailment agreement or not. There have been some attempts in these implied conditions which demonstrate a desire by some to imply a level of control by Permit Holders over bailee drivers which does not exist. For example, the requirement that Permit Holders grant drivers four weeks unpaid leave annually. In reality, the Permit Holder has no authority to grant or deny leave to a bailee driver. The driver is free to continue to drive or suspend driving for the Permit Holder at any time, for any period both parties are independent business people. Despite the fact the Taxi Services Commission have chosen to call their template agreement a ‘driver agreement’, the name of the document does not change the legal relationship between the parties. It is in the eyes of the law, still a bailment agreement. The VTA will soon release a revised model bailment agreement, please email if you would like us to send you a copy when finalised. D Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry 6 | September 2014


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VTA MODEL bailment agreement As we have been reporting for some time now, the VTA has developed a new model bailment agreement. This new 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. The VTA are grateful for the feedback of several experienced operators on our draft bailment agreement which is now final pending response from the TSC on two important issues that have been identified in the past fortnight. The TSC’s current ‘driver agreement template’ contains a significant error in relation to the insurance and indemnity provisions and is not consistent with the implied conditions. If you have used this agreement you should discard it. It has also been identified that the implied conditions which relate to the 45/55 sharing of the gross fare box are written in such a way that would require Permit Holders (Operators) to pay 55% of ‘metered’ fares to drivers, rather than actual fares collected. This is particularly relevant in the case of set-run and contract arrangements where fares collected may not match the amount shown on the meter (which is permitted under the law). The TSC have confirmed that this was not their intention and have advised that industry participants should continue current practice until the issue can be addressed in the implied conditions. Once a response to these issues has been provided by the TSC we will distribute our model bailment agreement for use. If you would like us to send you a copy, please email your details to The VTA encourages all Permit Holders and drivers to ensure they have a written bailment agreement. D REGION news The VTA held a round of region meetings during August. The meetings took place in Ballarat, Bendigo, Sale and Cobram. The meetings provided an opportunity for the VTA to bring members up-to-date with the Government reform implementation and the latest industry news. There was lively discussion on matters of regional significance. The main issues discussed revolved around the country price notification system, 45/55 driver-operator split, licence zones, and the MPTP . The VTA thanks all those who attended, contributed to the conversation and shared their experiences and insights. D 8 | September 2014 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry


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MORE PASSENGERS at Melbourne Airport Taxi drivers may have experienced increased work opportunities at Melbourne Airport due to growth in passenger traffic over the past year. The airport has reported that more than 7.7 million international and 23.3 million domestic passengers came through Melbourne Airport during the 2013/14 financial year. This is a growth of 9% for international and 2% for domestic passengers, compared to last year. Melbourne was a popular destination for Asian visitors with a large number of international passengers arriving from Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and China. Taxi drivers do a fantastic job transporting passengers to and from the airport, and this passenger growth is an incentive to continue servicing Melbourne Airport, as more passengers means more taxi work. . One of the first people to make an impression on a tourist is often a taxi driver. By continuing to provide a first rate service, not only does the driver enhance the visitors’ experience, but it influences them to use taxis again during their stay. The Victorian Taxi Association continues to represent the taxi driver community in its dealings with Melbourne Airport and presents the views that are shared with them when possible. D Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry 2014 VTA CONFERENCE & GALA DINNER CELEBRATING 50 YEARS 23 -24 SEPTEMBER 2014 CONFERENCE - LANGHAM HOTEL, SOUTHBANK / GALA - ZINC, FEDERATION SQUARE REGISTER NOW! 2014 - 50th anniversary of the Victorian Taxi Association In celebrating this milestone, the VTA is hosting the 2014 VTA Conference on Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 September. The 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner and Cocktail Hour is on Tuesday 23 September at Zinc, Federation Square. This 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. Sponsorship opportunities were filled early, allowing the VTA to keep costs for attendees low. Visit the VTA website for registration details Registration closes Friday 12 September. 10 | September 2014


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UTC • Taxis are covered by a major Australian Insurance Company for 3rd Party Property damage up to $30 million. • Quick repairs and brand new parts used. • Fast recovery for loss of income. • Lower annual contribution. • Additional Policies available Public Liability and Personal Accident. PROVIDING COMPREHENSIVE & 3RD PARTY COVER FOR VICTORIAN TAXIS AND HIRE CARS TAXI TRINITY Always refer to the product disclosure statement for product information before making any financial decisions For more information contact Jaspreet - 0433 171 422 or Manvinder - 0433 413 628 Phone 9303 9069 Fax 9303 7084 Email TRINITY BODY WORKS • • • • OZWAY TRANS • • • • Taxi resprays from $1180 (conditions apply) Quality smash repairs Quality equipment and premium paints Quick repair time Taxi Shifts Available (Day and Night) Close changeovers Clean and good taxis 24/7 roadside assistance Contact Maninder Pal 0498 259 986 or 9303 9069 Contact Gaurav 0424 079 000 or 9303 9069


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$284,429 transfers average metro licence transfer value for the month of July 2014 TAXI VICTORIAN TAXI LICENCE STATISTICS All data on this page is provided by the Taxi Services Commission and is for the month of July 2014 Monthly Compliance outcomes Taxi Inspections Rectification Notices Infringement Notices Notices of Unroadworthiness Official Warnings 1,342 288 42 10 10 Licences Metropolitan including Peak Services and 507 WAT vehicles Number of Taxi 4,539 441 325 164 Urban & Large Regional including 76 WAT vehicles Regional including 74 WAT vehicles HIRE CAR LICENCE VALUE $35,270 average metro hire car licence transfer value for the month of July 2014 Country including 37 WAT vehicles Total including 694 WAT vehicles Number of drivers Active drivers Accredited drivers 33,119 16,130 5,469 Number of Victorian Hire Vehicle Assignments metro taxis outer suburban urban taxis taxi hire car average metro assignment price $2,052 Licences Licence transfers 997 85 693 976 2,751 7 1 0 Metropolitan Hire Cars Country Hire Cars Special Purpose Vehicles Restricted Hire Cars TOTAL country taxis hire car special special vehicles RH vehicles 0 10 5 5 5 Licences issued 220 5 The metro taxi licence average price of $284,429 is based on the 7 genuine market based transactions that occurred in the metropolitan zone during July 2014. The Taxi Services Commission’s standard practice is to only count those licence transfers where a genuine market based transaction has occurred. They do this by applying a number of standard business rules. The aim of these business rules is to identify genuine market based transfers of taxi licences and to base average price calculations on these transactions only. Therefore, where it appears a non-market based licence transfer has occurred, these transactions are excluded in the calculation of licence values. An example is where a licence holder transfers the licence to a new business name but still retains ownership of the licence. D 12 | September 2014 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry


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Driver of the Month Our Driver of the Month for September 2014 is Zaheer Abbas Zaheer drives for West Suburban Taxis and says that WST is a great depot. He enjoys driving during the day and enjoys chatting with his passengers. D HYBRID IS THE FUTURE! VISIT MELBOURNE CITY TOYOTA LOWER YOUR OPERATING COSTS WITH HYBRID AT CAMPAIGN RA E AVAILABL TES* FINANCE 621 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne VIC Call Jennie Mann on 9282 8888 or Email *T.A.P. Pics for illustration purposes only. E&OE. LMCT 10618. MCT109605 CALL US TODAY... September 2014 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry | 13


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Pr spo oud G 20 nsor OLD Tax 14 V s of t i C icto he onf rian ere nce Unigas remains a long term supporter and fuel provider to the taxi industry and continues to service directly over 1,200 service stations around Australia. They are committed to ensure consumers have access to their fuel of choice. Australia is a major producer and exporter of LPG with the export capacity which continues to expand. This reinforces why LPG should continue as our key alternative transport fuel now and for the im- mediate future. Customers have been choosing Autogas for over 40 years because of its economical, environmental and fuel security benefits. They choose Unigas because of the exceptional customer service, value for money and convenient locations across Australia. Unigas has always recognized the impact fuel costs have on the taxi sector and is working with LPG vehicle equipment partners to develop new technologies for the Australian taxi fleet to achieve further savings on running costs. Already 100s of Hybrid and Petrol aspirated taxis have been converted to Autogas using the new technologies which are delivering taxi operators reduced operating costs and tail pipe emissions. The benefits of Autogas include: • • It is cheaper, saving consumers money. Being a clean burning, low carbon energy source, it is better for the environment. There is also an abundant supply of Autogas in Australia. • 1300 654 756 or visit www.unigas. UNIGAS is wholly owned by Elgas Ltd, Australia’s largest LPG marketer. D D OL the G f ud s o ian Pronsor ictor nce e o V sp 14 onfer 0 2 i C x Ta Lower your running costs Sprint Gas has developed high quality LPG systems for all models at the best prices for taxi operators for over 40 years. Sprint Gas was the first Company to take a Hybrid and develop a LPG system that has now been proven on taxis over many thousands of kms of use in Australia. Convert the Camry Hybrid to LPG using the Sprint Gas Hybrid system and further reduce your fuel spend by another 40% (based on VIC LPG/ULP average price). If Initial cost of the Hybrid is a concern Sprint Gas have fully engineered LPG systems for all other popular models including Camry Altise. D 14| September 2014 Taxi Talk - Voice of the Taxi Industry


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