A private members bill to stop touting and tighten safety flaws around commercial passenger vehicle registrations will be introduced by Transport Matters Party leader Rod Barton when Parliament returns in August.
Mr Barton first raised his concerns about touting with the Government in February, saying unsustainable competition in the commercial passenger vehicle industry had lead to a massive increase in touting at Melbourne Airport and major events around the city, and warning that passenger safety was at risk.
“Something needs to be done to stop touting and it needs to be done quickly because the problem is just getting worse,” said Mr Barton.
“We have continually asked the Government for action and nothing has happened, the regulator is dragging its heals, and so it’s time we forced some action on this before there is a serious incident.”
Mr Barton’s Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Amendment Bill 2019, will reinstate offences for touting, with fines of up to $8000 for each offence, and give enforcement powers to Victoria Police.
Touting laws went “out with the bathwater” when the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Reforms were introduced in August 2017. Since then the number of accredited drivers in Victoria has ballooned to over 96,000 with double the number of taxis and almost 20 times the number of hire car and ride share operators coming into the market in the last two years.
Mr Barton spearheaded the call for a parliamentary inquiry into the CPV Reforms in February, and raised then the problem of touting and his concerns about the safety of passengers. That inquiry is due to present its findings in October.
However, the escalation of touting, the proliferation of cash-jobs, and recent reports of de-registered drivers seen touting at Melbourne Airport has prompted him to introduce a Bill in the interest of public safety.
“Touting is not safe and we shouldn’t have to wait for the outcome of an inquiry, or for a serious incident to occur, before something is done to stop it. The industry has become unsustainable. This is one unexpected consequence of the socially and economically irresponsible rushed roll out of legislation that was ill-considered and unplanned,” Mr Barton said.