Transport Matters Party leader Rod Barton has called for an increase in the maximum regulated taxi fares of 10 percent immediately with annual CPI increases in the future.
Taxi fares are prescribed by the Essential Services Commission, but have been stagnant for the past five years, increasing only to incorporate increased charges on tolls, airport ground fees and the $1 trip levy imposed to fund industry compensation following deregulation in August 2017.
“Ride share arrived in Australia and created a market for cheap and unsafe rides. Two years on everyone is suffering, with drivers across the board, including ride share, reporting hourly rates of less than $10,” said Mr Barton.
“This is unsustainable and unfair – these public transport workers get no sick pay, no holiday pay, no superannuation and certainly no overtime and there are questions about whether statutory work cover obligations are being met.
“Competing with heavily subsidised ride share companies on unsustainable pricing models hurts drivers and passengers in the medium to long term as it creates unrealistic expectations and draconian working conditions.”
Deregulation in August 2017 was supposed to create a level playing field for taxis and ride share operators, but the Government didn’t kick the goal.
“They’ve clearly hit the post here – these Victorian public transport drivers are slugged with increasing costs on all sides and no way of improving their working conditions,” he said.
Costs for taxis are increasing, with increases in CityLink toll rates, airport ground access fees and the $1 trip levy, and none of this goes to the driver.
“The costs of running a cab – soaring fuel prices, insurance and proper road worthy certificates – keep climbing but these guys have no way to recoup those costs.
Mr Barton said no one would win if the market for rides continued to compete on price.
“It’s a race to the bottom and we’re seeing a lot of very unsafe practises like touting, unsafe cars and cash rides all undermining what should be a well regulated, safe and reliable part of Victoria’s public transport system,” he said.
“If an independent tribunal says politicians deserve a pay rise then there is certainly a case for some of the most hardworking and lowest paid transport workers in Victoria to get an increase. It’s only fair.”