With the Victorian election looming, there is one critical issue that has been neglected by the major parties, the commercial passenger vehicle industry.
The industry has a ‘new’ regulator, Transport Safety Victoria, yet this mere name change has failed to alleviate the systematic issues faced by drivers, operators and passengers.
As we come into the holiday season, with Spring Racing, Christmas and New Year’s, the Victorian public will be relying on taxis, rideshare and hire cars more than ever. Rod Barton MP fears a small minority of drivers will continue behaving illegally and unethically, giving the entire industry a bad reputation.
Barton calls on whoever wins the election on November 26th to take real action and address the failures of industry reforms of 2017. Fair and just compensation for taxi licence owners must be introduced if the industry is to have a future.
Recently, New South Wales has reflected on the suffering of taxi licence holders and put more transition payments on the table. While the package does not live up to industry expectations, it remains a benchmark that is almost double the payments given to Victorian licence holders.
The problems in Victoria don’t end there. There are serious matters that must be addressed. Reports of aggressive and illegal touting are worse than ever, and taxi drivers are refusing to turn on meters at the rank. The gig economy and the surge pricing rideshare model have infiltrated the industry, acting as the gateway to further extortion, exploitation, and unethical behaviour.
Barton urges the major parties to make an election commitment to conduct an independent review of the commercial passenger vehicle industry.
It is simply not plausible, feasible or fair that Australian taxi companies have one set of rules and regulations and a taxi company from San Francisco can operate under lesser safety standards. This is a lose-lose situation for Victorian passengers and the taxpayer.
The commercial passenger vehicle sector provides an essential service to Victorians. Major parties have to rise to the challenge and propose a viable plan for the future of the industry.
Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Metropolitan and the Leader of the Transport Matters Party Rod Barton MP:
“This suffering in Victoria must be addressed because until we address this, we cannot build a viable pathway forward.”
“I call on Labor, the Coalition and the Greens to commit to fair and just compensation for Victorian licence holders and conduct an independent review of the commercial passenger vehicle industry.”
Media contact: Norm Dunn, Chief of Staff Rod Barton MP, 0438 175 113 Norm.email@example.com