Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (11:14): My question is for Minister Pulford, representing the minister for transport, Minister Carroll. I have met with the information commissioner and the privacy data protection deputy commissioner to raise issues regarding Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria’s data collection requirements. The issues have been communicated with the minister’s office and we have had no response. The data includes such things as kilometres travelled, the amount charged for the trip, time of booking request, the date, GPS coordinates and where the trip started and ended.
The industry has concerns about how the wholesale collection of such data will be used, protected and how passengers’ identities could potentially be exposed. These requests are not safety- or COVID-related. So I ask the minister: what is the justification supporting CPVV’s demands for this quantity and type of data from booking service providers in the commercial passenger vehicle industry?
What is the justification for the CPVVs requests for data?
Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business) (11:15): I thank Mr Barton for his question and his ongoing interest and advocacy for people in the commercial passenger vehicle sector. The question relates to data collection and is directed at Minister Carroll, and I will seek a response from the minister in accordance with our standing orders for Mr Barton.
Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (11:16): Thank you, Minister. CPVV is threatening taxi operators with fines of $99 000 for failing to submit the required data. Many in the commercial passenger vehicle industry do not understand why the regulator needs this data, nor do they have the technological capacity to upload this data in the required format. Given that Uber has recently been phoning those in the multipurpose taxi program, soliciting, is it reasonable to question how Uber got these phone numbers? The advice I have received from the privacy commissioner is that there exists some red flags regarding CPVV’s data collection that requires further investigation. Given the current lack of clarity, why has CPVV not ceased its threats to operators and fines attributed for non-compliance?
Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business) (11:16): I thank Mr Barton for his supplementary question, and I will seek a written response from Minister Carroll to the matters that have been raised.
UPDATE – RESPONSE FROM Minister Pulford 19 Feb 2021
As a condition of registration, records must be kept by booking service providers. The records that booking service providers must keep are set out in the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Regulations 2018.
Trip data from booking service providers is used for fare monitoring and is also critical to enhancing industry safety, which is why booking service providers have a legislative requirement to collect trip records and provide them to CPVV upon request under the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Act 2017. When CPVV requests data, it tells the booking service provider what it will use it for.
Trip data allows CPVV to better understand the CPV industry and to design regulatory responses that deliver the best safety outcomes for the whole industry. For example, CPVV can use data to understand the patterns that drivers choose to work across different booking service providers and determine if there is a risk of driver fatigue. During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, trip data has been crucial in informing the Government of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the CPV industry and designing both the financial support package and COVID-19 related safety initiatives.
The Legislative Council Economy and Infrastructure Committee’s report on its Inquiry into the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Act 2017 reforms noted that “collecting trip data would allow the Government to make informed decisions about potential congestion issues arising from commercial passenger vehicles”. The Committee therefore recommended that “the Victorian Government require Booking Service providers to disclose their trip data and provide live data on the number of vehicles logged into their system.”
As with all Victorian Government departments and agencies, CPVV adheres to all obligations required under the privacy legislation and its data systems and processes are designed, developed, and maintained in line with the Victoria Protective Data Security Standards (VPDSS). CPVV does not ask for or accept personally identifiable information in its trip data requests.
The requirement to provide trip information is not new. Prior to the 2017 commercial passenger vehicle industry reforms, service providers were also required to provide trip information to the (then) Taxi Service Commission to support its key functions.
To enable the analysis of data for over approx. 60 million trips, CPVV requires this data be provided in an electronic format. In general, the low cost of readily available technology makes electronic reporting simple. However, CPVV recognises that for some booking service providers that complete only a few trips per year, the economic impact of reporting records, outweighs the safety benefit of collecting these records in some circumstances. For this reason, CPVV will consider any request to be discharged from the requirement to provide records in the prescribed electronic format against the:
• value of the booking service provider’s records for enhancing industry safety;
• safety risk profile of the booking service provider; and
• reasons the booking service provider may not be able to provide records to CPVV in the prescribed electronic format.
Should a booking service provider be discharged from the reporting requirement, it will still be required to keep all required records and to submit records on the total number of trips provided, the vehicle(s) used to deliver these trips and the driver(s) details.
During the 2019-2020 financial year, CPVV has made substantial progress in collecting trip data and has consulted extensively with the industry to provide support to enhance the quality of booked trip data. This has included attending multiple meetings with members of the Victorian Taxi Association.
CPVV provides information to all booking service providers about their data collection and reporting requirements, including information about the penalties that may apply if they do not meet these requirements. This is necessary, so that all industry participants are provided every opportunity to comply with their legal obligations and properly understand the potential consequences if they choose not to comply. If the regulator did not provide this information to booking service providers, it could be criticised by the Courts if a prosecution was challenged.
CPVV stands ready to assist with any enquires it receives from the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC).