August 2016 will go down in taxi history as the month when the Labor governments of Queensland and Victoria lost all credibility and proved once and for all that they are closet neo-conservatives ready to sell out to foreign corporate terrorist Uber, and ihail Pty Ltd, the cartel formed by the taxi industry mafia, at the expense of thousands of small business owners and retirees and thousands more taxi drivers who are slaving 60 or more hours a week earning less than the minimum wage. On 11 August Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the legalisation of ridesharing, followed on 23 August by the Premier of Victoria, the not so Honorable Daniel Andrews. Like their right-wing counterparts in other states they shamelessly spruik in the media that they have created “a level paying field” for owners and drivers.
Andrews take the cake, having just spent 3 years and millions of dollars on implementing the Fels reforms only to rescind most of them this week with the stroke of a pen. How proud he was when he announced that Victoria was taking the lead by introducing the Melbourne Knowledge test to lift driver standards, only to now announce that Victoria is again taking the lead ... by cancelling it. Brilliant!
In this issue we publish a critique of the reforms introduced in Queensland, however the announcement from Victoria was made after our deadline so we have published the media release from the office of Daniel Andrews to keep you in the loop.
Over the past 4 years Uber has spent millions on attracting passengers by offering free rides or hefty discounts. Now Cabcharge has jumped on the bandwagon, offering random free rides to its Silver Service passengers in its new fleet of luxury Hyundais, only to be upstaged by Uber’s announcement that it will this month begin deploying self-driving cars - equipped with cameras, lasers and GPS systems - to pick up passengers in downtown Pittsburgh. The custom Volvo SUVs will offer free introductory rides and, at least for now, be supervised by engineers in the driver’s seat. No doubt it will do wonders for the loyalty of its drivers elsewhere in the US. Lyft investors must be jumping for joy.
As the P2P (point-to-point passenger transport) revolution rolls out across Australia and governments are bragging about all the red tape they are removing from the industry, Tim Hoi has been wondering what impact that might have on the classification of the drivers whether they drive taxis or ride-share. Uber claims its ‘partners’ are independent contractors and the taxi industry still insists its drivers are bailees.
The taxi industry mafia has battled many a court case and won most of them to protect the unique bailee/bailor system that has applied in the industry for three or more decades. Its success was largely based on the argument that the control the networks and taxi owners exerted over their drivers was to comply with government regulations. Given that our state governments are bragging about all the red tape they have removed, Tim is exploring how institutions like the Fair Works Commission might react should a driver or union claim they are in fact employees since that's they way they are being treated. Read the article.
To brighten your day up a bit after all this I have published an article, which has absolutely nothing to do with taxis or ridesharing. Rather it’s about how to get away from it all in the Dandenong Ranges and watch a million tulips in bloom.