Western Australia never ceases to amaze me. It was the first state in Australia, maybe the world, to mandate cameras in its cabs (1996), the only one to regulate plate lease fees and put a cap on taxi plate ownership at 5 plates and it could be the first to buy back plates with what owners may consider acceptable.
When WA Minister for Transport Dean Nalder announced five months ago his decision to legalise ridesharing from 1 July, he also stated that the state’s approximately 1,035 taxi plate owners would receive $20,000 in compensation. Prior to Uber’s arrival two years ago Perth’s perpetual taxi licences were valued at around $260,000. Not only WA Labor, but even some senior Liberal MPs, declared that offer utterly inadequate. Labor proposed a buy-back at $162,500, which the Government rejected, so Labor promised to make it an election issue when WA goes to the polls in March next year, an election Labor is expected to win. WA owners were planning a class action against the Government, which I understand is now being reviewed.
There are also moves afoot by owners in Victoria and Queensland to launch class actions.
Many Victorian taxi people have been frustrated by the total lack of support they have received from their industry peak body the Victorian Taxi Association. There is now a rumour floating around Melbourne that the owner of Silver Top Taxis, Kevin Gange, who also happens to be Chairman of the VTA and is Victoria’s largest plate owner, has made a secret deal with the Government that he will be exempt from paying licence fees in the future in return for supporting its reforms. If true, it will explain a lot of things.
I have previously classified Uber as a corporate terrorist so I was pleased to read Paul McGeough, chief foreign correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald recently commented that “IS operates with all the agility and brinksmanship of a Silicon Valley start-up”. I wonder if he was thinking of Uber.
The people of NSW are fast turning off Premier Mike Baird and his autocratic Captain’s Calls. Lock-out laws, compulsory council amalgamations, compulsory acquisition of properties for infrastructure projects and the legalisation of Uber’s ridesharing, with total disregard for the hardships it has inflicted on people in the taxi industry during the two years Uber was operating illegally and the ongoing pain it will cause in the future.
Being an evangelical Christian, he was asked by a journalist if the Bible guided his decision-making as Premier. He replied: ‘I am guided to do everything I possibly can to look after every single person in this state and to do it fairly and justly”. It was said with his favourite expression – holy sincerity.
Finally, we have an article by Tim Hoi on how the taxi industry mafia 30 year ago created modern-day sharecroppers or as some now call it, neo-serfs and how Uber has perfected the concept by the ‘uberisation’ of what we now call the P2P industry (Point-to-Point). He also covers the TWU, which officially represents bailee taxi drivers, and its collusion over the years with the taxi establishment to shaft cabbies. Click here for more.
Oh, and by popular demand we have brought back “Just Joking” to put a smile on your face.
Finally, we have a commentary on ihail, goCatch, ingogo and Uber and what they are up to.
Until next month