PLEA FOR ANSWERS: Taxi drivers Clark Chappel and Barry Stumbles are not happy about the introduction of Uber.
PLEA FOR ANSWERS: Taxi drivers Clark Chappel and Barry Stumbles are not happy about the introduction of Uber. john mccutcheon

Uber has taxi industry wanting a fair go in legislation

JUST give us a level playing field. That's the appeal to the State Government by Sunshine Coast taxi licence holders who have seen the value of their investment disappear in the face of the uncertainty generated by the appearance of Uber in the market place.

The industry believes its capital investment in Queensland has plunged by between $300 million and $400 million. As a consequence not a single licence has been traded on the Sunshine Coast in the past 12 months.

"It won't find the bottom until the government resolves the share ride issue," Suncoast Cabs director Clark Chappel says.

"There is a completely uncertain investment environment. It's an extraordinary amount of money involved in Queensland alone."

The government has appointed Jim Varghese to head an independent taskforce to review taxi, limousine and rideshare services across the state.

What should an examination of the taxi industry do?

This poll ended on 10 October 2016.

Current Results

Make Uber illegal and leave prices steady

22%

Force Uber to increase their prices

5%

Force Taxis to compete with lower prices

72%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Transport, Jackie Trad, said it would consider the existing regulatory framework by examining community and industry needs and expectations, public safety and disability access and affordability and competition.

"With new players, the expiry of the taxi strategic plan and no major legislative changes for many years, it is an opportunity for industry and regulatory review," Ms Trad said.

"We are committed to ensuring Queenslanders have safe, reliable and affordable personalised transport services and want a sustainable and competitive industry that delivers these services.

"We need a pathway for this industry that considers current and new players and ensures a level playing field for all taxi, limousine and rideshare services."

Mr Varghese will chair the taskforce which will deliver a final report and recommendations to the government in August next year.

More than 3200 taxis and 580 limousines operate legally across the state.

Mr Chappel has a simple solution.

"They are illegal," he said of share ride operations. "We would like our elected representatives to do something about it.

"I can't sell beer from the back of my car from the top of Alex. I thought I had a contract with the State Government. It's been torn up."

Taxi licences on the Coast once sold for around $450,000, about the same price as an investment home.

Operators pay $6500 for Compulsory Third Party insurance plus another $3000 to insure their vehicles.

Those costs and requirement to have sealed unit security cameras place legal operators at a significant cost disadvantage to share ride operators who pay only class One CTP insurance and use mobile phones as security tracking devices.

Mr Chappel said the result was an uneven playing field.



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