Transport Matters proposes a number of changes to advance the commercial passenger vehicle (CPV) industry, improve driver income and move to a more environmentally sustainable vehicle fleet. In looking forward, we are acutely mindful of the effect of the 2017 reforms on past industry participants and seek to achieve a better outcome for all.
Transport Matters understands that the Commercial Passenger Vehicle (CPV) industry performs a vital social and community role. It is an integral part of Victoria’s essential services and public transport mix. CPVs play a key role in covering the transportation needs of the elderly and those with a disability; and are often used for ‘first and last mile’ trips, that is, the trip from home or work to the nearest public transport access point.
We want to create an industry where driving a passenger vehicle is seen as a profession held with pride and, more importantly, one where a sustainable and fair income can be achieved. It is not satisfactory for those in the CPV industry to work under a set of conditions that would be unacceptable to the vast majority of Victorians.
Transport Matters is committed to shaping a viable CPV industry moving forward to attract quality drivers, encourage small businesses and service the public at the highest standard.
At the same time, we are conscious of the unintended consequences of industry deregulation implemented by the Andrews’ Government and in particular the treatment of perpetual taxi and hire car licence holders discarded in the reform process. We recognise that for many pre-existing stakeholders the future looks grim as they carry the legacy burden of the previously regulated environment.
We strive to achieve a fairer compensation outcome for licence holders which more closely reflects the true value of their property (licences) compulsorily acquired. No industry participant should be left behind as a result of the recent reforms.
Industry deregulation has resulted in an irresponsible, uncontrolled release of low-cost Commercial Passenger Vehicle (CPV) licences into Victoria saturating the market. This has severely impacted the ability of drivers, both established and new, to earn a decent income. It has ruined many small businesses and made many others unviable, unfairly causing financial harm to thousands of Victorian families.
TRANSPORT MATTERS SOLUTION
Transport Matters proposes that perpetual taxi and hire car licence holders are fully compensated for the compulsory acquisition of their property (licences). This should be based on an independent valuation of taxi and hire car licences within the orderly market pre-existing the illegal penetration of rideshare in Victoria.
Transport Matters considers that
- All taxi licences should have the same value.
- All hire car licences should have the same value.
- Payments should be applied to all licences, upfront and in one lump sum.
- The cost of compensation should be industry funded by a yearly CPV licence fee in place of the $1 trip levy which is onerous, inefficient and unfairly transfers the cost of reform on the travelling public.
CPV POLICY AREAS
VEHICLE LICENCE CONDITIONS
Transport Matters considers vehicle safety of paramount importance not only for the travelling public and other road users but also for the drivers of commercial vehicles for whom the car is their ‘office’. All commercial vehicles should meet a minimum standard of safety and road worthiness.
- Commercial passenger vehicles must meet a minimum ANCAP 5 Star safety rating.
- When applying or renewing a commercial passenger vehicle licence you must supply a current road worthy certificate before a licence is issued.
- When applying or renewing a commercial passenger vehicle licence you must supply proof of commercial vehicle insurance for the permit period.
COMMERCIAL VEHICLE IDENTIFICATION
Transport Matters believes that all vehicles participating in point to point passenger transportation should be instantly recognisable as a CPV. This serves to assist law enforcement officers in applying industry specific rules such as zero blood alcohol levels for all CPV drivers. It also serves to ensure that the public are able to identify and differentiate an accredited CPV from an ordinary vehicle.
Identification should be permanently fixed to the vehicle either by a specialised number plate or permanent signage fixed to the exterior of the vehicle.
For those sectors of the industry where bookings are anonymous and passengers are not known to the driver, or where the vehicle engages in rank and hail work, cars should be fitted with tamper proof safety cameras.
ELECTRIC AND HYBRID VEHICLES
The taxi industry has been leading the take up of hybrid vehicles. Transport Matters proposes that the CPV industry as a whole move toward a fully electric fleet as the ultimate goal. In the interim, it should be mandated through licensing conditions that as vehicles are naturally replaced, they should as a minimum be exchanged for hybrid vehicles.
As part of Victoria’s public transport mix we propose that the State Government should provide free charging points for all CPVs which are hybrid or electric vehicles. This could be achieved by having rapid charging points on ranks, in depots, shopping centres and at Melbourne Airport etc.
CPVs should be exempt from tolls. This would be beneficial to the travelling public by reducing the costs of travel and would be beneficial to drivers by lowering their operating costs.
We propose that the State government negotiate with Transurban and East Link to reduce the cost of tolls by 50% for the Victorian taxi fleet. The State Government should then pick up the cost of those tolls.