VICTORIA – Large fare increase looms for taxi passengers.

TAXI passengers could face an 11 per cent fare hike ahead of new laws deregulating rideshare services like Uber.
One of Victoria’s biggest taxi operators, 13 CABS, in a submission to the Essential Service Commission’s fare review has called for minimum fares on unbooked taxis to be increased.
It argues cab operators which pick up passengers from the street and taxi ranks spend more on security measures and driver wages and the rise is necessary to offset such costs.
“It is unrealistic to expect taxi services to compete with providers of substitutable services that have no regulation on prices while taxi services are priced at maximum fares that artificially suppress Driver earnings,’’ the submission states.
“Without adjusting fares upward Driver returns will fall further and the ability to attract and retain Drivers will diminish. For these reasons it is necessary to adjust Taxi fares upward by at least 11 per cent.”
The submission is among several calling for fare increases on unbooked services.
Uber and other rideshare providers using app-based booking services will not have set fares under the rules coming in from July.
Coalition spokesman David Davis said it was just another cost increase for Victorians, slamming the new laws.
“Victorians are facing cost-of-living increase on every front under Daniel Andrews,’’ he said.
“His changes to the taxi industry has left families destitute and now fares are set to surge.”
The changes in July include the controversial $1 levy on all ride share trips — introduced to help fund compensation for taxi licence owners disadvantaged by the changes.
The exact date when the fee will begin is not yet set.
A $2 fee on every trip was originally intended to pay back licence holders who paid up to $400,000 per permits which have plummeted in value due to the arrival of ride-sharing services.
The submission is among several calling for fare increases on unbooked services.
However, the fee was halved in order to gain support from the crossbench when it was passed in the Legislative Council.
Thousands of licence holders have received the transition payments. But some drivers say even more help is needed, with a series of rallies staged last year to protest the industry’s deregulation.
Government spokeswoman Hayley McNaughton said the new laws were a step forward for Victoria it would await the Essential Service Commission’s findings.
“Our reforms will deliver better services, cheaper fares and more choice for Victorian passengers,” she said.