SA Government green car push

January 19, 2017 9:00pmLauren Novak

The Advertiser

ADELAIDE’S taxi and hire-car fleet could become lean and green as the State Government pushes for more hybrid and electric vehicles to ferry passengers around the city.

Taxi companies have usually bought ex-government fleet cars, many of which have been Holden Commodores.

 

However, as the state prepares for the closure of Holden’s Elizabeth car plant, the State Government has set a target to increase the proportion of low-emission vehicles in its fleet to 30 per cent.

 

It believes this will have a flow-on effect in sales of used hybrid or electric cars to the taxi industry.

 

Meanwhile, a new chauffeur car company is considering entering the SA market and would use only electric vehicles from its base in Tonsley.

 

The Government recently added Tesla electric cars to the list of those able to be used as chauffeur vehicles in SA.

 

This is despite sales of electric cars almost coming to a halt in Australia after more than five years of experimental models. Official sales figures released this week show just 219 electric cars were sold last year, or just 0.0018 per cent of the total market – a staggering drop of 90 per cent from the previous year.

 

The Government has also called for the removal of a federal tax on luxury cars, which it says would make some electric vehicles more affordable.

 

 

 

A wide-ranging review of the taxi and hire car industry, released last April, recommended establishing a “green taxi initiative”, which could include rebranding specific cars as “green” cabs if they used technologies such as turning the engine off when stationary.

 

The review also canvassed other technologies, such as upgrading CCTV cameras in cabs to enable audio recording. The Queensland and West Australian governments have mandated audio recording in taxis.

 

Other changes aim to improve passengers’ experience.

 

The Government had been considering preventing taxi companies from requiring passengers to give their destination when booking a driver.

 

The review said this would “reduce the amount of times passengers are left waiting for a taxi that does not arrive as it is perceived to be a short fare”.

 

The Government could regulate to impose the policy but has decided against official changes as some cab companies have already removed the destination requirement.

 

Another review recommendation called for all taxis and chauffeur or ride-share ­vehicles to feature a barcode, which inter­state or foreign passengers could scan with a mobile phone to get up-to-date tourism information and details of events around Adelaide.

 

The SA Tourism Commission says it is working to provide materials and information to drivers to help them better promote SA tourist attractions.

Victorian News 16/01/17.

Home   News   Victoria News

JANUARY 16 2017 – 8:02PM

Overloaded: Uber driver loses vehicle for cramming too many passengers into car

 

 

An Uber driver has lost his wheels for a month after he was caught with too many people in his car, police say.

 

An off-duty police officer spotted the car in Richmond and couldn’t believe what he saw: two people squeezed in the front seat and three more crammed in the back with a child on someone’s lap.

 

An Uber driver won’t be picking up rides in Melbourne for a while after police saw him in action.

The child didn’t have a seatbelt or a child seat, police said.

 

The cop scribbled down the car’s registration number to check the driver’s details when he returned to work following the 11am incident on January 7.

 

“Further checks revealed the driver of the car was an Uber driver and he was on an Uber trip at the time of the incident,” said police spokeswoman Amelia Penhall.

 

The driver, a 33-year-old man from Elsternwick, was brought in for questioning.

 

He had his car impounded for a month due to “overloading” laws.

 

The man is expected to face further charges on summons for a variety of driving offences.

Industry pleads with Minister Mullighan to introduce tougher penalties

Hello ATLOA Members.

I have not edited the following but will draw your attention to the fact that the TCSA, the peak Taxi Industry body in SA, has been campaigning these same points with the Minister Mullighan ever since the Taxi & Hire Car Review was released. The UTA are just jumping on the band wagon that was started by the TCSA.

 

SA Taxi association pleads with Stephen Mullighan to penalise illegal Uber X drivers

 

David Nankervis, The Advertiser

January 16, 2017 9:00pm

\

ILLEGAL Uber X drivers should be slapped with tougher penalties to prevent cabbies going broke, the taxi industry says.

 

Competition from law-breaking ride-share services have seen cab passenger numbers fall by up to 15 per cent since last year, according to the United Taxi Association of South Australia.

 

Such is their concern, the association has pleaded with Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan for offending operators who don’t meet State Government regulations to be hit with fines and incur demerit points. Mr Mullighan said such a move was “currently being considered”.

 

In July last year, the Government adopted controversial reforms to allow ride-share drivers to be accredited by the Transport Department and operate in competition to taxis.

 

Since then, at least 192 drivers have been caught providing “unaccredited’’ ride-share services.

This includes Uber X drivers, because Uber’s app booking service is not approved by the minister and Uber does not require drivers to have official accreditation.

 

The unaccredited drivers were fined $375 each but the UTA argued the penalty was not tough enough to deter motorists using their cars to work as ride-share operators.

 

UTA president Trimann Singh said the association wants an “immediate implementation of a system to issue demerit points to drivers operating illegally’’ because many cabbies were “in acute financial distress’’.

 

“Potential fines to illegal operators … are not dissuading drivers and it is felt that the application of demerit points against drivers is an immediate and necessary action,’’ he said.

 

 

Mr Singh added that the illegal ride-share drivers “do not operate with the same safeguards’’ provided by taxis and “represent a risk to the safety of passengers’’. The UTA letter is also asking Mr Mullighan to reduce the Compulsory Third Party costs for cabs.

 

“Taxi third party insurance costs are clearly inequitable considering new entrants, with a similar risk profile, do not bare this substantial ongoing cost,’’ Mr Singh said.

 

Mr Mullighan said introducing demerit points was one of several “longer-term initiatives regarding breaches of passenger transport legislation’’. “The State Government will not tolerate individuals putting passengers at risk and will continue to conduct compliance activities to crack down on unaccredited drivers and unlicensed vehicles,’’ he said.

 

Mr Mullighan said taxi CTP was “based on risk’’.

 

Opposition spokesman David Pisoni said taxi CTP charges were “left over from a regulated monopoly Labor has continued to exploit, increasing its Motor Accident Commission profits to State Treasury’’.

 

Industry pleads with Minister Mullighan to introduce tougher penalties

Hello ATLOA Members.

I have not edited the following but will draw your attention to the fact that the TCSA, the peak Taxi Industry body in SA, has been campaigning these same points with the Minister Mullighan ever since the Taxi & Hire Car Review was released. The UTA are just jumping on the band wagon that was started by the TCSA.

 

SA Taxi association pleads with Stephen Mullighan to penalise illegal Uber X drivers

 

David Nankervis, The Advertiser

January 16, 2017 9:00pm

\

ILLEGAL Uber X drivers should be slapped with tougher penalties to prevent cabbies going broke, the taxi industry says.

 

Competition from law-breaking ride-share services have seen cab passenger numbers fall by up to 15 per cent since last year, according to the United Taxi Association of South Australia.

 

Such is their concern, the association has pleaded with Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan for offending operators who don’t meet State Government regulations to be hit with fines and incur demerit points. Mr Mullighan said such a move was “currently being considered”.

 

In July last year, the Government adopted controversial reforms to allow ride-share drivers to be accredited by the Transport Department and operate in competition to taxis.

 

Since then, at least 192 drivers have been caught providing “unaccredited’’ ride-share services.

This includes Uber X drivers, because Uber’s app booking service is not approved by the minister and Uber does not require drivers to have official accreditation.

 

The unaccredited drivers were fined $375 each but the UTA argued the penalty was not tough enough to deter motorists using their cars to work as ride-share operators.

 

UTA president Trimann Singh said the association wants an “immediate implementation of a system to issue demerit points to drivers operating illegally’’ because many cabbies were “in acute financial distress’’.

 

“Potential fines to illegal operators … are not dissuading drivers and it is felt that the application of demerit points against drivers is an immediate and necessary action,’’ he said.

 

 

Mr Singh added that the illegal ride-share drivers “do not operate with the same safeguards’’ provided by taxis and “represent a risk to the safety of passengers’’. The UTA letter is also asking Mr Mullighan to reduce the Compulsory Third Party costs for cabs.

 

“Taxi third party insurance costs are clearly inequitable considering new entrants, with a similar risk profile, do not bare this substantial ongoing cost,’’ Mr Singh said.

 

Mr Mullighan said introducing demerit points was one of several “longer-term initiatives regarding breaches of passenger transport legislation’’. “The State Government will not tolerate individuals putting passengers at risk and will continue to conduct compliance activities to crack down on unaccredited drivers and unlicensed vehicles,’’ he said.

 

Mr Mullighan said taxi CTP was “based on risk’’.

 

Opposition spokesman David Pisoni said taxi CTP charges were “left over from a regulated monopoly Labor has continued to exploit, increasing its Motor Accident Commission profits to State Treasury’’.

 

Uber rolls out cameras

Uber rolls out camera cars in Australia, takes on Google Maps

Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson, National technology editor, News Corp Australia Network

January 15, 2017 11:31pm

Subscriber only

AUSTRALIAN roads will see two technology giants collide today as Uber rolls out a fleet of hi-tech vehicles across the country designed to upgrade Google Maps.

The ride-sharing giant will employ its own fleet of camera-equipped cars in Australia, starting on the Gold Coast, in an initiative led by the former head of Google Maps.

But the Queensland test drive is just the start of a nationwide push by Uber to better predict traffic snarls, estimate travel time, and pinpoint safe parking locations.

Uber Maps product head Manik Gupta said the company rolled out similar schemes in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Mexico last year as Google did not deliver enough information to make ride-sharing a smooth experience.

Uber are taking on Google Maps as they start to map their own streets with roof mounted cameras. Marty Hammond Uber driver partner with his car. Picture: Nigel Hallett

“We’re interested in improving maps and optimising the pick-up and drop-off experience for users,” Mr Gupta said.

“Sometimes you call for an Uber and they don’t know where to come to. We want to make the pick-up perfect … it just comes to you and you know exactly where to go.”

Mr Gupta, who worked on Google Maps for more than a decade, said Uber had equipped existing Uber cars with rooftop cameras to capture “street-level imagery”.

The photos, he said, would not be used as a Google Street View replacement but analysed to work out the best pick-up and drop-off locations for Uber drivers and riders, including directions about which side of the road to stand on for a pick-up.

Uber will begin its Australian mapping project in Queensland, where Uber was legalised in September but Mr Gupta said it planned to expand the scheme around the country this year.

“We had a lot of parameters and the Gold Coast seemed like a good spot to experiment,” he said.

“We are going to do Brisbane next. (Mapping other states) will play out over the course of the next several months.”

Uber customers will be notified if a camera-equipped vehicle is assigned to pick them up and could decline the ride, Mr Gupta said, though the car cameras would not keep images from a passenger’s collection or final destination.

Ride-sharing by companies including Uber has been legalised in most Australian states, although it remains banned in the Northern Territory.