Federal Labor MPs speak out against State colleagues over taxi reforms

Federal Labor MPs speak out against state colleagues over taxi reforms

Federal Labor MPs have come out in support of Victorian taxi drivers, in a defiant stand against the Andrews Government’s “insulting” support package for taxi licence holders.

Hundreds of angry cab drivers and their families rallied outside Parliament on Saturday to protest the state government’s taxi reforms, which include a controversial buyback scheme and plans to legalise ride-sharing service, Uber.

Traffic on Spring Street was diverted around the crowd for more than an hour as they chanted, “No deal!” and “Pay back, pay fair!”

Federal Labor MPs David Feeney and Peter Khalil both addressed protesters, pledging their support for taxi owners and promising to lobby their state colleagues for a better deal.

Mr Feeney said he was proud to fight alongside taxi drivers, who had been left “stranded” by the Andrews Government’s plan to deregulate the industry.

“We know that we can have a constructive dialogue with this government but only united will they hear our voice,” he told the crowd.

The member for Batman said the message to the state government was simple: “A fair go for working Australians who made an investment in this country in good faith. Anything else is unfair on you and it’s unfair on the broader community.”

Mr Khalil, the new federal member for Wills, said taxi drivers and their families had been coming to his office in tears, concerned about their future and asking for help.

David Feeney speaks to members of the Taxi industry at a protest. Photo: Chris Hopkins
“They looked into my eyes and they told me their stories and what I saw was deep pain, deep frustration, anxiety,” he said. “David and I will be making further representations to the minister and to the government to get a fair package, a just package.

“Don’t forget there are many state MPs who are also on your side and work very hard behind the scenes. They are making the case as well because we all seen the pain in your eyes, we all see our own families when we look at you, we all feel the same frustration and anger that you feel.”

Under the scheme, taxi licences would by dumped and owners compensated up to $100,000 for their first licence and $50,000 for their second. The reform also includes a $2 levy on every taxi, Uber or hire car trip.

Greenvale taxi driver, Aytac Arman, said he bought a taxi licence two years ago for $290,000. “Now the government is offering to buy it back for $100,000 so we lost almost $200,000 in two years,” he said.

“I know other people who paid half a million dollars for their license. It’s not fair so we just won’t give up.”

Taxi drivers protest on the steps of Parliament House, Melbourne. Photo: Chris Hopkins
Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan this week said the government was committed to supporting taxi licence holders and regulating ride-sharing

“The industry is changing – these reforms will ensure hard working Victorians aren’t left behind,” she said

Qld News

How much can you really make as an Uber driver?
QLD News
Uber in Queensland: Taxi industry assistance package changes

Trenton Akers, Frank Chung, The Courier-Mail
December 2, 2016 11:22am
Subscriber only

THE taxi industry assistance package is set for a shake up, with the eligibility criteria for compensation payments to be expanded after amendments were passed in State Parliament overnight.

The assistance package was announced by the State Government to help the industry after ride-sharing services such as Uber were made legal in September.

It included up to $20,000 per taxi license — up to a maximum of two — and $10,000 for each limousine license.

But during a parliamentary speech Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe announced changes which include allowing compensation payments to trusts and companies which own taxi licenses and including operators in the scheme.
Minimum wage rallies planned in 340 U.S. cities
Operators could include people who lease a taxi off the license holder but not drivers, who would be classified as employees.

Mr Hinchliffe said the $100 million assistance package would not be increased but changes to eligibility criteria would help those affected by making ride-sharing legal.

“I can announce, based on the recommendations of the committee, all ownership structures will be eligible for transitional assistance payments, including individuals, trusts, companies and superannuation funds,” he said.

“I want to acknowledge the committee for highlighting the complex nature of taxi ownership and operation structures.

“It is important that transitional payments reach those who most need it, including those who have taken steps to incorporate or purchase a taxi licence as an asset in their superannuation fund.”

The move by the Queensland Government comes as an expert warns Uber is “staggeringly unprofitable” and relies on billions of dollars in subsidies to undercut taxi operators. And once the competition is wiped out, the transportation giant would need to “quadruple” fares to become profitable, News.com.au reports.

That’s the warning from Hubert Horan, an expert with 40 years’ experience in the management and regulation of transportation companies, who has dug into the sparsely available financial info of the most highly valued private company in the world.

“Unlike most start-ups, Uber did not enter the industry in pursuit of a significant market share, but was explicitly working to drive incumbents out of business and achieve global industry dominance,” Mr Horan writes in Naked Capitalism.

“Uber’s growth to date is entirely explained by its willingness to engage in predatory competition funded by Silicon Valley billionaires pursuing industry dominance.”

Uber drivers talk of their ride-sharing experiences
With operating losses of $US2 billion ($2.7 billion) a year — more than any other start-up in history — Mr Horan argues there is “no evidence that Uber’s rapid growth is driving the rapid margin improvements achieved by other prominent tech start-ups as they ‘grew into profitability’.”

In fact, the “absolute magnitude of losses has been increasing”, he writes.

According to limited financial information provided to investors, for the year ending September 2015, Uber posted losses of $US2 billion ($2.7 billion) on revenue of $1.4 billion ($1.9 billion), a negative 143 per cent profit margin.

“Thus Uber’s current operations depend on $US2 billion in subsidies, funded out of the $US13 billion ($17.5 billion) in cash its investors have provided,” he writes.

“Uber passengers were paying only 41 per cent of the actual cost of their trips; Uber was using these massive subsidies to undercut the fares and provide more capacity than the competitors who had to cover 100 per cent of their costs out of passenger fares.”

The Financial Times argues Uber’s “entire business model [is] questionable”.

“This is critical because it suggests we’re dealing with a charity case in disguise,” the paper notes.

“Silicon Valley elites justify the subsidies in the name of monopolistic growth expectations and the building of ‘eco-systems’. They believe if monopoly status is achieved, profitability will follow naturally from that point.

“[But] there is no reason to assume Uber’s obliteration of local competition across the planet will create a sustainable business in the long term.

“Costs are costs, even if you’re a monopoly. As long as people have cheaper alternatives (public transport, legs), they will defect if the break-even price is higher than their inconvenience tolerance threshold.”

Uber: Smoother Rides, Safer Roads
Mr Horan said claims in recent media articles that markets in developed countries were expected to generate “billions of dollars in profit” in coming years would require fares to quadruple.

“[The] $US4 billion ($5.4 billion) profit improvement needed to convert today’s $US2 billion losses into a $US2 billion profit would require some combination of the most staggering efficiency gains in the history of private enterprise … and humungous fare increases (fares would need to have quadrupled to have produced a $US2 billion profit in 2015).”

The Financial Times points out that “with the economics of the core business model looking that bad, small surprise Uber is currently preoccupied with pivoting its way to viability”, with initiatives such as carpooling, “optimised pick-up points”, and the “equally questionable” UberEats.

“[Customers’] preferences are … subtly massaged and managed with discount incentives and other behaviour moderating mechanisms (like crappy app navigation which makes it impossible to opt out of a pooled journey),” the paper writes.

Mr Horan argues that Uber’s refusal to consider an IPO “may best be explained by the recognition that publishing detailed, audited financial data confirming these massive losses and the complete lack of progress towards profitability could undermine public confidence about its inevitable march to industry dominance”.

However, Bloomberg reporter Eric Newcomer, the original source of some of the financial information cited in the report, said the analysis was “flawed”. Newcomer said Mr Horan was mistaken in claiming the losses from Uber’s China venture were not included in the financial figures.

“Uber’s first-half of 2016 losses included China,” he tweeted. “Uber owned 87.5 [per cent] of Uber China. Losses WERE consolidated. Support Uber scrutiny. Agree Uber is so big it should share its numbers. But this analysis seems flawed.”

Reformed buyback agreement gives taxi licence holders up to $100,000 compensation

Reformed buyback agreement gives taxi licence holders up to $100,000 compensation

Annika Smethurst, National politics reporter, Herald Sun
December 1, 2016 4:33pm
Subscriber only

TAXI licence owners will be able to access up to $100,000 more in compensation after the Andrews Government succumbed to political and industry pressure and reformed its buyback agreement.
Metropolitan licence holders will be offered $100,000 for their first taxi licence raised through a $2 levy on all taxi, hire car or ride-share services trips.
The government will then offer a further $50,000 for a second, third or fourth licence, extending the cap from two to four.
The sweeping changes come ahead of a rally outside parliament this weekend in support of drivers and their families who claim the original scheme was inadequate.
Federal Labor MPs Peter Khalil and David Feeney were planning to attend the event, saying the original package offered by the State Government “simply isn’t enough”.
The two MPs said their state colleagues had “more work to do” to provide support to those financially impacted by the changes.
“Thousands of families have invested in good faith to facilitate an industry that has been getting you home safe for decades,” Mr Khalil said in a promotional video for the rally.
“This is about fairness in the transition and standing up for families who may lose their livelihoods in the process of these reforms.”
Transport Minister Jacinta Allan thanked the industry for their feedback and said the government would continue to work with drivers to deliver $50 million fund.
“The industry is changing — these reforms will ensure hardworking Victorians aren’t left behind,” she said.
Opposition public transport spokesman David Hodgett accused the government of creating a “deeply divisive” package.
“Daniel Andrews has mucked this up from the start.”

Ride Sharing negative feedback

More links that prove Ride Sharing services are not the answer and Taxi’s are!

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/11/23/resort-city-of-cancun-rounds-up-dozens-of-uber-cars.html

and

https://www.facebook.com/taxisvsuber/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED&fref=nf

Canberra News & $1 levy links

Hello ATLOA Members,

Below is two links of interest forwarded from one of our Members, Richard FYI.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-28/canberra-taxi-drivers-angry-over-uber-fare-discount/8072662

and

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/a-passenger-levy-of-1-on-every-taxi-chauffeur-and-uber-trip-is-expected-to-be-introduced-by-christmas-but-uber-x-arent-on-board/news-story/a830b819b00bab20a072bdfa3a159d10

Also, we have now got the ATLOA website up and running after a few teething problems. You will need to register to access the Members area.

Regards, Kym.

TCSA AGM 23/11/16

The Taxi Council of SA AGM was held 23/11/16 where President Jim Triantafyllou gave a comprehensive report on Council activities and achievements during the year.

Alarming was the report that no ride sharing services in SA are accredited to be operational other than 2 individual operators. Non compliance is a major issue for us all and we must all help the industry to identify offenders and demand compliance from the State Government. Please lobby your local Member of Parliament. We must not let our market be eroded by unscrupulous actions.

Also the decision by 13cabs to enter the ride sharing service market and subsequently withdraw from the associated Taxi Council’s in Adelaide, Victoria and New South Wales, was a huge stab in the back for the small taxi business operator.

Subsequently this contributed to the recent breakdown of our affiliate Taxi Council in Victoria, who now join Western Australia &Tasmania as not having a State Taxi Council.

Jim positively reflected on the hard work of the TCSA Committee who continue to put the Taxi Industry first and strive for the level playing field we all desire.

No elections for TCSA Committee was required as all existing Committee members due for re-election were elected unopposed.

Two Constitution amendments were ratified unanimously by Members present which will enable a more workable and diverse TCSA Committee representation to face the challenges ahead.

Most disappointing was that the State Government had no representative in attendance either from the Ministers office or the DPTI.

On a brighter note was that the industry is maintaining a status quo in regards to taxi work and lease and License values after a previous slump.

Introduction

Our Objectives

  1. To represent Adelaide Taxi Licence Owners in matters associated with the South Australian Taxi industry, at the State and national level.
  2. To be recognised and accepted within the South Australian Taxi industry, and by the levels of government as the legitimate body representing the interests of the Adelaide Taxi Licence Owners.
  3. To liaise and consult with the Taxi Council of South Australia, local, State and Commonwealth governments on matters relevant to the Adelaide Taxi Licence Owners.
  4. To review and provide comments on relevant proposed legislation changes, reviews, working groups and other operational matters relevant to the Adelaide Taxi Licence Owners.
  5. To promote harmony between all interest groups within the South Australian Taxi industry.
  6. To provide information relevant to the taxi industry to its members.
  7. To promote, maintain and protect the interests and rights of its members.
  8. To operate and maintain the Association website.
  9. To provide relevant services to the Adelaide Taxi Licence Owners.

Contact Us: atloa@atloa.com.au