The NSW Taxi Council rejects the findings the Competition Policy Review Final Report released today.
CEO of the NSW Taxi Council, Mr Roy Wakelin-King, said the NSW Taxi Council believes that the report’s findings in relation to taxis do not properly reflect the competitive nature of the industry, fails to acknowledge the work of Governments and industry to continuously improve services to the public, and encourages outcomes that would result in significantly negative social and economic consequences for tens of thousands of working families in NSW.
Mr Wakelin-King also said that the NSW Taxi Council strongly disagrees with the assertion of the Review panel that there is a “scarcity of taxi licences”.
“There has been a release of over 800 new taxi plates in NSW in a frequent and consistent manner over the last five years, representing a significant rise in the number of taxis available to meet and exceed public demand,” he said.
“It has also led to a significant oversupply of taxis in Sydney and this is directly hurting drivers, operators and owners with little or no demonstrative benefit to the public.
“Furthermore, the passage of the 2014 Passenger Transport Bill in NSW, which provides a framework for the appropriate regulation of independent apps, is demonstrative of the reform process being undertaken in NSW, and the Harper Report’s view on apparent State Government inaction in this area is a ‘slap in the face’ for the NSW Government,” Mr Wakelin-King said.
“The taxi industry has always been at the forefront of customer service and new technology over the years, whether it be dispatch systems, apps, voice recognition software or on-board safety cameras and we will continue to develop that customer focus.”
The NSW Taxi Council believes criticism within the Report that the restriction of licences limits the responsiveness to consumer demand is wrong. In NSW, the average response time for a taxi vehicle is just six minutes (half that of all emergency services) and well within the set compliance timeframe of 15 minutes.
“This indicates there are plenty of taxis on the road, with the industry excelling in providing a responsive and reliable public transportation service for all members of society,” Mr Wakelin-King said.
Mr Wakelin-King said that the Harper review has also failed to learn the lessons from overseas of deregulation.
“There is substantial evidence that deregulating the taxi industry will result in reduced levels of service and higher costs for the consumer.
“Ridesharing companies for example provide a transportation service without any regulation, meaning no public safety, no vehicle standards, no insurance guarantees, no work cover, no capped pricing and no anti-discrimination provisions to name just a few of the shortcomings.
"The experiences of surge pricing overseas and increasing exploitation of drivers, as well as the social disaster that arose from mini-cabs in London, are very good examples of why deregulated taxi services don’t work,” Mr Wakelin-King said.
The NSW Taxi Council also highlighted that, even by the report’s own admission, any reform of the taxi industry will have little or no benefit to improved productivity for Australia.