The NSW Taxi Council has noted the NSW Government decision on the redesign of taxi, hire car and similar services throughout NSW.
It is apparent that these are very significant changes which will have a profound effect on the industry and the passenger transport sector more broadly.
The magnitude of these changes means there are significant implementation issues for consumers and industry participants. We urge the government to work through these carefully with the NSW Taxi Industry and other industry participants to avoid any unintended consequences.
The NSW Taxi Council will continue reviewing all the material available in detail, however there is concern about attempting to rush these changes through at the end of the calendar year.
This includes the issue of compensation which is acknowledged; however, further discussion must take place urgently to ensure this adequately addresses potential loss caused by the announced changes.
Our members have acquired an asset from the State in the form of a taxi licence and the value of that has been severely impacted by these government decisions.
There is no doubt that some members will do it very tough and will feel significantly challenged by the news. Despite this, we are a resilient and experienced industry which has innovated extensively for decades and we’ll work hard to support our members in transitioning to the new system.
The NSW Taxi Council remains concerned about a number of issues that the Government has not yet resolved, including insurance inequities, and we will work closely with Government to address these. Further, there are likely to be significant impacts on country taxi owners and operators – their services in rural and regional NSW communities are vital, but they are experiencing significant viability issues.
Taxis will have exclusive access to taxi rank and hail passengers. The Government has said there will be strict enforcement of this exclusivity and we await more details on how this will happen, as our belief is that up to this point, there has not been adequate enforcement of illegal taxi services, namely ridesharing.
Taxis are also free to participate in booked services. These measures will assist in shoring up a role for our industry into the future. Whether it is sufficient will depend on further details provided.
Additionally, the issue of no new taxi licences issued for four years, restricting supply, is a sensible announcement.
The NSW Taxi Council is confident that it will continue to provide effective public transport services to the NSW community and we will be imploring the NSW Government to ensure there is a genuine level playing field and we as an industry are not forced to compete with one hand tied behind our back.
It is important that these reforms improve customer outcomes, not lessen them, and this includes having a strong and viable taxi industry into the future.