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Uber and the Victorian Taxi Industry

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Uber and the Victorian Taxi Industry

Postby V981 » Mon Nov 09, 2015 6:35 pm

Image
Above: A 35 year veteran of the taxi industry, driver Adel Smida poses in one of the new "Pink Ribbon" promotional taxis which have hit the roads in Melbourne from today.

In what can only be described as a stunning about face, the Victorian taxi industry lead by the Victorian Taxi Industry has conceded that they have failed to provide a reliable and adequate service to its customers as they launched a range of industry changes today. After months of intense fighting with offshore newcomer Uber, the VTA has admitted the campaign against the San Francisco based multi-national had failed to evoke the sympathy of consumers who have increasingly become disillusioned by poor service standards and a lack of reliability when attempting to book traditional taxis.

Speaking to the media today, Victorian Taxi Association CEO, David Samuel declared it was time for the taxi industry to focus on itself and win customers back. In a range of sweeping new measures, taxi smartphone apps have been given a makeover to provide consumers with car number, the taxi drivers name, and estimated time of arrival and the cars current location on a map, mimicking the features that Uber already provides on its customer app. Mr Samuel also announced a major upgrade in driver training will also be rolled out to better train drivers in customer service skills, personal hygiene and city knowledge, with the VTA acknowledging that these factors had contributed to the wave of people ditching taxis in favour of Uber. A public relations campaign has also been launched including a competition offering the winner a years supply of free taxi rides, a brand new website in which consumers can rate drivers and leave reviews, and more direct lines of communication between customers and taxi operators. Numerous taxi companies including 13CABS, Silver Top Taxis and CABIT are on board with the industry overhaul. As part of the launch today, hundreds of Melbourne taxi customers were treated to free surprise rides today in a fleet of specially marked "Pink Ribbon" taxis.

Speaking to Nine News today, Uber Melbourne General Manager Simon Rossi didn't wish to comment directly on the taxi industry initiatives but stated that any positives provided to commuters in Melbourne as a result of competition can only be a good thing for commuters.

On the subject of Uber, Mr Samuel says the VTA is still in discussions with the State Government around the issue of legislation however reinforced that the industry was now putting much more energy into winning customers back by improving the consumer experience for those who use taxis.

http://www.3aw.com.au/news/ross-and-john-learn-taxis-change-tact-in-uber-fight-20151108-gktwgs.html
Above: Victorian Taxi Association David Samuel talks to 3AW's Ross & John Breakfast Program about industry reboot.

TOP 5 CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS ABOUT TAXIS
1. Short Fare Refusal
2. Taxi Drivers talking on phones while transporting passengers.
3. Drivers not knowing where they are going.
4. Personal Hygine/Presentation of drivers.
5. Condition/Cleanliness of taxi.
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby notch » Wed Nov 11, 2015 10:09 am

Do Uber pay you per post?
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby boronia » Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:16 pm

the Victorian taxi industry lead by the Victorian Taxi Industry
How quaint.

It is refreshing to see this approach to the problem, rather than just expecting the government to sort it all out in their favor.
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby V981 » Wed Nov 11, 2015 5:08 pm

notch wrote:Do Uber pay you per post?


No they don't. None of my content I post on here is paid for by any individual or corporation.

Are you in love with me Notch? You certainly seem to expel an excessive amount of effort on my posts.

I couldn't possibly just be passionate about a particular subject now, could I? Particularly one that involves, shock horror, transport. :P
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby dex » Thu Nov 12, 2015 9:11 pm

Notch is old school, he needs a hot toddy and a lay down.
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby howlerbus » Thu Nov 12, 2015 9:41 pm

Most people who bag Uber have never used it and dont really know how it works
You got a real flash bus, but my one's flash one, eh
And I believe that my one's faster than yours, Mr Bond
'Cause mine's a red one'
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby E.L.Wood » Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:31 pm

Interesting to note the Taxi Directorate out in force over the Melbourne Cup Carnival and apparently booking each Uber driver who went into the main area for dropping off
yolo seems to be a bit of a trend!
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby Peter1805 » Sat Nov 14, 2015 9:48 pm

E.L.Wood wrote:Interesting to note the Taxi Directorate out in force over the Melbourne Cup Carnival and apparently booking each Uber driver who went into the main area for dropping off


Well, the law is the law, and every Uber driver is breaking it.
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby V981 » Sat Nov 14, 2015 10:21 pm

Peter1805 wrote:
E.L.Wood wrote:Interesting to note the Taxi Directorate out in force over the Melbourne Cup Carnival and apparently booking each Uber driver who went into the main area for dropping off


Well, the law is the law, and every Uber driver is breaking it.


And proud of it. :D There are alot of people out there who are proud to be part of a movement which is showing we don't have to stand for half arsed monopolised XXX service controlled by a bunch of greedy fat cats.

The only reason the Victorian Taxi Directorate is so peeved off is because the "illegal" operation is doing a stellar job with a huge level of customer satisfaction, and thus shining a nice big white spotlight on the pathetic operation they have been dishing up to commuters for at least a decade.

The general consensus is that the Victorian Government is on the verge of following Canberra and legalizing Uber soon, with some conditions in place. And if that happens, the taxi industry will soon find out what Telstra did all those years ago. When Telstra was a monopoly in this country, they were screwing their customers up the proverbial. As soon as the government of the day deregulated the telecommunications industry, consumers have been the winners with numerous choices for suppliers and products. And Telstra actually have to do something constructive to entice customers.
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby krustyklo » Sun Nov 15, 2015 4:32 pm

I would argue the Taxi Directorate may be better off regulating more strictly it's own industry before worrying too much about Uber. I suspect regulator capture and/or poor regulator resourcing in this case has produced increasingly lax standards, hence the problem they have today with poor reputation. Yes, as was pointed out by Peter, UberX is not operating within the constraints of the current laws, but the laws are not properly set up to deal with Uber and it is only a matter of time until they do. After all, for years we were all breaking the law recording shows from TV onto our video recorders, and ripping CDs to put MP3s onto our iPods / iRivers. I suspect the legal Uber problem will be fixed in a much shorter time, especially given Uber have much deeper pockets and much less fragmentation than the taxi industry who are trying to fight them.

The more Uber becomes victimised in the public's eyes, the more likely people are to sympathise with them and try them out just to stick it up the taxi industry. In the short term, the VTD may well win the legal battle against small numbers of Uber operators, but it may well be the reason they lose the war if they don't also clean up their own house.
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby Peter1805 » Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:07 pm

Uber are evading tax and have been doing so during their entire time of operation in Australia.

The Australian Taxation Office is currently taking legal action against Uber, and Uber has also been called before a Senate Inquiry into international corporations who derive income from Australia but do not pay tax here.

http://www.theage.com.au/business/the-economy/uber-airbnb-to-be-hauled-before-senate-inquiry-into-corporate-tax-avoidance-20151116-gkztxn.html

Of course, it's difficult for the regulated Taxi industry to compete against Uber currently, for two major reasons:

1. Putting themselves outside the regulatory system, which saves them truckloads of money in comparison with Taxi operators.

2. Evading/Avoiding all taxes, including GST.

It is only a matter of time before Australian Parliaments legislate to change this situation, whether or not they decide to allow Uber to operate.

Until then , it is not a level playing field. What's more, until then, Uber will not be contributing anything to the roads it uses to make its income.

Many people forget that there are good reasons for government regulation of commercial passenger services. There are also good reasons why all income-deriving operations in Australia should be paying their fair share of Australian tax.

For a more amusing look at the issue of international parasitic corporations getting away with not paying any tax in Australia, contributing to talk of increasing the level of the GST, so that you and me pay the tax they should be paying:

http://www.theshovel.com.au/2015/11/11/increase-in-gst-to-create-fairer-broader-system-where-apple-still-pays-no-tax/
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby V981 » Mon Nov 16, 2015 7:38 pm

To be fair Peter1805, Uber is paying GST as the ATO required this to be set in place at the commencement of this financial year.

In my role of engaging with people who drive for Uber, I am actively involved in assisting new drivers in setting up an ABN, and through the process of filling in a Business Activity Statement on a quarterly basis.

The ATO requires an individual taxi operator to pay GST if they earn in excess of $75,000 a year, but has thrown Uber drivers a curveball by forcing them to pay GST from the first dollar they earn. That discrepancy is being challenged through the courts, but in the meantime we are advising drivers to do everything they can to stay within the laws as they stand currently.
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby krustyklo » Mon Nov 16, 2015 9:49 pm

So I assume you use Linux and Libre Office then? After all, Microsoft are on the hotlist as well as Uber: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/joe-hockey-is-going-to-target-30-companies-for-tax-avoidance-2015-8.

And I'm assuming you don't use Google for search or maps, nor Apple either? In which case the only option would seem a Firefox OS mobile device. Who also don't pay taxes in Australia I suspect as I doubt they have an office here.

It is easy to single out Uber for tax avoidance, but if we're going to do that, let's stop using the services of other companies avoiding tax as well. Although it might be hard to post on this forum if you did... :D

Whatever Uber's faults about paying tax, lax regulation of the existing taxi industry may throw up a few legal issues of its own were that to change...
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby Peter1805 » Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:28 pm

krustyklo wrote:So I assume you use Linux and Libre Office then? After all, Microsoft are on the hotlist as well as Uber: http://www.businessinsider.com.au/joe-hockey-is-going-to-target-30-companies-for-tax-avoidance-2015-8.

And I'm assuming you don't use Google for search or maps, nor Apple either? In which case the only option would seem a Firefox OS mobile device. Who also don't pay taxes in Australia I suspect as I doubt they have an office here.

It is easy to single out Uber for tax avoidance, but if we're going to do that, let's stop using the services of other companies avoiding tax as well. Although it might be hard to post on this forum if you did... :D

Whatever Uber's faults about paying tax, lax regulation of the existing taxi industry may throw up a few legal issues of its own were that to change...


Not sure who you're talking to, but I presume it is me. This is a transport forum and a thread about Uber, so my comments relate to related issues. Also, just because people use goods and services provided by companies who evade tax in Australia, does not mean those people cannot have an opinion about the morality or legality of such behaviour.

Regulation of the taxi industry may be "lax" in some ways as you describe it, but at least it exists - and for good reasons. Please don't tell me I have to explain those reasons to you.
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby Alstom 888M » Tue Nov 17, 2015 7:55 pm

It's quite simple. All the police have to do is request that Uber refuses to register vehicles that are not registered in the states or territories that Uber is legal in (only the ACT at present time). If Uber refuse to comply they can request Apple to remove the app from the Australian App Store (and the Android equivalent). If Apple/Google do not comply seek a court injunction to demand that Apple/Google remove the app from their stores on the basis that Uber is an app that provides illegal and unlicensed taxicab services.
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby krustyklo » Wed Nov 18, 2015 7:24 pm

Regulation of the taxi industry may be "lax" in some ways as you describe it, but at least it exists - and for good reasons. Please don't tell me I have to explain those reasons to you.


Please don't tell me that I have to explain to you that regulation without enforcement is little better than no regulation at all. My argument is that if the regulation that exists of the taxi industry was enforced such that a taxi was a reliably high quality safe vehicle, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby Peter1805 » Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:24 pm

krustyklo wrote:
Regulation of the taxi industry may be "lax" in some ways as you describe it, but at least it exists - and for good reasons. Please don't tell me I have to explain those reasons to you.


Please don't tell me that I have to explain to you that regulation without enforcement is little better than no regulation at all. My argument is that if the regulation that exists of the taxi industry was enforced such that a taxi was a reliably high quality safe vehicle, we wouldn't be having this discussion.


I wasn't aware that the issue was about whether or not taxis are "reliably high quality safe vehicles".
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby Alstom 888M » Thu Nov 19, 2015 3:31 pm

Considering the Uber operates in locations where the taxis are of a reasonably higher quality I would say the "Melbourne taxis are crap" argument doesn't wash.
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby boronia » Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:33 pm

Peter1805 wrote:Uber are evading tax and have been doing so during their entire time of operation in Australia.

I wonder how many taxi drivers are evading tax by not declaring their full income or not collecting GST?
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby V981 » Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:37 pm

Peter1805 wrote:
I wasn't aware that the issue was about whether or not taxis are "reliably high quality safe vehicles".


Actually, in the context of this particular thread, it is precisely about that given that it refers directly to a media statement released by the Victorian Taxi Association in which they admit they have provided a poor service for many years, as per the general consensus by alot of taxi customers.
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby dex » Fri Nov 20, 2015 5:26 pm

If a taxi driver pays an upfront amount to the operator per day, they can (although not allowed) run the rest of the day off the meter.
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby krustyklo » Fri Nov 20, 2015 7:18 pm

If a taxi driver pays an upfront amount to the operator per day, they can (although not allowed) run the rest of the day off the meter.

Are you sure that's not allowed? My understanding was that the default agreement was 50% operator, 50% driver, but if both are in genuine agreeance of another arrangement (eg, 40% driver up to a certain amount, 60% over a certain amount was an example of an alternative scenario given) then that was fine? I will check when I next see my relo in the industry.
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Re: Victorian Taxi Industry Admits They Have Got It Wrong!!!

Postby dex » Sun Nov 22, 2015 12:22 pm

No it's not allowed, but it guarantees the operator get's their money without worrying whether or not the driver is actually working and then it's up to the driver to get his money.
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Uber in Melbourne

Postby Roderick Smith » Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:37 am

This has been a long-erupting issue.
The problem with the taxi industry is that licensing was restricted, and a licence became a tradeable (and expensive) commodity, and having Uber erodes the investment.
I likened the situation in my online post to turning your lounge room into an unlicensed bar, rivalling real pubs.
If Uber is to be legal, it behoves the government to buy back the licences.

Roderick

Ride-sharing service hopes to drive coach-and-four through government's Uber objections.
Date February 19, 2016 - Melbourne 'Age'.
Is this Melbourne's angriest horse-drawn carriage driver?
Watch this coachman hurling racial abuse and violent threats at animal rights activists on Valentine's Day.
Rogue taxi operator Uber could diversify into one of the world's oldest forms of passenger transport by taking on Melbourne's horse-drawn carriage industry - and it wouldn't fall foul of the law.
The popular riding-sharing service has criticised the Andrews Government over a legal loophole that allows horse-drawn carriages to pick up passengers in the city without the carts being registered or the drivers required to be licensed.
"The government would prefer its citizens pre-booked a horse-drawn carriage to get from A to B, rather than allowing them to use their smartphone to share a ride with a fellow Victorian," Uber's Matt Denman said.
Uber is planning to muscle in on Melbourne's horse-drawn carriage trade. Photo: Simon O'Dwyer The comments come after footage emerged of a Melbourne horse-drawn carriage driver hurling racial abuse and violent threats to a man on Swanston Street during an animal welfare protest last weekend.
A City of Melbourne spokesman confirmed the driver involved in the altercation did not hold a street trading permit and said the council could not stop carriages from entering the CBD because they were legal vehicles.
Without a permit, carriage operators can still take passengers around the city as long as the booking is pre-arranged.
The offering sent by Morgan Stanley is selling shares at $US48.77 apiece based on a valuation of $US62.5 billion. Photo: Fairfax Horse-drawn carriages are not required to be registered and drivers do not need a licence to travel on the road because the vehicles are not motorised.
This, in effect, means anyone could drive a six-horse carriage down Swanston Street and pick up pre-booked passengers without breaking the law.
Uber, which has been campaigning for the Andrews Government to change the law so its standard service - UberX - can operate in Victoria legally, said the regulations were contradictory and needed updating.
"While technology has come a long way since the advent of the horse and carriage, unfortunately the regulations for point-to-point transport have not," Mr Denman said.
"It's time for the Victorian government to bring its laws into the 21st century by introducing safety-based ride-sharing regulations, that provides certainty to the hundreds of thousands of Victorians who choose ride-sharing."
The Magistrates' Court last year ruled the renegade ride-sharing service was illegal after a Melbourne man was found guilty of driving a hire car without a commercial licence or registration.
But Uber operates legally in NSW, Western Australia and the ACT.
A spokeswoman for Roads Minister Luke Donnellan said the government had no plans to amend the road rules relating to animal-drawn vehicles.
"Like cyclists, carriage operators are permitted to use the road without being registered or licensed," she said.
"The absence of recorded horse and carriage-related accidents indicates that the current system is adequate, especially considering the small volume of carriages operating with council permits."
VicRoads is unable to remove the horse-drawn carriages from public roads because they are not classified as a motor vehicle.
A spokeswoman said the carts were still expected to obey the road rules.
"Melbourne City Council may consider addressing community concerns through their powers to withdraw permits that allow traders to operate," she said.
The City of Melbourne refused to comment on the current laws governing horse-drawn carriages, including whether it believed they should be changed.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has previously said the council did not have the power to ban horse-drawn carriages and that it was a matter for the roads authority.
The council did not respond to questions about whether enforcement action had been taken against any horse-drawn carriage operators or about the number of permits it had issued.
www.theage.com.au/victoria/ridesharing- ... myejx.html
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Re: Uber in Melbourne

Postby boronia » Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:48 am

Roderick Smith wrote:This has been a long-erupting issue.
The problem with the taxi industry is that licensing was restricted, and a licence became a tradeable (and expensive) commodity, and having Uber erodes the investment.
I likened the situation in my online post to turning your lounge room into an unlicensed bar, rivalling real pubs.
If Uber is to be legal, it behoves the government to buy back the licences.

Roderick

Why should the government buy back the licences?

The owners have invested money in a business, which like any business is subject to new competition which may degrade its market share. The taxi industry has done nothing to lift its game over the years, why should it be compensated for its failures?

Should Woolworths shareholders be compensated because Aldi has come into the market and eroded Woolworths' market share or share value? Of course they won't be.

Taxi licences are traded in the free market, the buyers set the prices. If buyers get greedy and pay too much, why should the passengers have to be penalised to subsidise them.
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