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Uber and the Victorian Taxi Industry

Melbourne / Victoria Transport Discussion

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Re: Uber and the Victorian Taxi Industry

Postby V981 » Wed Apr 06, 2016 4:50 pm

There could be further changes about the take hold in the industry with the Victorian Taxi Association claiming that wheelchair accessible taxis are commercially unviable and their numbers are potentially soon to be cut.

Uber has fired back by announcing it is in the process of preparing the launch of UberWAV, a product that will provide wheelchair accessible vehicles to Melbourne's disabled community, and will operate on the same fare structure as UberX.

My 90+ year old Grandmother regularly requires the use of a wheelchair accessible taxi to get around the Elternwick/Caulfield area. She is not wheelchair bound but requires a mobility scooter to assist her get around. She is still very mentally switched on and regularly participates in various activities with her local council seniors groups. There has been an endless array of times where a wheelchair accessible taxi has been booked through the main operators of taxis, and they simply don't show up. We should always keep in perspective that for an able bodied person, when a taxi doesn't show up, it is an incredibly annoying occurrence. When it happens to a person who it no so able bodied and relies more heavily on being able to get around with some assistance, it can be a heartbreaking and even potentially harmful situation to be in.

Putting my commercial bias aside, should UberWAV become a reality, I will certainly be kitting my own grandmother up with the tools to use the service, because I know the service and I stand wholeheartedly by it. Nonetheless it appears it will be interesting times ahead for the wheelchair accessible taxi market.
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Re: Uber and the Victorian Taxi Industry

Postby BroadGauge » Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:13 pm

V981 wrote:There could be further changes about the take hold in the industry with the Victorian Taxi Association claiming that wheelchair accessible taxis are commercially unviable and their numbers are potentially soon to be cut.

Never seems to be any shortage of them around the inner city very late on Friday and Saturday nights. Apparently their ability to be filled with a van load of drunks makes them the most profitable cabs in the fleet on weekends.

During the day, cos they do normal jobs too the ones on the road are competing for fares with all the other taxis, so it's not surprising that they'll accept a booking only to make it look like they accept their quota of wheelchair jobs, when they're really just as focused on finding an airport fare as any other cabbie :twisted:

I think perhaps the users of the multi-purpose taxi program would benefit from a service that exists solely to passengers who have a disability requiring them to travel specifically in that type of vehicle.

Say there might not be as many vehicles around as there is with maxi cabs, but even if you had to wait 20 minutes for one to reach your home from the time you booked it, at least you'd know it would turn up because the service would exist for the sorts of people who only need to travel two suburbs that rely on the service.

I don't know what Uber is proposing, is it a scheme solely to benefit the disabled or will it be the same as the maxi taxis which are only ever seen at the times and places where a disabled passenger is least likely to be cos of their group carrying ability?
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Re: Uber and the Victorian Taxi Industry

Postby V981 » Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:35 am

BroadGauge wrote:
V981 wrote:
I don't know what Uber is proposing, is it a scheme solely to benefit the disabled or will it be the same as the maxi taxis which are only ever seen at the times and places where a disabled passenger is least likely to be cos of their group carrying ability?


I'm not privy to the exact details of the Uber proposal at this stage, and I believe they are still nutting out the finer details to ensure it works effectively. But essentially you will have people driving around in wheelchair accessible cars, most likely a HiAce type vehicle fitted with a hydraulic lift, as per the current taxi Maxi Cabs. As I don't think there will be enough work available to these drivers to solely do wheelchair passenger booked work, I believe the UberWAV cars will also have the capacity to take on standard UberX bookings also.

However, what Uber will be aiming to do is to work out how to best avoid the situation currently faced by disable taxi passengers in regards to not having appropriate vehicles available when required or vehicles simply not taking the job. Uber has been in talks with the state government because they currently offer certain subsidies and incentives to taxi operators to operate wheelchair accessible cabs, and Uber is hoping to also become eligible for these subsidies. If successful in doing this, it is likely that Uber will then set up some kind of incentive to its WAV drivers to encourage them to place higher priority in WAV booked work over UberX work. Uber is currently preparing a formal proposal for Jacinta Allen to explain exactly how they expect to make UberWAV work effectively.
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Re: Uber and the Victorian Taxi Industry

Postby krustyklo » Thu Apr 07, 2016 2:32 pm

There could be further changes about the take hold in the industry with the Victorian Taxi Association claiming that wheelchair accessible taxis are commercially unviable and their numbers are potentially soon to be cut.

Interesting. I have a relative who drives a wheelchair cab, and he hasn't mentioned this at all. I'll make sure I bring it up next time I see him.

Never seems to be any shortage of them around the inner city very late on Friday and Saturday nights. Apparently their ability to be filled with a van load of drunks makes them the most profitable cabs in the fleet on weekends.

Indeed. The other aspect is that wheelchair cabs have regular contracts to transport people around, eg, to school, to work, or to regular events such as appointments or physio, etc. In fact, this base income, whilst inadequate if you talk to the owners / licensees :wink: , makes a wheelchair taxi a better option than a regular taxi without this guaranteed work.

The Friday / Saturday nights (and special events such as the tennis / F1 / other sporting events) are a bonus. Plus the ability to take normal fares as well.

During the day, cos they do normal jobs too the ones on the road are competing for fares with all the other taxis, so it's not surprising that they'll accept a booking only to make it look like they accept their quota of wheelchair jobs, when they're really just as focused on finding an airport fare as any other cabbie :twisted:


As above, there is a significant amount of regular contract work that isn't worth shafting over a one off $50 fare. My contact above pretty much has contracts all morning, has a lunch break, then starts taking them all home again. There allegedly isn't time during the week to take other fares unless very coincidental to the journey being in the same direction as the next contract. Evenings, weekends and school holidays are the main times he takes normal fares or groups.

I think perhaps the users of the multi-purpose taxi program would benefit from a service that exists solely to passengers who have a disability requiring them to travel specifically in that type of vehicle.

The problem with regulated work is that it would be much lower profit - this would reduce the numbers of wheelchair taxis as it would be less desirable work. I'd prefer to see evidence first that wheelchair users are genuinely not having booked taxis show up. Certainly I've seen plenty of anecdotal evidence that normal taxis do this on Friday and Saturday nights - I would occasionally help out voluntarily with a disabled group who met sometimes on Friday nights and it wouldn't be unusual for at least one of the booked regular taxis not to show up. I'd be a little surprised at a wheelchair taxi not showing for a booking though as the wheelchair drivers do seem to take their responsibilities seriously in that area, even if they complain about the poor return compared to hanging around the city.
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Taxis vs Uber

Postby Roderick Smith » Mon Sep 26, 2016 4:05 pm

Uber rides to synch to public transport timetables under new expansion plan.
Herald Sun September 25, 2016.
TRAIN, tram and bus schedules will be linked to Uber’s ride share system as the ­transport giant targets more customers.
The Herald Sun can reveal the company is preparing its next aggressive expansion into the market well before it is legalised under Andrews Government industry reforms.
Uber will partner with TripGo, which will allow users to synchronise tram, train or bus trips with Uber rides.
For example, customers could order an Uber to meet them at the point where their train ride or bus trip ends.
Real-time data will ensure that the trips connect “seamlessly”, and general manager of Uber Australia New Zealand David Rohrsheim said the move would help consumers, as well as public transport ­connectivity.
“Aligning ridesharing with public transport systems is one of the smartest ways to help people move around the city without the need for costly infrastructure developments or owning a personal vehicle,” he said.
“This partnership will help feed more people into, and ­effectively expand the reach of existing public transport ­services.”
Uber Australia general manager David Rohrsheim. Picture: Neil Duncan But the move is likely to further enrage the taxi industry that says it is being decimated.
Some of the traditional ranks used by cabs have been at public transport hubs such as major train stations.
Uber has been operating without government regulation, but is set to be legalised under reforms that include deregulation of taxi fares and a $2 levy per trip to help compensate taxi licence holders.
The taxi industry has slammed many of the changes, which will provide $100,000 compensation for licence holders and an extra $50,000 for a second licence.
But the Andrews Government says technology is changing the nature of the industry and sweeping reforms are needed to keep up and help consumers.
It is expecting more competition as a result of its changes, with other ride share and hire car options likely for Victorians.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victor ... 43f4f21aee
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Re: Uber to interface with pt

Postby krustyklo » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:45 pm

Some of the traditional ranks used by cabs have been at public transport hubs such as major train stations.

As someone who has tried to actually use a rank at a railway station, on Friday and Saturday nights it is pointless even considering it as most taxis are in the city and inner suburbs, or heading there and willfully ignoring anyone not of benefit to this strategy. Hence Uber will probably be onto something with this idea, and once customers use it instead of a taxi, they may well keep using it. It is a smart move from Uber, who elsewhere have a much more integrated system where they get subsidised for providing "last mile" services and even provide traditional call centres in return for such contracts. In Melbourne I suspect it is part of a strategy to normalise Uber use over taxi use.

And before the pro taxi brigade start, I have a relative in the industry and his (allegedly successful and lucrative) strategy on Friday and Saturday nights is to park in East Melbourne and wait for people to request a taxi. He ain't hanging around a middle or outer suburban station or tram stop waiting for the next half hourly train or 20-minutely tram on the off chance of a fare.
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Re: Uber to interface with pt

Postby BroadGauge » Tue Sep 27, 2016 12:36 am

krustyklo wrote:And before the pro taxi brigade start, I have a relative in the industry and his (allegedly successful and lucrative) strategy on Friday and Saturday nights is to park in East Melbourne and wait for people to request a taxi. He ain't hanging around a middle or outer suburban station or tram stop waiting for the next half hourly train or 20-minutely tram on the off chance of a fare.

You'll discover that even if you do find a taxi hanging around a railway station or shopping centre taxi rank, they're often only there simply as a place to park the cab until the next booking to the airport or city comes up on the dispatch system, and very openly don't want your business when you're just going down the road :twisted:

The same drivers will regularly accept bookings for local jobs, not even bother going to the address, then claim "passenger was not present" so they get reallocated another, hopefully longer fare by the dispatch system.
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Re: Uber to interface with pt

Postby krustyklo » Tue Sep 27, 2016 3:51 pm

You'll discover that even if you do find a taxi hanging around a railway station or shopping centre taxi rank, they're often only there simply as a place to park the cab until the next booking to the airport or city comes up on the dispatch system, and very openly don't want your business when you're just going down the road


To be fair, on normal weeknights and Sunday nights there were cabs at the rank at Watsonia station and I never had a problem getting one the short distance home. I am surprised that cabs looking for longer fares would be hanging around a rank though, I would have thought it would be too risky being forced to take a short fare, or dealing with the aggro when you refuse a local fare. The East Melbourne location I referred to above is in a side street, not at a rank.

Certainly there are a lot of games played by cabbies to avoid short fares. To be honest I don't blame the drivers for not wanting short fares as it isn't very profitable and you go to the back of the queue for a booking or position on a rank. The problem is more systemic, in fact it is not dissimilar to the PT problem - lucrative peaks at particular times paying for the troughs most of the rest of the off peak time. In the case of PT, it comes out of the taxpayer pocket with empty expensive assets sitting around in sidings and depots, or social service frequency bus routes running mostly empty. In the case of taxi drivers, it comes out of their pocket if they don't play the system well, so there is an incentive to play the system for maximum profit.

In one sense, the Uber 'last mile' move may well work for both Uber and PT in balancing supply and demand in a way that ebenfits the customer, although in the US there are significant equity concerns with the need to have a smartphone to book the Uber. This is a good article on the topic discussing the benefits and issues: http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/1/12735666/uber-altamonte-springs-fl-public-transportation-taxi-system
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Re: Uber vs taxis

Postby Roderick Smith » Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:10 am

I haven't been posting about this saga. This is the second such rally; the earlier was over Bolte Bridge.

Melbourne taxi protest: Cabbies to drive slowly from airport to city.
Herald Sun, Mon.27.2.17.
TRAFFIC mayhem is expected this morning as taxi drivers stage another peak hour protest — this time on Tullamarine Freeway.
Taxi drivers will meet near Melbourne Airport and drive slowly along the Tullamarine Freeway to Parliament House.
An estimated 180 cabs will leave the airport about 8am, with plans to block two lanes of the freeway.
Cabbies staged a similar protest earlier this month along the Bolte Bridge which caused chaos for morning commuters on their way into work.
The taxi industry is protesting the Government’s decision to deregulate the industry, and legalising rideshare services, including Uber, as well as the planned compensation.
www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/melb ... d469d05c6a

Melbourne Express: Monday, February 27, 2017.
As taxi licence holders protest about compensation and Uber's introduction into Melbourne, Uber drivers aren't happy either.
RideShare Drivers United was formed to help drivers stick together over pay and conditions.
The RSDU members are not logging on this morning between 7am and midday, while the taxis are protesting.
The list of Uber complaints include fast car depreciation, insurance, registration, GST implications, car maintenance, services and major repairs, traffic and parking fines, widely fluctuating petrol prices and the lack of support or willingness to listen at Uber management.
www.theage.com.au/victoria/melbourne-ex ... ulq89.html
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Re: Taxis vs Uber

Postby Roderick Smith » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:50 am

170319Su Melbourne 'Herald Sun' - taxi ranks.

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Re: Taxis vs Uber

Postby Heihachi_73 » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:25 am

It's funny how they blame it entirely on Uber (their rival, of course!) and not the fact that the Night Network is running on those same Friday and Saturday nights and people no longer have to pay $70 to get home. All the more reason to extend Night Network to the remaining five nights.
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Regulations

Postby Roderick Smith » Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:48 pm

Is there any real news in this, or is it just the minister trying to keep her name in the public gaze?

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Re: Regulations

Postby system improver » Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:58 am

Roderick Smith wrote:Is there any real news in this, or is it just the minister trying to keep her name in the public gaze?

Roderick

Perhaps neither. If you look at newpapers that have been published in the last 150 years or so, you will find similar notices which are required to published in daily papers as part of the legislation. However, you might well ask why the Andrews government is providing revenue to a Liberal Party publication when there is, at least at present, one other daily newspaper.
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Re: Uber and the Victorian Taxi Industry

Postby Roderick Smith » Sat Jun 17, 2017 2:42 pm

Uber on rails: Ride-share train link for Melbourne commuters.
Herald Sun June 16, 2017.
•The new features coming to Uber.
•Underhand Uber con over fares.
UBER says an increasing number of passengers are using its service to connect with trains.
With parking spaces at stations at a premium, Uber says many people are ditching the car. According to Uber, the most popular stations using their service in middle-distance suburbs are Box Hill, Middle Brighton and Sandringham.
Middle Brighton station has about 120 car parking spaces while Sandringham has 108.
Popular outer-suburban stations include Glen Waverley, Clayton and Dandenong.
Uber state manager for Victoria, Lucas Groeneveld, said many Melbourne commuters would be familiar with the frustration of trying to get a carpark at train stations in the early hours of the morning.
“It’s a difficult problem to solve, particularly when space around a station is limited, and that this will only get harder over time,” Mr Groeneveld said.
“Ride-sharing is playing a role in other cities around the world and we’re keen to partner with government to offer Melbourne commuters affordable and flexible ways to access public transport.”
In the US, the city of Summit is providing New Jersey residents with subsidised weekday Uber rides to and from the Summit train station.
In the UK, a British property developer is offering flats with free Uber rides included.
In the 2016-17 Victorian state Budget, the government committed $20 million to provide more commuter car parking spaces across metropolitan and regional train stations.
The government’s carpark upgrades program will deliver up to 2100 new commuter parking spaces, with works scheduled to commence this year.
www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/uber ... 0db6fdd599
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Re: Uber and the Victorian Taxi Industry

Postby Roderick Smith » Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:18 pm

170624Sa Melbourne 'Herald Sun' - Uber.

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Uber

Postby Roderick Smith » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:59 am

Roderick.

170719W Melbourne 'Herald Sun' - Uber gouge.
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Uber gouging

Postby Roderick Smith » Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:25 pm

Roderick.

July 20 2017 No use complaining about Uber's surge pricing: it's just capitalism at work .
How easy is it being transport minister in Victoria when you don't have to actually run the train, tram and bus system?
Victoria's Jacinta Allan felt no compunction in hitting the airwaves to slam Metro Trains' performance after a software failure left peak-hour commuters in Melbourne stranded on platforms and trains for more than an hour last week.
Metro copped grief after its trains were stopped due to a computer fault. Photo: Tim Young .
The minister said the outage was "completely unacceptable", and flagged tighter contract controls to prevent a repeat of the problems that caused the system to shut down.
How a tighter contract will stop software failure is far from clear, but the finer points don't matter when a minister has a chance to grandstand on a popular issue.
Minister Jacinta Allan made the most of transport woes to fire broadsides at Metro Trains and Uber. Photo: Pat Scala .
But you have to take anything the minister says about improving public transport with a grain of salt until the government decides to take back control of the system and run it for the convenience of the public rather than the profit of shareholders. I'm not holding my breath.
Not content with a free kick against Metro Trains, she lined up Uber, too.
As commuters fled jammed train stations, Uber fares surged by up to 3.6 times, with people reportedly quoted $50 for a trip across the CBD by the ride-sharing app.
"I think their behaviour exposed their approach to the way they treat people who use their services," the minister said. "Taking advantage of people in a difficult circumstance is not a way to run the business."
But that is Uber working as intended, applying a hyper-capitalist free-market model to pricing. When demand for the service increases, so do prices. Uber claims the increased fares bring more drivers onto the ride-share market, thereby lowering prices.
Anyone who uses Uber knows that's how it works: the app is quite transparent about the surge.
For the minister to say there's something wrong with demand-based pricing is like saying there's something wrong with capitalism itself – which might be a welcome return to the ALP's socialist roots if it weren't just talk.
This week the government announced that it is looking at capping Uber's surge pricing in such situations. Minister Allan said the company was being "put on notice".
"Certainly as part of or broader reforms to the industry, these sorts of concerns on consumer protection is exactly what we want to have in place," she said.
Flagging you plan to regulate the core of Uber's business model is a big call. The minister may consider herself on notice, too – to turn her words into action.
Matt Holden is a Fairfax columnist.
www.theage.com.au/comment/no-use-compla ... xexgq.html
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Re: Uber now legal in Vic.

Postby Roderick Smith » Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:39 pm

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Re: Uber and the Victorian Taxi Industry

Postby Swift » Fri Aug 11, 2017 9:41 pm

Amazing how capitalism takes a back seat when it isn't favourable.
You wanted Uber, take it like a man or walk.
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Re: Uber in Ballarat & Bendigo

Postby Roderick Smith » Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:34 pm

170828M Melbourne 'Herald Sun' - Uber west.
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Victorian Taxi Industry - deregulated fares

Postby Roderick Smith » Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:50 am

Cab drivers may soon set their own fares under new state laws.
Herald Sun October 12, 2017.
Uber v taxis at Melbourne Airport
$1 levy to pay for Uber red tape
Uber X takes off at Melbourne Airport
NEW laws that would allow taxi drivers to set their own fares could be introduced in state parliament as early as next week.
The Herald Sun understands Cabinet will consider the changes soon. But Cabinet will have to decide whether to cap fares or create other restrictions to ensure consumers are protected.
The laws are the second tranche of reforms that legalised Uber and other ride-sharing operators, and which effectively scrapped taxi licence fees.
Industry sources say there is concern about a “half-pregnant” approach: new players such as Uber already operate in a system without fare limits.
They argue the reduction of taxi licence costs and other reforms will limit excessive fares by boosting competition.
Opposition public transport spokesman David Davis has criticised Daniel Andrews’ dismantling of the taxi industry. Picture: Stuart Milligan
It is likely the government will consider whether to put in place a sector-wide fares cap.
The industry is also waiting to see whether the government moves to cap surge pricing.
In July, after Melbourne’s train network shut down during one evening peak hour, Transport Minister Jacinta Allan put Uber “on notice” for trebling its rates.
Major changes are likely to trigger heated debate. Some taxi licence owners have already complained that the government has destroyed their livelihoods.
The Herald Sun can reveal that in an effort to placate angry stakeholders, the government has already paid out 98 per cent of its $332 million compensation package for people who had owned up to four taxi licences.
Transport Minister Jacinta Allan put Uber ‘on notice’ for trebling its rates. Picture: AAP
That scheme allows for ­licence holders to claim $100,000 for a first licence and $50,000 each for up to three further licences.
The government says tens of millions of dollars from the uncapped “fairness fund” had been distributed to those hit hardest by the reforms.
The first payments were made in July, but the government cannot yet give an exact account of how much it has paid out.
Opposition public transport spokesman David Davis said: “(Premier) Daniel Andrews’ dismantling of the taxi industry has been a shambles, with inconsistent and hopelessly ­inadequate transition assistance and an unfair ‘fairness’ fund.”
But Hayley McNaughton, on behalf of Ms Allan, said the government was providing more than half-a-billion dollars to the existing industry — “the most generous assistance package in the country”.
www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/cab- ... 98adcddf10, 24 comments, sceptical/hostile.
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