After a year long investigation that has included statewide consultations, research and analysis, extensive online engagement, nearly 400 submissions from the Victorian public and the collation of a wealth of data that has not previously been available, the Taxi Industry Inquiry has found that Victoria’s taxi industry is performing poorly and is not working well for consumers.
With the overall number of taxi trips remaining static and occupancy rates of taxi vehicles remaining low, the effects of this poor performance are also felt by many in the industry, especially taxi operators and drivers.
Key issues found by the inquiry include:
- Service quality and performance issues including poor reliability, driver quality, availability, affordability, safety, services for people with a disability, short trip refusal, and a lack of flexibility and customer focus
- Regulation, competition and industry operation issues including problems with restrictions on licences, assigning licences, unnecessary red tape, lack of competition, transparency, accountability, and issues with the regulator
The inquiry’s proposed reform package sets a new direction for the industry toward our vision for the future. The package has three core aims: increasing and improving the supply of taxis and hire cars, restoring trust in the taxi industry and boosting the demand for taxi and hire car services.
These recommendations should be considered as an integrated package of reforms that will need to be implemented in full to have the required impact.
1. Increase and improve supply
There will be more taxis and hire cars on the road, more competition and innovation in the market for pre-booked services and more opportunities to enter various segments of the taxi and hire car markets. Customers will benefit from greater availability and choice of services, and from more reliable and accessible services.
2. Restore trust
Service standards and driver quality will improve through the introduction of a new streamlined permit system and better training, testing and remuneration of taxi drivers. Taxi permit holders (operators) and networks (ATOs) will be directly responsible for the services they and their members provide; information about service performance will be readily available to consumers; and there will be clear avenues to resolve complaints.
3. Boost demand
Removing impediments to taxis providing fixed route and share ride services, better integrating commercial passenger vehicles with the broader transport system and moving over time from fare control to fare competition will enable the industry to boost demand and realise its potential. It will also result in customers having a much greater choice in the types of services available.