Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Bill 2017
As the new bill is widely rumoured to be passed into legislation early August, we look at the ramifications this will cause, not only for Metropolitan Melbourne taxis, but also for the country and regional taxis of Victoria. We will also look into the so called 'ride-share' companies such as Uber and GoCar and how this will benefit or be a detriment for their future aspirations of transport dominance.
Melbourne & Regional Taxis
With the current license system to be demolished, and the license owners to be fleeced, the Government will almost certainly allow a zero barrier entry into the industry albeit for a small fee. A lot of people think this will improve service, bring prices down, allow more competition, but lets dissect these fantasies for a moment.
- Service Improvement
Supposedly, when we allow free competition and deregulation, this ensures that the quality of taxi services will improve. But it has been proven time and time again, that without regulation, this is simply not true. As an example, the Government has recently removed the vehicle age limit that the industry was to comply with. So in essence, anyone can get any old junk, slap a meter in it, and be on their merry way.http://taxi.vic.gov.au/owners-and-operators/taxi-owners-and-operators/vehicles/taxi-vehicle-age-limits
- Taxi Fares
With with proposal to allow taxis to set their own fares, this has been met with some suspicion. Some believe that the bill will ensure that as a result taxi fares will reduce, where others believe that the taxi industry will mimic the system used by Uber and its controversial surge pricing. Although a business should have the right to charge what it wants, the Government must ensure that price gouging must not take place as it sometimes does with other transport providers.
The Government believes that this bill will ensure more competition for the industry, which theoretically will improve service and reduce fares. This is the most important aspect of the bill, and the core problem that has plagued the industry for years, which is competition. No one knows what the consequences of this bill will be, but what we do know is that it will either be one of the worst policies enacted by a government, or a beacon of innovative governance. Let's wait and see as only time will tell.