CEO ARTICLE

Aug 01 2016

Late in 2015 the Victorian Taxi Association were pleased to launch VicTaxi Magazine. Ever since, we’ve been proudly telling the stories of the diverse and dedicated people that make up our industry, using it to provide news and information and as a platform for relevant advertisers to access the industry. 

Whilst we still see great value in the publication and receive very positive feedback about it, we are anticipating the need to be able to communicate more quickly as things continue to change in our industry and have decided to shift from monthly editions to bi-monthly (once every 2 months). This will free up some resources and allow us to respond more quickly if announcements about reform are made but won’t affect the amount of content or information we make available to the industry. August will be the last single-month edition before the change with two further editions in 2016 – Sept/Oct and Nov/Dec and then we will continue with the bi-monthly format into 2017.

Communicating important information, news and sharing stories will always be a very important part of what we do and we will maintain and expand our suite of electronic communication platforms, including our monthly industry newsletters, regular member emails, our website news, facebook, twitter, SMS alerts and driver and industry events. The change in frequency of VicTaxi Magazine will not affect the amount of content or information we make available to the industry

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those who continue to contribute to and advertise in VicTaxi Magazine which allows us to produce what we think is the premier publication for the Victorian tax industry.  As always, we welcome any suggestions for content or direct contributions from industry participants.

On the evening of Monday 6 July it has was reported that the Victorian Government would not be appealing the County Court verdict overturning Brenner’s conviction for unlawful operation of a commercial passenger vehicle or proceeding with the 11 other cases scheduled for prosecution of charged Uber drivers in the Magistrate’s Court.

The Victorian Taxi Association made it clear that if Uber drivers were going to be prosecuted, it follows that we would not expect infringements to be issued against accredited people, and outstanding matters to be withdrawn. The TSC have confirmed that during the period of uncertainty after the County Court decision to overturn Brenner’s conviction and the amendment of the Act to remove section 159, infringements were not issued to the taxi industry and some matters were withdrawn. We appreciate the sensible approach taken by the TSC in relation to this.

In the last edition of Vic taxi we included a piece on the ESC 2016 Fare Review. Due to time constraints we could not provide much commentary on it. The VTA noted the release of the Final ESC Fare Review 2016. The VTA appreciates the difficult job the ESC had to do given the prevailing uncertainty about future regulation of commercial passenger vehicles in Victoria.

However, the VTA remains convinced that greater pricing flexibility is necessary to ensure a vibrant and innovative taxi industry moving forward.  Further, the Association is concerned that no changes have been made to the maximum fares in Urban areas despite increases in fixed costs (as outlined in the VTA submission). Finally, the VTA are disappointed that the ESC did not consult with the VTA after our submission was provided so that aspects of the VTA’s submission could be discussed in greater detail. We have written to the ESC expressing these concerns.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to observe the tragic loss of taxi driver Dilwar Shah Gardezi, 32, who died in a traffic accident in the early morning of Saturday 16 July. Public details of the circumstances of the crash are still limited and at the time of writing the Victoria Police are appealing for witnesses.  The VTA would like to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Mr Gardezi at this tragic time.

Next edition I really hope to be able to bring the industry more news regarding the regulation of ride hail services.  Thanks again to all those that have made the first 12 months of VicTaxi so successful. In particular my staff (great credit to Alana Condon for her work bringing the publication together each month), the team at TMPC and all our advertisers and contributors.

David Samuel
Chief Executive Officer

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