The news has hit that the State Government will introduce widespread reforms to the taxi and chauffeur vehicle industry which could mean that UberX and other app services become legal here in SA.
These changes come after a comprehensive and independent review and following extensive consultation with the public and industry. And while Uber remain ‘cautiously optimistic and need to consider the implications of the regulations the government are proposing before they can commit to launching UberX’, we have no doubt that today’s news was more than welcome!
So what can we expect? Well the reforms will better encourage new technologies, innovations and choices for passengers, while ensuring the long-term sustainability of the industry. So basically it means that:
- From July 1 new entrants will be able to participate allowing new services and technologies such as the introduction of ridesharing in South Australia.
- This includes app-based services such as UberX and GoCatch
- Taxis will continue to have exclusive rights to rank and hail work as well as the South Australian Transport Subsidy Scheme work
Premier Jay Weatherill said, “The State Government has worked hard to negotiate a balance between the desire for more choice, better quality of service, improved working conditions and the sustainability of existing operators and investors.
Our reforms deliver a genuine level playing field between taxis, chauffeur vehicles and new entrants like Uber.”
In recognition of the potential impact these changes will have on the existing industry, the State Government will deliver an assistance package to help offset any impacts of the new regulatory regime. It will provide:
• $30,000 payment per privately-owned taxi licence
• $50 a week compensation for a maximum of 11 months for licence lessees
• A freeze on the release of new taxi licences for at least five years
It will be funded by a $1 levy on all metropolitan trips, across all platforms, including taxis, chauffeur vehicles and new entrants.
In addition, the State Government will reduce costs for drivers and owners of taxis and chauffer vehicles and remove unnecessary regulatory burdens and red tape.
Taxis and chauffer vehicles will also continue to have exclusive rights to pre-booked work and cash fares.
All drivers and vehicles, including new entrants, will be required to adhere to current stringent driver accreditation and vehicle roadworthiness standards, in response to public feedback.
This includes police and working-with-children checks and six-monthly roadworthiness inspections.
Taxis and chauffer vehicles will continue to be an integral part of the public transport system and the State Government’s response will ensure this important industry remains sustainable.
Other key reforms include:
• Better services for people with disabilities with a new Government-funded lifting fee and revised on-time bonus Reduce regulations around the types of vehicles for taxi and chauffeur services to reduce costs and increase fairness
• Reduce credit card surcharges
• Taxi fares to be increased on the running and waiting time components only.
• A new peak night-time tariff to be introduced.
• More inspection and enforcement staff
• New Ministerial Advisory Committee to ensure the reforms are delivered promptly New penalties including on-the-spot fines and removal of accreditation
The review panel also recommended several longer-term initiatives including:
• Introduction of Chain of Responsibility provisions and Disqualifying Offences
• Adoption of new technologies for the South Australian Transport Subsidy Scheme
• Changes to the Passenger Transport Standards Committee
Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan said, “This is an important industry in South Australia and can only grow with less regulation and costs, and access to new technologies.”
Keep your eye on this one and we will bring you the latest as it happens!