Uber proposes $150 permits in Victoria as govt explores taxi reform – report

#hashtags: #Uber #Victorian #UberX #Victoria #Victorian Taxi Association #Daniel #Taxi

Uber has reportedly asked the Victorian government to consider a $150 annual permit for drivers using its mobile app to accept trip requests from a growing number of users.

Although the New South Wales and Western Australia governments announced major taxi industry reforms last week that will legalise ‘ride-sharing’ services like UberX, Victoria has yet to reveal plans.

Recent months have seen the Victorian Taxi Association back away from its campaign against Uber, and Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has confirmed that his government is investigating how best to best deal with the matter of taxi industry reform and the legalisation of UberX.

Now, a new report with News Limited claims that Uber has made a submission to the Victorian government on how its app-based service could operate legally, proposing a $150 annual permit issued and administered by the Taxi Service Commission.

By comparison, taxi licence fees in Victoria are priced at $22,703, along with an annual fee of $538. Other administrative fees can add hundreds of dollars more to the cost of operating a taxi in Victoria.

But, as with New South Wales, it is likely that taxi industry reform in Victoria that legalises UberX and similar services would likewise be accompanied by compensation and reduced costs for existing taxi operators.

The report adds that Uber has also promised to create 5000 jobs in Victoria – although it is unclear if this means direct employment, enticing more Victorians into ‘driver-partner’ roles, or a combination of both.

The submission is also understood to accept the likely requirement for stricter screening of all drivers, to be managed by the Taxi Service Commission, with criminal record and driver history checks to be run through Australian Federal Police and VicRoads systems.

Current UberX driver-partner requirements for Victoria:

you are at least 21 years old have a full Victorian drivers licence have held a Victorian drivers licence for at least 12 months meets the following driver history requirements:no more than 3 minor offences in the last 3 yearsno major offences or suspensions in the last 3 years no drug or alcohol infractions at any time no prior police record

In a statement on Friday, the Victorian Taxi Association said that it will “continue to engage constructively” with the Victorian government on the potential for changes to how the taxi industry operates.

“We want to see a future for the commercial passenger vehicle industry where the industry is free to deliver the best possible services, where regulation is used only to address market failures, allowing a genuinely competitive marketplace to function where all providers are playing by the same rules,” the association said.