ACT Government turning its thoughts to Uber

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CHIEF Minister Andrew Barr says he and his new Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Transport Reform, Shane Rattenbury, are about to announce an Innovation Review of the ACT taxi industry.

“The review will examine the potential use of new technologies for the local industry,” Andrew says.

One can only imagine this has to do with opening the market up to ride sharing phone apps like Uber which are wildly popular with the travelling public but utterly disrupt the cosy status quo of the taxi industry.

The announcement is scheduled for 12.30.

UPDATE: The review has been duly announced:

Today I joined the Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Transport Reform Shane Rattenbury to announce an Innovation Review of the ACT taxi industry that will examine the potential use of new technologies for the local industry.

This review is an acknowledgement that the taxi industry is evolving. New technologies have already been introduced by Canberra operators, and we know there is potential for further innovation through alternative digital technologies and business models. These include the potential for smartphone applications to book and track taxis and the implementation of ride-share business models that can provide users with a more accessible and competitive sector in the ACT.

Minister Rattenbury said that the review will help to inform the way forward for Canberra’s transport network.

“Canberrans want to be able to access a range of convenient transport options, and we need to consider how to facilitate entrepreneurial operators entering the market so that they can operate safely and equitably,” said Mr Rattenbury.

“I am particularly keen to explore how new technologies can drive innovation and synergies between Canberra’s taxis and our public transport system.

“Taxis and other demand responsive transport options are also important for social equity, and are often relied on by those with special transport needs. We need to ensure they continue to operate in a way that serves the needs of the broader community,” said Mr Rattenbury.

The review will seek to identify opportunities for achieving further consumer choice, sustainability and long-term competitiveness.

The review will also attempt to ensure Canberrans are being charged appropriately for the use of taxis. I have asked the review to look at issue of surcharges on electronic payments made within ACT taxis and hire cars. It’s important that we look at the costs passed onto consumers and assess whether they adequately reflect the costs of the Cabcharge service. This will involve a jurisdictional review of other surcharges applied across Australia.

This review will contribute to the improving public transport sector in the ACT, and it fits with the Government’s strategy of making Canberra a truly digital city.

The Innovation Review will be guided in part by the Commonwealth Government’s draft Competition Policy Review, which included recommendations to promote competition in the taxi industry.

Consultation will involve initial industry stakeholder meetings, the development of a discussion paper, and broader community engagement scheduled to commence in early to mid 2015.

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  1. “Back to the Future Hire Car Ride Share” a great part of the solution.

    At the moment Hire Cars are not allowed to park in a queue at Canberra airport or tout for fares, we must be booked and park in the public car parks out of sight and only pick up clients who have booked a transfer.

    Previously, this was not the case and Hire cars could park in a queue out front of the airport and accept walk up clients, clearly this gave the opportunity of improved transport and customer service and pricing for travellers at peak times at the airport, as well as supporting the Taxi industry.

    I would love to be able to park at the airport again in a queue where travellers could use my services in a ride share arrangement for $15 each (currently Hire Cars charge around $60 for the same service but are carrying just 1 booked client) with ride share like this we may get 3 or 4 passengers each paying less, but we would all benefit from volume, a real WIN/WIN for both clients and Hire Cars. Simple concept of “Back to the Future Hire Car Ride Share” could really assist in peak times. If the 30 odd hire cars currently operating in Canberra could do this there is a potential for assisting economically 30 cars x 4 clients max per ride x say 10 trips per day = 1,200 travellers from the airport. Additionally if hire cars were permitted to queue in Taxi ranks in Canberra we would be in a similar position to assist with the return journeys back to the airport as well as take strain off existing Taxis in peak hours.

    This could be done very quickly, no cost to tax payers, no economic hardship to the Taxi industry like devaluing their investment by allowing none licenced operators to undercut, no legal complications from potential law suites to the ACT Government when unlicensed operators have an accident with clients. It provides an excellent innovation and a genuinely effective solution to a real and present problem in a very cost efficient way.

    I want to share this with Canberrans and the ACT Government and those doing the “ Innovation Review” as sometimes the simple common sense solutions are overlooked with the sales hype of multinational thrill seeking glamorous technological solutions.

    My “Back to the Future Hire Car Ride Share” clearly provides further consumer choice, sustainability and long-term competitiveness, while clients are charged appropriately and operators are able to get economies of scale.

    It may be a very good part of the solution and could be trialled for a short term at little to no cost.

    Wishing you all fabulous and prosperous 2015.

    Kind Regards
    Driver Steve

    Steve Cotter
    Senior Executive Driver
    Executive Drivers Canberra
    M: 0419 0419 10
    ACT Accreditation: HC118S
    ABN:48 842 697 926

  2. what is the ACT GOVERNMENTS problem, TAXIS are no future ride, no english and are mostly dirty public toilets, who wants that…no thanks, ill take an UBER or HIRE CAR over the current monopoly. why can’t UBER, UBERX operate in the ACT when Melbourne and Sydney areall for it and it works… i will be voting for the govt to make change in these areas.
    Canberra politics is a joke and they should wake up and smell technology instead of protecting something * taxis* that don’t work and are over priced, filthy shitty cars.

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