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.