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Table of Contents
Abbreviations List of Tables
1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Background Aims and Objectives Methodology Structure of Report
1 1 2 3
2. An Overview of the Taxi Industry in Rural New South Wales
2.1 Structure 2.1.1 Taxi Licences 2.1.2 Taxi Networks 2.1.3 Taxi Drivers Market Characteristics Costs Regulation Differentiating between the Rural and Metropolitan Taxi Industry Country Taxi Operators Association
4 8 9 10 10 11 11 14 15
2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6
3.1 3.2 3.3
Regulation and the Rural Taxi Industry
Introduction 16 Advantages/Disadvantages of Local Councils Regulating the Rural Taxi Industry 17 Who Should Regulate the Rural Taxi Industry? 18
4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4
Identification of Other Issues for Discussion
Supply and Distribution of Taxi Licences Costs of Running a Taxi Business Relationships with Other Transport Service Providers Other Concerns
20 21 22 25
Options for Reform
Relationships with Other Transport Service Providers 5.1.1 Integrated Transport Provision in Rural NSW 5.1.2 Regulating Community Transport and Courtesy Buses Supply of Taxi Licences 5.2.1 Information Needs 5.2.2 Demand for Taxi Services in Rural NSW
26 26 27 28 28 29
Reducing Industry Costs 5.3.1 Advertising 5.3.2 Other Costs Service from the Department of Transport 5.4.1 Appointed Contacts 5.4.2 Networking
30 30 31 31 31 32
32 34 35
Bibliography Appendix 1: List of Organisations Consulted
ACCC CTOA Department HACC IPART LPG MTD NSW RTA TAC TTSS TWU WAT Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Country Taxi Operators Association Department of Transport Home and Community Care Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal Liquefied Petroleum Gas Metropolitan Transport District New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority Taxi Advisory Committee Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme Transport Workers Union Wheelchair Accessible Taxi
List of Tables Table 1 Table 2 Table 3 Table 4 Table 5 Type and Distribution of Taxi Licences in Rural NSW Type and Distribution of Taxi Licences in Newcastle and Wollongong Concentration of Taxi Licences across Rural NSW Average Operating Costs of a Single Taxi in Rural NSW in 2000 Summary of Taxi Regulation in NSW .
the Premier asked the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Review Tribunal (IPART) to review the regulation of the taxi and hire car industries under the Passenger Transport Act 1990. the Hon. To examine the concerns of the taxi cab industry regarding other forms of public transport in rural NSW. To compare the relative operating costs of rural taxis as against urban taxis. a final report was published in November 1999. as the IPART report contains a heavy focus on the Metropolitan Transport District (MTD). One such measure concerned the production of a discussion paper to investigate IPART’s recommendation of delegating the regulation of the rural taxi industry to local councils. After due consideration by the Government. As part of this process. 1 .Section 1: Introduction 1. In doing so. it was felt opportune to canvass other issues relating to the rural taxi industry in this paper. It was considered that this might lead to a more focused approach to the specific needs of the taxi industry with a view to providing more efficient and effective service delivery in rural areas. Carl Scully. To examine the implications of supply and demand for taxi services in rural NSW. The Government of New South Wales made a commitment to reviewing all existing legislation that restricts competition in the marketplace prior to 2000. Following discussion and comment on the interim report.2 Aims and Objectives: The principal aim of the discussion paper is to investigate IPART’s recommendation of delegating the regulation of the rural taxi cab industry to local councils. To examine whether there is any justification to making policy adjustments regarding rural taxi operators based on different conditions and/or needs in those areas. More specifically. Submissions were subsequently invited from interested parties and public hearings took place leading to the publication of an interim report in August 1999. 1. MP. IPART commenced the review in October 1998 with the publication of an issues paper explaining the process of the review and highlighting the key issues to be considered. However. announced a variety of new measures concerning the taxi industry in July 2000. the Minister for Transport. the paper also examines issues relating to the taxi industry generally in rural New South Wales (NSW).1 Background In 1995 the Federal and State Governments of Australia made a commitment to a microeconomic reform agenda to enable the establishment of common competition laws. the objectives of the discussion paper are: • • • • • To outline the advantages and disadvantages of local councils regulating the taxi industry in rural NSW.
Bathurst and Lismore. Sources included: • • • • The IPART Issues Paper. Submissions to the IPART inquiry into the taxi industry from individuals and interest groups. Wagga Wagga. 1. A list of organisations who were directly involved in the consultation process can be seen in Appendix 1. rural New South Wales refers to all areas outside the Metropolitan Transport District. This consultation was achieved through study visits to a number of locations in the country as well as through meetings held in Sydney. Wollongong. The visits to rural NSW provided an opportunity to gain a first hand insight into how the industry operates at local level in rural communities. 2 . focus group sessions with taxi industry representatives and other relevant organisations took place. Primary Research The aim of the primary research was to consult directly with taxi industry representatives and other organisations with an interest in the rural taxi industry. Department of Transport files and papers. During such visits to rural NSW. Minutes from meetings of the Department and Taxi Industry Joint Consultative Committee. Interim Report and Final Report regarding the taxi and hire car industries in NSW.• To provide options for discussion with regard to particular courses of action. For the purposes of this paper. The primary research took place during December 2000 and January 2001.3 Methodology The preparation of this discussion paper involved both primary and secondary research. Newcastle. Secondary Research Secondary research involved an analysis of written material from a variety of sources. Areas visited included the Central Coast.
In addition. Section 5 focuses on the options for reform of the rural taxi industry. The profile provides a current snapshot of the industry including relevant statistical information. 3 . In Section 4. new approaches to policy formation are discussed. the advantages and disadvantages of local council involvement in regulating the rural taxi industry are explored. Section 2 contains a profile of the taxi industry in rural NSW.1. other issues pertinent to the rural taxi industry are discussed. Finally. Section 1 provides an introduction to the discussion paper and the methodology employed in its preparation. the conclusion draws together the main themes of the paper with a view to the next steps in the consultation process.4 Structure of Report The discussion paper is divided into 5 sections. In section 3.
the type of licence and the number of taxis operated by licensees. there are no taxi services whatsoever. The figure for Newcastle and Wollongong is 94%. Wollongong and Gosford. Table 1 outlines the number of taxis per area. 4 .1 Structure The rural taxi industry encompasses all taxi services outside the Metropolitan Transport District. • • • 63% of towns in rural NSW have 4 taxis or less with only five urban centres outside Sydney having greater than 30 taxis each.1% inside the Newcastle and Wollongong Transport Districts. made up of numerous operators in an area. In cities such as Newcastle. This is a vast geographical area and. in some parts of rural NSW. the industry varies considerably due to local conditions. a city. a town.Section 2: An Overview of the Taxi Industry in Rural New South Wales 2. In addition to variations in the size and nature of operating areas. • 1 Unknown quantities of unrestricted licences are attached to wheelchair accessible vehicles throughout rural NSW. the following observations can be made regarding the structure of the taxi industry in rural NSW. Newcastle TD and Wollongong TD are unrestricted licences. the taxi industry varies from single operators to large networks. Indeed. 72. An operational area may be a transport district (as in Newcastle and Wollongong). taxis play a key role in supplementing public transport while in small towns. a group of towns or a local government area.3% of licence holders operate their own taxis. consequently. Newcastle TD and Wollongong TD. This figure falls to 3. From this data. within which single or multiple taxi operators exist. Table 2 provides similar data for Newcastle and Wollongong. Within Newcastle and Wollongong.1 85% of all licence holders operate their own taxis outside of the Metropolitan TD. 10% of all taxi licences outside of the Metropolitan TD. Newcastle TD and Wollongong TD are WAT licences. 86% of all taxi licences outside of the Metropolitan TD. taxis may be the only form of public transport available. The rural taxi industry is divided into different “operational areas”.
Table 1-Type and Distribution of Taxi Licences in Rural NSW Town Number of Taxis 1 28 1 16 7 1 1 2 3 4 28 4 2 2 2 4 3 1 1 4 1 1 20 1 1 6 1 13 73 15 4 17 2 10 3 3 3 4 2 1 4 20 2 1 Unrestricted Licence 1 25 1 15 4 1 WAT Licence Shortterm Licence Aberdeen Albury Alstonville Armidale Ballina Balranald Bargo Barham Barooga/Tocumwal Batemans Bay Bathurst Bega Bellingen Bermagui Berry/Shoalhaven Head Blackheath Blaxland/Glenbrook Blayney Boorowa Bourke Bowraville Branxton/Greta Broken Hill Bunendore Buronga/Coomealla Byron Bay Camden Haven Casino/Coraki Central Coast Cessnock Cobar Coffs Harbour Condobolin Cooma Coonabarabran Coonamble* Cootamundra Corowa Culburra Dareton Deniliquin Dubbo* Eden Evans Head 3 1 3 1 2 3 3 27 3 1 2 2 4 3 1 4 1 1 19 1 3 13 49 15 4 12 2 10 3 3 3 3 1 1 4 18 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 13 1 11 5 1 1 2 Taxis Operated by licensees 0 27 1 12 6 0 1 2 3 4 17 4 2 0 2 3 2 1 1 4 1 1 20 1 1 6 1 13 56 15 3 13 0 10 2 3 3 4 2 1 2 17 2 1 5 .
Town Number of Taxis 1 7 7 1 4 1 28 14 1 11 2 8 1 1 1 1 5 8 2 2 22 13 5 3 6 2 2 4 4 1 28 11 3 2 30 1 4 5 6 14 3 3 8 5 2 1 Unrestricted Licence 1 7 3 1 4 28 13 9 2 8 1 1 1 2 7 2 2 21 13 4 2 6 2 2 4 4 26 11 3 2 29 1 2 4 2 14 3 3 7 3 WAT Licence Shortterm Licence Fingal Head Forbes Forster/Tuncurry Gilgandra Glen Innes Gloucester Goulburn Grafton Grenfell Griffith Gundagai Gunnedah Guyra Harden/Murrumburrah Hay Howlong Huskisson Inverell Jindabyne Junee Katoomba Kempsey Kiama/Gerringong Kingscliff/Chinderah Kurri Kurri Kyogle Laurieton Lawson Leeton Lightning Ridge Lismore Lithgow Macksville Maclean Maitland Manilla Merimbula Milton/Ulladulla Moama Moree Morisset Moruya Mudgee Mullumbimby* Mulwala Murray Downs District 4 1 1 1 2 1 3 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 4 1 2 2 1 Taxis Operated by licensees 1 7 7 1 4 1 27 14 0 6 2 8 1 1 1 1 5 7 2 2 13 12 5 2 6 2 2 4 3 1 22 10 3 2 25 1 4 5 5 14 3 3 5 5 2 1 6 .
Town Number of Taxis 1 7 9 4 4 6 3 2 2 13 1 30 12 4 13 16 1 2 1 6 1 2 4 1 22 15 2 2 1 1 6 5 13 2 1 29 1 2 4 5 1 3 3 18 3 2 Unrestricted Licence 1 7 8 4 3 6 3 2 9 1 29 11 4 8 15 1 2 4 1 1 4 1 20 14 2 2 1 3 5 12 2 1 23 1 2 4 5 1 3 3 17 3 1 WAT Licence Shortterm Licence Murrumbateman Murwillumbah Muswellbrook* Nambucca Heads Narooma Narrarbri Narranderra Narromine Nelson Bay Nowra* Oberon Orange Parkes Picton/Tahmoor Port Macquarie Queanbeyan Quirindi Scone Shire of Port Stephens Singleton South Bowenfels SouthWest Rocks Springwood Sussex Inlet Tamworth Taree* Temora Tenterfield Thredbo Tocumwal Tomaree Peninsula Tumut Tweed Heads Uralla Urunga Wagga Wagga* Walgett Wangi Wangi Wauchope Wellington Wentworth West Wyalong Weston/Kurri Kurri Wingecarribee Wingham Woolgoolga 1 1 1 4 1 1 5 1 1 1 2 1 2 1 1 3 1 6 1 1 Taxis Operated by licensees 1 4 0 3 4 6 3 2 1 13 1 24 7 4 12 13 1 1 1 6 1 2 3 1 20 15 2 2 1 1 6 4 12 2 1 23 1 2 4 5 0 1 0 18 3 2 7 .
1. January 2001 Table 3 provides a picture of the scale of the taxi industry across rural NSW. January 2001 Due to the scale of the taxi industry in Newcastle and Wollongong. Table 3. data from both Transport Districts is provided in Table 2 so as not to distort the data from the remainder of rural NSW. However. It is clear from the table that the taxi industry in rural areas is predominantly made up of small operators. competition from other transport 8 .Town Number of Taxis 1 4 8 926 Unrestricted Licence 1 4 8 799 WAT Licence Shortterm Licence Yamba Yass Young TOTAL 92 35 Taxis Operated by licensees 1 4 8 790 * In each of these locations. Table 2-Type and Distribution of Taxi Licences in Newcastle and Wollongong Transport District No. population trends. they have accumulated a considerable market value in some areas. since 1990. of Unrestricted Taxis 158 127 285 146 122 268 WAT ShortTerm 2 2 Others Taxis Operated Licensees 124 82 206 by Newcastle Wollongong TOTAL 4 5 9 6 6 Source: Department of Transport. has issued no such licences. which accounts for 88% of all licences issued. The market value varies significantly throughout rural NSW. 63% of all operating areas in rural NSW have less than 4 taxis in operation with just 15% having between five and nine taxis. January 2001 2. including Newcastle and Wollongong Transport Districts. Only 10% of operating areas have a taxi industry in excess of twenty taxis. Source: Department of Transport. as those former annual licences have taken on a perpetual status and as the Department of Transport. Unrestricted licences were issued free of charge and can be traded within the authorised area of operation.Concentration of Taxi Licences across Rural NSW No. A number of variables affect the value of taxi licences including whether there is a shortage of taxis or excess taxis. a small number of taxis are licensed to operate in a larger operational area.1 Taxi Licences The most common form of licence in rural NSW. is the ordinary unrestricted category. of Cabs No. of Areas 0-4 89 5-9 21 10-14 11 15-19 6 20-24 4 25-29 5 30+ 5 Source: Department of Transport.
it can be seen that. WAT licences account for 3. 82% of all licence holders in rural areas. mobile phones may be the sole method of providing dispatch services.2 Taxi Networks The high proportion of licensee operators in the rural taxi industry ensures the close involvement of licence holders in the organisation of the industry at local level. which has intervened to prevent such restraints on free trade in some areas. the rostering of cars has not found favour with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). When the proportion of WAT licences in Newcastle/Wollongong is compared with the rest of rural NSW. a rostering or preferred car system is in place by agreement amongst the taxi operators. This is almost 10% higher than the average across the rest of rural NSW. In some very small rural areas. There is no limit to the number of taxis an operator may manage.providers and Departmental policy. In addition. 9 . However. these networks manage licences. there is one taxi network in each operational area. almost all operators are members of the local network. operators are required under the Passenger Transport Act 1990 to be connected to a network if there is one in the area.2% of licences in Newcastle/Wollongong. this represents a significant difference between the rural and metropolitan taxi industries. there is more than three times as many WAT licences in the rest of rural NSW where they are issued free of charge. Taxi Licences in Newcastle and Wollongong Unrestricted licences represent 94% of all taxi licences in the Newcastle/Wollongong Transport Districts. This results in some taxis being removed during quiet periods and all taxis being available during peak periods. The remainder lease their licences to operators of taxi businesses. In many cases. In some towns. 2. When compared with figures from the Metropolitan Transport District. While there is no need for licence holders to be members of a taxi network. operate their own taxis. In many parts of rural NSW individual taxi operators have come together to form networks to run their business. The taxi industry structure varies across rural NSW. including the Newcastle and Wollongong Transport Districts. Dispatch services vary across NSW depending on the size of the city or town and the availability of technology.1. There is no limit to the number of licences that the Department may issue or that an individual may hold.7% of taxi licences. there is an unknown number of WATs operating on ordinary unrestricted licences. equal opportunities to earn income. The WAT licence category accounts for 10% of all licences in rural NSW. Short-Term licences account for 0. In rural areas. Newcastle and Wollongong taxis operate from a computerised taxi dispatch system whereas smaller towns often use two way radio communication with a central base. All taxi networks must be authorised by the Department to provide dispatch services. Short-term licences account for 4% of licences issued since 1990. This means that in practice. Shifts are calculated to ensure that all drivers have an equal share of quiet and busy periods and thus. operate taxi businesses and in almost all cases. provide dispatch services. In some towns. one person or family may own and operate all taxi licences while in others a local network may comprise different individual operators with each operating just one licence. proportionately.
The taxi industry provides transport for children with special needs to and from school under the School Student Transport Scheme. This figure contains an unknown large proportion of drivers who are presently inactive within the industry and. This is due to the fact that a large proportion of the market is door-to-door trips as well as trips from shopping areas that have ranks conveniently located nearby. Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) and medical check as part of the Departmental driver authorisation process. Another aspect of the taxi market in rural NSW is contract work in relation to providing services for children with special needs and providing services for medical institutions. Taxi passengers reflect a broad cross-section of society and the reasons for using taxi services are varied. Older people and young people with disposable income tend to use taxi services relatively frequently in rural areas.1. medical treatment and leisure activities. Driver training in rural areas is left to the discretion of the individual network with training content focused on local geography and specific aspects of the local market. war widows and their dependents for the purposes of medical treatment. The Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme (TTSS) was introduced in 1981 in order to promote accessibility for people who cannot use public transport because of their disability. There are 4. the taxi industry provides a valuable transport service enabling members of the public to attend medical appointments and assisting the health sector in carrying out its responsibilities.3 Taxi Drivers Taxi drivers are authorised by the Department of Transport and are subject to a number of rules concerning their behaviour. which leads to a relatively high turnover of drivers. study. 10 . This is not so much the case in smaller towns where taxi driving is often a lifelong vocation for drivers. Taxi driving tends to be viewed as a temporary employment opportunity by many drivers. At many locations throughout NSW.2 Market Characteristics The rural taxi industry has a combined phone.2. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs uses taxi services to provide transport for eligible veterans. especially in larger towns and cities. as such. It does this by subsidising 50% of the taxi fare up to a maximum of $30. All drivers of cars connected to a network are required to wear a uniform that is agreed between the local network and the Department. rank and hail market structure.081 authorised drivers in rural NSW. The majority of business comes from the phone and rank elements of the market with a much smaller proportion coming from on-street hailing. It is also evident that people with disabilities are an important user group and often depend on taxis for accessible transport in rural areas. 2. All drivers must obtain an appropriate licence under the Road Transport (Driver Licensing) Act 1998 and must have a Police. This allows people with a serious and permanent disability to travel by taxi for work. Examples of services provided to the health sector include the transport of x-rays and blood samples between hospitals or doctors’ surgeries. it is difficult to identify the exact number of active drivers.
465 35.2.868 3. “The debate is not about whether the taxi industry should be ‘regulated’ or ‘deregulated’.703 6. January 2001 2.152 1.800 7. Such a study would provide reliable data for informing policy formation regarding the rural taxi industry.448 2.3 Costs The Country Taxi Operators Association (CTOA) estimates that the average cost of running a single taxi business in rural NSW in 2000 was $114. given 11 .179 114. objective assessment of expenses incurred and revenue generated by the taxi industry in rural NSW to be carried out. it must be emphasised that this figure represents the average cost of running a single taxi and due to the nature of the rural taxi industry.4 Regulation The need for regulation within the taxi industry has long been a topic of debate in NSW.013 839 7. There is a need for an independent. Table 4. However.546 3. However.Average Operating Costs of a Single Taxi in Rural NSW in 2000 Expenses: Fixed Expenses: Vehicle Lessee Payments Insurances Government Charges Base or Network Fees License lease fees Annual Establishment Costs Variable Expenses: LPG Fuel Maintenance labour Vehicle Parts and Panels Cleaning Tyres Administration Labour Operators Superannuation Operator and driver earnings Uniforms Other TOTAL OPERATING EXPENSES 16.355 4.975 5.718.425 3.650 7. as pointed out in the IPART Final Report on the Taxi Industry in NSW (1999). It is almost universally accepted that some form of regulation of the taxi industry is required. Table 4 shows the breakdown of the Association’s estimate of the average costs of operating a single taxi in 2000. there are significant variations in costs between large cities such as Newcastle and Wollongong and small rural towns throughout NSW.800 500 Cost ($) Source: Country Taxi Operators Association.718 7.
The Passenger Transport (Taxi-cab Services) Regulation 1995 is concerned with specific aspects of the operation of taxi services. The Transport Administration Act 1988 deals with the respective responsibilities of the Minister for Transport and the Director-General of the Department of Transport in providing public transport generally. Up to 1982. 1999:5) Regulation of the taxi industry in NSW is justified on the basis of the need to provide for universal access. the Workers Compensation Act 1987 and the Industrial Relations Act 1996. Industry groups play a key role in relation to customer complaints handling and assist in enforcing standards that are set down by the Department. This authority is derived from the Passenger Transport Act 1990 and the Passenger Transport (Taxi-cab Services) Regulation 1995. 12 . It also provides for the delegation of the Director-General’s powers and sets down the boundaries for the various transport districts. The taxi industry in NSW has a long history of regulation dating back to the pre-1930s. These roles could only be performed after consultation with the Department of Motor Transport. Responsibility for all aspects of industry regulation was transferred to the Department of Motor Transport in 1982 (whose public vehicle responsibilities were subsequently taken over by the Department of Transport) At present. Furthermore. minimum standards of service quality and safety standards. local government was responsible for issuing taxi licences and regulating fare structures. The Department has primary responsibility for the regulation of the industry. a shift towards increased industry co-regulation between the Department and industry representative groups has taken place. and to what extent they should be regulated.the nature of the market. there is extensive vehicle. livery and advertising Stand-by taxis Records maintained by drivers and operators and the retention of such records Fares Behaviour of drivers and passengers Driver uniforms Lost property Carriage of goods and animals Taxi Stands Since the introduction of the Passenger Transport Act 1990. regulatory powers include the authority to issue licences. set fare levels and driver and vehicle standards. Under the Passenger Transport Act 1990. including the Transport Administration Act 1988. driver and passenger safety legislation administered by the RTA.” (IPART. the Department and the RTA regulate the taxi industry. Key elements of the Regulation deal with: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Accommodation standards for taxis Maximum age of taxis Operation of taxi-meters Security devices Condition of taxis Information in taxis such as the rights and obligations of the hirer and the display of fares Child restraint systems Signs and lights on taxis including provisions of taxi network decals. Rather. the debate is about what aspects of the industry should be regulated. There is additional legislation which has a bearing on the manner in which taxi services are provided.
Director-General can impose licence conditions as he sees fit (operating hours/vehicle type) .Must have no criminal record and good driving history . legal and administrative issues. The Bureau consists of personnel who focus on policy and planning. An integrated approach to the regulation of the taxi industry is now provided at one location under the direction of a General Manager.Different types of licences .Must be accredited . monitors vehicle safety standards and authorises taxi inspection stations.Act and Regulation outline driver offences . such as response times for booking. licensing and authorisation.Standard livery .Standards.Must be authorised . 13 .Must wear uniform .Maximum fares displayed in taxis Team of Departmental officials enforce compliance (investigate complaints. compliance.Table 5 provides a summary of the various elements of taxi regulation regarding rural NSW. registers vehicles.Display of passenger rights and obligations in vehicle . Table 5.Summary of Taxi Regulation in NSW Regulation Licensing Main Features .Additional tariffs set . The Bureau is located in Parramatta. monitored .Must have sound financial standing . The RTA also plays an important role in the regulation of the taxi industry.Age restrictions . issue fines for noncompliance) Pricing Networks Operators Drivers Vehicle Standards Customer Service Compliance The Taxi and Hire Car Bureau was established within the Department in August 2000 to deliver all taxi and hire car policy.Must be connected to network .Required to display driver authority in vehicle .Must be able to meet safety and vehicle standards .Must be clean .Must be of good repute .Licences are transferable (except short-term licences) .Must be medically fit .Need driver authorisation .Limited advertising . The RTA issues drivers licences.Maximum fares set . regulatory and administrative functions on a State-wide basis.
the Department recognises the Metropolitan. it is important to differentiate between the industry in the Metropolitan Transport District (Sydney) and the remainder of NSW. Thus. However. All 12 networks in Sydney operate within the one transport district whereas in rural NSW. the industry outside Sydney cannot be viewed as a homogenous entity with similar operations. • The taxi industry in Sydney consists of 12 networks each of which have large fleets while the rural industry has 151 networks with two-thirds of them operating less than 4 taxis.5 Differentiating between the Rural and Metropolitan Taxi Industry In order to understand the nature of the taxi industry in rural NSW. This also provides an incentive for the industry in rural areas to ensure an efficient service is provided and that customer complaints are dealt with swiftly and fairly. groups of towns or local government areas outside the transport districts. The industry in rural NSW has characteristics that make it distinct from the industry in Sydney. there is one network in many operating areas.2. there are vast differences in the scale of operations between the metropolitan and rural industries. the issue of how the taxi industry in metropolitan and rural areas is classified for policy purposes must be considered. Fixed shift pay-ins by bailee drivers are preferred in metropolitan areas whereas in rural areas the norm is for bailees to take a percentage of shift revenue with the operator meeting overhead costs from the remaining percentage of shift takings. The rural taxi industry is very much dependent on repeat business because of the limited size of localised markets. the industry varies in structure from towns with one taxi operator to the large cities of Newcastle and Wollongong which have large fleets of taxis and which operate in a market that displays aspects of both metropolitan and rural NSW. Newcastle and Wollongong Transport Districts as defined under the Transport Administration Act 1988 and those towns. In metropolitan areas. 85% of taxis in rural areas are licensee operated compared to approximately 50% in the Metropolitan Transport District (IPART. Taxi operators and drivers in rural areas are more likely to know their customers personally than in metropolitan areas due to the small size of many towns. The following are some of the differences that distinguish the taxicab industry in rural NSW from the industry in the Metropolitan Transport District.1999:77). The rural taxi industry depends largely on telephone bookings and pick-ups from taxi ranks whereas the industry in Sydney has a high dependence on the hail market. At present. • • • • • • Due to the above differences. 14 . This ensures that an incentive exists for licensee-operators and drivers in rural areas to build relationships with the public to ensure a strong taxi industry locally. the scale of the industry and the large customer market combine with the effect that repeat business is a relatively minor concern for individual taxis. needs and concerns. The large proportion of taxis that are licensee operated in rural areas ensures licence holders play a more hands-on approach within the industry compared to their metropolitan counterparts. As outlined earlier.
and they have been spared the significant expense of fitting vehicle tracking devices. their CTP insurance premiums and workers’ compensation premiums are very much lower than city premiums. The Association is closely affiliated with six regional taxi associations with each regional association electing two representatives onto the CTOA board of directors. industry representatives feel that safety requirements that reflect local conditions in Newcastle and Wollongong should have been devised. are the requirements for driver protection screens. 2. to a lesser extent. The Association has a current membership of approximately 450 taxi operators. 2 The six NSW Regional Taxi Associations cover the NorthWest. As such.6 Country Taxi Operators Association (CTOA) The CTOA is the representative body of taxi operators in rural NSW. the CTOA is also represented on the Taxi Advisory Committee (TAC) and the Taxi Joint Consultative Committee. Southern. Rather. and not State-wide. In addition. Wollongong and.The only regulatory clauses that apply to the Metropolitan Transport District. displaying characteristics of both the metropolitan and rural industries. Membership of the Association is open to any accredited operator in rural NSW. In conclusion. Newcastle TD. they are able to charge higher fares. there are many examples of where the Department has specific Regulations or policies which distinctly benefit the rural (other than the three big coastal cities) taxi industry. e.g. South West and Hunter regions. In addition. Industry representatives from both Newcastle and Wollongong assert that their industry has more in common with rural areas than the metropolitan area. both of which are convened by the Department of Transport. their drivers and operators require no training. However. Wollongong TD and the Central Coast. North Coast. they can keep their taxis two years longer. there is a feeling that driver safety requirements concerning Sydney should not have been extended to Newcastle and Wollongong. vehicle tracking devices and security cameras in taxis. Central West. However. the Central Coast. rural taxi industry representatives feel that there is a need for policy to further differentiate between the metropolitan and rural taxi industries (though advertising on cars was the only example given). protection screens and security cameras. it is possible to distinguish key differences between the taxi industry in metropolitan and rural areas with Newcastle. 15 .2 The CTOA is also closely linked to and has representation on the NSW Taxi Industry Association and the NSW Taxi Council.
Full responsibility for those aspects of regulation then became the responsibility of the Department of Motor Transport (and later the Department of Transport). investigate options for delegating the regulation of taxis in NSW rural and regional areas to local councils. the only issues that necessitate direct contact between the taxi industry and local councils in rural areas.1 Introduction The Department is the primary regulator of the taxi industry in rural NSW with the RTA also playing a role in regulating the industry. Direct access to the Minister for Transport. “the Department of Transport in conjunction with industry and local councils. IPART states that. The final report of the IPART review of the taxi and hire car industries in NSW recommended that. co-regulation between the Department and industry groups has been encouraged to ensure compliance with the rules governing the industry. 16 . “this approach has advantages in that it allows for the regulator to be abreast of local conditions and allow for flexibility across the state. A dedicated taxi and hire car bureau with administrative and operations systems in place. An integrated approach to all aspects of the taxi industry. With the introduction of the Passenger Transport Act 1990. Local councils in rural NSW had limited responsibility for the issue of licences and changing of fares prior to 1982. At present.” (IPART.1999:86) The IPART final report does not specify whether it is referring to possible local council involvement of all aspects of taxi regulation or specific aspects of regulation.Section 3: Regulation and the Rural Taxi Industry This section outlines the issues related to who should regulate the taxi industry in rural NSW. A strong relationship with taxi industry representative bodies. where local councils regulate taxis in rural areas. Local Councils’ role in regulation includes issues as diverse as control of building developments. The Local Government Act 1993 provides Councils with the powers to administer regulatory systems.” (IPART. 3. concern local traffic management and the location of taxi ranks.1999:86) The rationale for this recommendation appears to have come from the South Australian regulatory model. noxious weeds and dogs. The advantages of the Department as regulator include: • • • • • • The presence of a body of expert personnel concerning taxi industry issues. An objective approach to decision making.
structure. Local Councils already have a wide range of responsibilities to carry out with limited staff resources. it is likely that a legislative. responsibilities and approaches to service delivery. Consultations with local council representatives and rural taxi industry representatives have generally shown no support for the involvement of local councils in regulating the taxi industry. so that. resources. It is pointed out by both sectors that as the current system of regulation is efficient. Local councils could ensure more frequent interface between the local taxi industry and themselves as the regulator. maximum fares could be set according to the affluence or otherwise of the local government area. Advantages • Decision-making and service provision would be devolved to local level.2 Advantages/Disadvantages of Local Councils Regulating the Rural Taxi Industry The following advantages and disadvantages can be identified in relation to potential local council involvement in regulating the taxi industry. The financial cost of devolving regulatory functions to local councils would be prohibitive. Local Council staffs are inexperienced in relation to dealing with the taxi industry. for instance. Local councils have an intimate knowledge of community needs and would be well placed to respond to community concerns regarding the taxi industry. or at least a regulatory. The proliferation of taxi fares across operational areas would be confusing to the public. It is likely that a new taxi regulation section within councils would need to be established to carry out the devolved duties. roles. This would lead to huge diversity across local councils in relation to the way in which regulations and standards within the taxi industry are enforced. As taxi industry regulation requirements are not provided for within the current role and structure of local councils. • • • • • • • • 17 . • • Disadvantages • There is enormous diversity within local councils across NSW in terms of size. Neither the public nor the taxi industry would appreciate such diversity. there is no need to transfer authority to regulate from the Department to local councils.3. Local Councils may lack objectivity when making policy decisions regarding the taxi industry due to the localised nature of the issues involved. amendment would be needed to legally devolve responsibilities.
The Taxi Advisory Committee (TAC). • Transparency The decision-making processes of the regulator must be transparent in order to attract the confidence of the taxi industry and the travelling public. the advantages tend to focus on a theoretical argument for local councils regulating the industry while the disadvantages focus on the impact in real terms of such a change. Disability Council of NSW.3 Who should Regulate the Rural Taxi Industry? The issue of who should regulate the rural taxi industry is one that was raised as a result of the IPART review of the taxi industry. a committee made up of representatives from a range of interests with a stake in the taxi industry. it can be concluded that the disadvantages of local councils regulating the rural taxi industry far outweigh any advantages of the proposal. NSW Transport Training Board and the Transport Workers Union. It is evident that the public interest is best served by continued regulation of the rural taxi industry by the Department. • Accountability The regulator must be directly accountable to the public for its actions. In examining the merits of the Department and/or local councils regulating the rural taxi-cab industry. 3. The advantages of local council involvement in the regulation of the taxi industry point to the benefits of devolving decision-making to local government while the disadvantages outlined focus on the logistical and administrative concerns which such a transfer of powers would bring about. The establishment of the Taxi and Hire Car Bureau within the Department provides for an integrated approach to all aspects of the taxi industry and is best positioned to guarantee an efficient system of regulation for the taxi industry.3 3 The TAC is made up of representatives from the Department of Transport. Moreover. 18 . Roads and Traffic Authority. the following considerations should be taken into account. • Capacity The regulator must have the organisational capacity and resources to ensure a quality service is provided in the public interest. In short. Public Transport Authority. serves as a forum for discussion of the development of the taxi industry as well as further strengthening the integrated approach of the Department. • Objectivity The regulating body must be impartial in its dealings with the taxi industry. Tourism NSW.• The possible amalgamation of councils at a future date would cause further restructuring to regulatory arrangements. NSW Taxi Council. neither the taxi industry nor local government has expressed support for such a proposal. Despite any perceived merits of devolving power to local councils. Country Taxi Operators Association.
This idea is explored in more detail later. There appears to be merit in local councils playing a greater role in facilitating better communication between transport providers at local level.Local councils could. have a greater role in relation to the co-ordination of public transport provision at the local level in NSW. 19 . however.
000 international visitors in 1999 while the region between Nelson Bay and Coffs Harbour received 170. For example.2000:36) • Taxi industry representatives have argued that fewer taxis should operate at some locations. the market value of licences in rural NSW varies significantly depending on market conditions in local areas.(Department. Changes in social trends such as increased second-car ownership. namely.411 clients.2000:33) Changing leisure and holiday trends have led to a huge growth in the tourism industry at certain rural locations. During 1999-2000. (IPART.1 Supply and Distribution of Taxi Licences The supply and distribution of taxi licences in rural NSW has been a matter of discussion between the Department and the Taxi industry for some time.537 trips per month assisting 26. 20 . The value of taxi licences in well-serviced areas was significantly less that the value of licences in less well-serviced areas.1999:85) The presence of well-serviced and less well-serviced areas has been caused by a number of factors. There is a widespread view within the taxi industry that certain locations in rural NSW experience a shortage of taxis while other locations have excess taxis relative to the local market. it does highlight the variations that exist between locations throughout NSW. Decrease in overall population of rural NSW. extended shopping hours and new home entertainment products have all negatively affected the taxi market. Industrial decline and government centralisation of services has seen rural areas lose employment. They feel that less taxis would lead to a more vibrant and profitable business environment for taxi operators and is more desirable than having idle taxis for significant periods of time. A study of taxi licence values in 1997 clearly demonstrated a correlation between the number of taxis per 1000 population and the market value of licences. 4.Section 4: Identification of Other Issues for Discussion This section details other issues related to the rural taxi industry which require discussion. which states: “wide disparities in the number of taxis per 1000 population suggests there may be too few taxis in some locations and a surplus in others” (IPART. In addition. (Tourism NSW. This position would appear to be supported in the IPART review of the taxi industry. 1999:84) While focusing solely on the ratio of taxis to population is limited as an approach to assessing taxi supply. the Northern Rivers region received 182. • • • • • Increased urbanisation of coastal communities at the expense of inland rural areas. CT providers performed on average 13. Growth in alternative forms of transport such as Community Transport and courtesy buses have eroded the traditional taxi market.000 international visitors in the same period.
While there are still some areas which the taxi industry believes have excess taxis. The CTOA would like to see the accreditation fee reduced by half for rural operators. It is felt by rural taxi industry representatives that there is an insufficient link between the fee paid and the benefits received in return by the rural industry. this practice has attracted the attention of the ACCC and is viewed as being in breach of the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Commonwealth) and the Fair Trading (Amendment) Act 1998 (NSW). the rostering of taxis depends on the voluntary agreement of all taxi operators to operate such a system. The rationale for this plan stemmed from a belief that appropriate taxi service levels could be achieved throughout rural NSW by transferring licences in such a manner. In order to improve the profitability of taxi businesses. especially in relation to the cost of insurance. some networks operate a rostering system in areas well serviced by taxis. However. These include a: reduction in the annual operator accreditation renewal fee.At present. use of technology and other developmental initiatives.2 Costs of Running a Taxi Business The average operating costs of a single taxi. the plan was not viable. rural industry sources have made a number of suggestions to the Department and other relevant bodies. have reduced the size of the potential market for taxis in local areas. This is attributed to a number of factors: • • • Increase in expenses. In addition. workers compensation and fuel.2. the industry wanted a significant Treasury contribution and with probity concerns identified. However. as identified by the CTOA. namely Community Transport and courtesy buses. as the Passenger Transport Act 1990 could not accommodate such a proposal. 21 . Other forms of transport. However. training. The taxi industry put forward a plan in 1996 to transfer taxi licences from well-serviced areas to areas that were less well serviced. The fee is allocated to the Taxi Advisory Committee for the purposes of industry-related education. driver and passenger safety. the shortage of taxis in other areas has sometimes been dealt with through the issuing of licences. some remote parts of NSW remain severely transport disadvantaged without any form of public transport. enhanced service delivery. Changing demographic and social trends have led to a decline in taxi patronage in rural areas. are presented in section 2. reduction in Compulsory Third Party insurance premium reduction in associated transportation costs Annual Operator Accreditation Renewal Fee The annual Operator Accreditation Renewal Fee is set at $260 per taxi. 4. Industry sources claim that profit margins have become increasingly tighter in recent years. reduction in Workers Compensation premiums.
9% in 2000.3 Relationships with Other Transport Service Providers It is possible to identify the following forms of transport provision at local level in rural areas.19% since the 5th October 2000. December 2000 22 . • • • • • Taxi Public bus. sometimes for only one or two shifts per week.Workers Compensation Premiums WorkCover NSW manages the State’s workplace safety.4 This was primarily due to fuel price increases while motor vehicle repair and servicing costs also contributed to increased overheads.80 per annum. this represents a significant expense for the rural taxi industry. This approach would see operators who engage drivers on a casual basis pay less than operators who engage drivers on a more regular basis. In addition to the above cost issues. injury management and workers compensations systems. The cost of CTP for rural operators is now $2.550 per licence per annum. The Association has argued that different categories of workers compensation premiums should be established in order to reflect the manner in which the rural industry operates. Workers Compensation premiums are set on a per licence basis. Both of these issues are explored in more detail later. it is evident that 4 Consumer Price Index-Quarterly Report. According to the CTOA. Courtesy bus. Transportation Costs Transportation costs in NSW rose by 7. This data confirms anecdotal evidence from taxi industry representatives across rural NSW who have expressed concern about the rising price of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and its impact on profit margins.496. Compulsory Third Party Insurance Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance premiums have risen by 0. Community Transport (CT) Private Hire Cars Public Bus Services The relationship between the taxi industry and other forms of local public transport in rural NSW manifests itself in a number of ways. 4. In relation to public bus services. The cost for rural operators is $1. The CTOA argues that the rates levied by WorkCover NSW penalise operators in small and medium sized towns who only engage drivers on a casual basis. The CTOA continues to liaise with WorkCover NSW on this issue. the CTOA believe that a relaxation of advertising requirements laid down by the Department and increased regulation of Community Transport and courtesy buses would improve the market environment for the taxi industry in rural NSW.
club or retail outlet and so give a competitive advantage to the business. organisations such as local councils.for the most part a relatively good relationship exists between operators of both forms of transport. Courtesy Bus Services Courtesy bus operators tend to be viewed as direct competition by the taxi industry. HACC Neighbour Aid Sub-programme. the operational practices of both industries allow for a relatively peaceful co-existence. Community Transport Similar concerns are expressed by the taxi industry concerning the operation of Community Transport (CT). taxis offer greater flexibility to the public and cater for other aspects of the local market such as door-to-door carriage and contract work. 2000:33). This aid assisted CT to perform 13. 2000:33) In practice.8 million was allocated to 134 organisations under the HACC. social services and social contact. issues such as licensing and driver and vehicle standards should be regulated under the Passenger Transport Act 1990. A mix of paid and volunteer staff operates both group and individual transport. Although both modes of transport are targeting a similar market. In some rural areas. education. churches. shopping. CT is the term used to describe the range of government subsidised community-based transport services which are targeted at disadvantaged people in order to facilitate access to recreation. Sometimes. A courtesy bus is a bus that is provided by a particular business for the purposes of transporting patrons to and from their premises. The taxi industry view the operation of courtesy buses in this manner as unfair as they are capturing part of the taxi market without being subject to the same level of regulation. One issue in particular that is of concern to the rural taxi industry is the growth in the number of courtesy buses in recent years. The first CT schemes emerged in NSW in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Examples of such programmes that are currently in existence include Home and Community Care (HACC) Community Transport Sub-Programme. Area Assistance Scheme. The NSW Community Transport Programme (CTP) commenced in 1981 and over the past twenty years a number of new programmes have emerged under the umbrella of CT. The rationale behind operating courtesy buses is that the provision of free transport will entice customers to a particular hotel. CTP and the Area Assistance Scheme (Department. During 1999/2000. a hotel or club may purchase their own bus and operate the courtesy service while others pay a commercial bus operator a set hourly rate and he/she responds to requests for transport to and from the sponsoring business from the public.411 clients. The CTOA believes that as transport is being provided to the public.537 trips per month assisting 26. medical care. In some cases. While public buses operate to set timetables and routes. Health Related Transport and the aforementioned CTP. community groups and clubs operate community transport services. (Department. businesses combine their resources in order to operate a courtesy bus service. Services are delivered through the provision of group transport in buses and individual transport in cars. a total of $14. the RTA and local councils have co-operated to provide courtesy buses as an alternative to drinking and driving. 23 .
as a commercial public transport provider. Private Hire Vehicles (Hire Cars) Hire cars provide a passenger service through private arrangements. the provision of subsidies from the State allows CT to undercut taxi fares when competing for business. As such. the CTOA argues that the differences between the hire car industry and the rural taxi industry are minimal. This. As such. In addition. at a minimum. CT has departed from its original objectives of providing a transport service that targets those who are transport disadvantaged and which complements existing public transport provision.Rural taxi industry representatives argue that throughout NSW. it is perceived as holding an unfair advantage over the taxi industry whilst it continues to provide services to individuals and groups who are not deemed transport disadvantaged. The hire car industry often provides specialised services linked to tourism events. In some parts of rural NSW. In many parts of rural NSW. there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that CT receives support from government Departments at local level in order to meet the transport needs of specific groups. weddings. the entertainment industry and other niche markets. The Department is currently carrying out a review of CT and courtesy bus policy. there is inadequate communication between transport providers at local level with the potential for maximising public transport services being lost. competing for customers in the taxi market without complying with the Passenger Transport Act 1990. So far. in many instances. As well as direct subsidies under the various CT programmes. Another important issue for discussion is the extent to which transport services are co-ordinated at local level to ensure that an integrated public transport system runs efficiently at local level. taxi operators routinely charge the maximum allowable fare instead of trying to compete with other transport providers by reducing fares. allows for greater information flow between transport providers while it has the potential to develop innovative approaches to public transport provision at local level. It is argued that CT is operating. they depend on telephone bookings for their work. It argues that hire cars service a wide client base and operate under contract to government Departments at some locations. On the other hand. The CTOA argues that the hire car industry operates in direct competition with taxis in rural NSW. 24 . They differ from taxis in that they are not allowed to obtain hirings directly off the street or to wait at ranks. This review is part of a process of reform in relation to CT and courtesy bus issues and is due for completion in August 2001. CT using cars is free of Departmental requirements for vehicle operations to be accredited and drivers to be authorised. Due to the fact that the majority of taxi business in rural areas originates from telephone bookings. local councils have taken the initiative to facilitate the integration of public transport services by establishing public transport advisory committees or the inclusion of transport providers on existing committees.
It was suggested that such visits would lead to improved communication between rural taxi operators and the Department as well as providing a grassroots insight to the industry for Departmental staff. 25 . While there is widespread recognition within the industry of the need for adequate driver training. There appears to be variations in standards across rural areas regarding the quality of driver training in this regard. Advertising Advertising on taxis is prohibited in accordance with Clause 12 of the Passenger Transport (Taxi services) Regulation 1995. The Draft Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport propose that there should be sufficient WAT vehicles available to provide for a similar response time to calls to that of ordinary taxis.4 Other Concerns Driver Training Unlike the Metropolitan Transport District. It is widely felt amongst rural taxi operators that the advertising controls should be relaxed in order to allow advertising on the rear doors of vehicles. accessible public transport system for people with disabilities in NSW. In many cases. Service from Department While the rural taxi industry generally recognises the quality of the service provided by the Department. However. This would greatly enhance the prospects of local business advertising opportunities being generated that would provide additional revenue for taxi operators to offset costs. taxis are the only form of accessible transport for people with disabilities. There is also agreement that this standard must be achieved by 2005. 10% of the entire NSW fleet must be wheelchair accessible. it is small businesses that wish to advertise but the type of advertising allowed places a prohibitive cost on advertising on rural taxis. a general exemption has been granted throughout the State in relation to roof structures. This points to the lack of an integrated. some suggestions were made during consultations concerning the way the Department approaches its role. Vehicle Standards The RTA regulates vehicle safety standards in NSW.4. driver training in rural areas is left to the discretion of the local taxi network. moulded structures on the boot lid and the rear window of the vehicle. There is agreement between the Department and the NSW Taxi Council that to achieve this standard. there is concern among some interest groups about the level of awareness some drivers possess of disability issues. Representatives of the rural taxi industry argue that the current advertising policy is designed for the metropolitan taxi industry and does not take into account the much smaller and localised market for advertising in rural NSW. Taxi industry representatives feel that there is a need for increased networking between Department officials and rural taxi industry representatives. People with disabilities generally need a specialised level of assistance that involves taxi drivers gaining specific training. Newcastle TD and Wollongong TD. Often.
1 Relationships with other Transport Service Providers A number of issues concerning other transport providers in rural NSW have been raised earlier in this document. Community Transport and courtesy bus service providers.1. representatives from all forms of local transport (including public and courtesy bus services. Of primary concern is the relationship between the taxi industry.Section 5: Options for Reform This section outlines some options for reform of the taxi industry in rural NSW. • encourages the integrated provision of transport at local level • develops relations between transport providers at local level • informs the formation of transport policy • identifies gaps in public transport provision at local level • evidence to suggest that where such committees do exist within local councils in NSW. Such committees could consist of local council officials. tourism interests. rail and community transport). the basis exists for developing healthy partnerships within the transport sector at local level. Issue Developing Integrated Transport Provision in Rural NSW Consideration could be given to local councils facilitating the creation of Public Transport Consultative Committees. 5. taxi network. Option Rationale 26 . The options were prepared on the assumption that the Department remains as regulator of the rural taxi industry. small business representatives and community/voluntary organisations who represent those who are ‘transport disadvantaged’. 5.1 Integrated Transport Provision in Rural NSW The provision of an integrated public transport service throughout rural NSW is a key priority of the Department.
2 Regulating Community Transport and Courtesy Buses The issue of regulation within the Community Transport and courtesy bus sectors demands attention. Need for a regulatory package to be designed which reflects the precise role both CT and courtesy buses play in transport provision. Option Rationale • The Department has recently appointed a Project Officer to carry out a review of Community Transport in NSW. • • CT and courtesy buses provide a different service to the taxi industry. Each of the above options should be considered in more detail as part of this review. The review will take place over an eight-month period beginning in January 2001 after which a report with recommended reforms will be published.5.1. 27 . This review will also look at related courtesy bus issues. Issue Regulating Community Transport and courtesy buses Establishment of an accreditation/authorisation package tailored to the role that Community Transport and courtesy buses play in relation to transport provision. Need to formally draw distinctions between each form of transport and specify how each should operate in practice.
2. • Identification of areas with an apparent surplus supply of taxicabs and areas with an apparent shortage of taxicabs. This will allow for informed decision-making to take place regarding taxi-licensing issues. Key issues that need to be addressed include: • • The lack of information concerning the extent of taxi supply and demand in rural NSW Passenger perceptions of their needs in rural NSW The following are a range of options designed to deal with the above issues.5. Option Rationale • • 28 . Criteria to be set by which such matters should be assessed. 5. The TAC should provide funding for the baseline survey and subsequent periodic surveys.1 Information Needs All decision making in relation to the supply of taxis should be based on obtaining reliable information.2 Supply of Taxi Licences The number of taxi licences in rural NSW has been a major topic of discussion between the Department and rural taxi industry representatives for a number of years. Periodic surveys should follow every 3 years to facilitate the updating of the baseline study. Issue Lack of information concerning taxi supply and demand in rural NSW Preparation of a baseline study to determine supply and demand in rural NSW.
there is a need to review the way in which licences are issued and to develop a new SMF for issuing licences. Gender profile of population Occupational profile Number of people with disabilities Number of annual visitors Rate of vehicle ownership Level of alternative transport services available Current statistics relating to the local taxi industry . . Step 2: Expressions of interest from taxi operators. . The adoption of a new SMF would ensure that there is consistency with regard to the issuing of licences and that the process is seen to be fair and equitable. 29 . Age profile of population.2 Demand for Taxi Services in Rural NSW Issue Option Lack of Taxis in rural NSW Development of a Supply Management Framework (SMF) for the provision of Taxi licences The solution to improving services in rural NSW rests with the provision of additional licences to areas with licence shortages.Average number of radio bookings per vehicle. Nature of existing taxi licences. .2. the following variables should be considered for identifying areas that may be under serviced by taxis. As part of this study. local councils or other relevant organisations demonstrating how each of the above criteria are met. • • • • • • • • • • • Number of existing taxi licences.Average number of hiring’s per vehicle. public transport consultative committees. While this is the approach sometimes adopted by the Department. Rationale Step 1: Preparation of baseline study to identify towns with perceived taxi shortages. taxi networks.Waiting time at ranks for passengers and taxis prior to picking up a fare. Population of area.Waiting time for bookings. The following steps should form part of the SMF.5.
Step 3: TAC Sub-Group to assess expressions of interest and make recommendations with regard to whether the availability of additional licences should be advertised. the absence of large corporate bodies and the fact that most businesses are small and locally owned.3. The implementation of the SMF allows for a systematic approach to the issuing of licences to be adopted. Step 6: Issuing of licences.3 Reducing Industry Costs 5. regular up to date information will be available to inform decision-making 5. as many potential advertisers are locally based businesses that would not be interested in advertising in the manner that the exemptions currently permit. With surveys to take place in rural areas every 3 years.1 Advertising Opportunities for generating advertising revenues are limited in rural parts of NSW. As such. it appears that current advertising exemptions are unsuitable for small rural areas. This is due to the relatively small population base. Step 4: Department to initiate a tendering process in order to issue additional licences. Step 5: Department to make decisions on the allocation of licences on the basis of pre-determined criteria. 30 . The following options for reform are worth considering.
A proportion of the revenue could be used to support pilot projects aimed at developing the taxi industry in ‘transport disadvantaged’ areas. However. in this case.4 Service from the Department of Transport The establishment of the Taxi and Hire Car Bureau by the Department is seen as a very positive step by taxi industry representative bodies. Wollongong TD and the Gosford and Wyong Local Government Area) which allows advertising on rear doors instead of one of the currently approved locations • Cheaper and more attractive for local business to advertise on taxis • Additional revenue for taxi networks and operators • Insignificant impact on the livery and safety of the taxi. 5.3. The CTOA have also lobbied the Department to have the annual Operators Accreditation fee of $260 reduced by 50%. there are ways in which current service levels could be improved. WorkCover NSW and insurance industry representative groups. The accreditation fee is used by the TAC to plan and implement industry initiatives such as the home study WAT driver training course that was devised especially for delivery in rural areas.Issue Option Rationale Existing policy restricts advertising on all taxis.2 Other Costs Issues associated with the cost of Workers Compensation Premiums and Comprehensive Third Party Premiums have been raised consistently by the CTOA. the CTOA feel that the metropolitan taxi industry receives the most benefit from such TAC initiatives and that the rural industry is not receiving adequate benefits in return for paying the fee at the current rate. New policy to be devised for all rural areas (except Newcastle TD. The following options could be considered 5. the TAC should clearly identify how the revenue is to be used in rural areas. there is little that the Department can do other than encourage more communication between the CTOA and the relevant authorities. However.4. though the Minister for Transport made it very clear at the time that there would be no discrimination between urban and rural taxis in this regard. However. 5. In order to enhance understanding within the rural taxi industry of how the accreditation fee is re-invested in the industry. as the setting of premiums for both are outside the realm of responsibility of the Department.1 Appointed Contacts 31 .
• Taxi industry representatives would know exactly who to contact in relation to queries concerning legislation/regulation and to highlight issues/needs of rural areas in relation to policy reform. Rationale Both of the above options would contribute to improved communication and consultation between the Department and rural taxi industry representatives. 32 .Taxi industry representatives point to the need for consistency in relation to the interpretation of legislation and regulations governing the rural taxi industry.4.2 Networking The need for increased networking opportunities between officials from the Taxi and Hire Car Bureau and rural networks at local level has been highlighted during consultations. The primary focus of the paper is an investigation into the recommendation contained in the IPART review of the taxi industry that the idea of local council involvement in regulating the taxi industry be investigated. In addition. a number of other pertinent issues are analysed and a number of options for policy reform are presented. Issue Option Staff providing different interpretations of legislation/regulations Identification of senior officers from the Taxi and Hire Car Bureau who will answer any queries from rural NSW concerning legislation/regulation. Seminars could be organised each year at different rural locations with members of neighbouring taxi networks invited to attend. Issue Option Lack of contact between Departmental officials and rural taxi network members Organisation of regional seminars to bring together regional taxi industry representatives and Departmental officials. • Serve as a means of communicating with the taxi industry • Means of listening to the expressed needs of industry representatives. Conclusion This discussion paper sets out to present an overview of the taxi industry in rural NSW and to analyse issues related to the industry. • Seminars should be organised by the TAC in conjunction with the CTOA. Rationale 5. 5.
This paper provides the basis for further discussion between the Department and the rural taxi industry and will facilitate more informed policy decisions regarding the rural taxi industry. 33 .
Review of the Taxi and Hire Car Industries-Final Report. (1998) Review of the Taxi and Hire car Industries-Issues Report. Taxis and People with a Disability-Issues for Government and Industry. Number 5. (2000). NSW Department of Transport NSW Taxi Council (2000) Taxi-Official Journal of the Taxi Industry. (1998).Bibliography Australian Bureau of Statistics (2001) Consumer Price Index-December Quarterly. Australian Bureau of Statistics Disability Council of NSW. IPART IPART. IPART NSW Department of Transport. (1999). NSW Taxi Council Tourism NSW (2000) Tourism Trends in New South Wales-New South Wales State Profile Year end December 1999. Disability Council of NSW IPART. Volume 44. Review of the Taxi and Hire Car Industries-Interim Report. IPART IPART. (1999). Annal Report. Tourism NSW 34 .
Appendix 1: List of Organisations Consulted The following is a list of the organisations that were directly consulted in the process of preparing the discussion paper: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Casino Radio Cabs Central Coast Taxis Country Taxi Operators Association Disability Council of NSW Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW Lismore City Council Lismore Taxi Co-operative Newcastle Taxi Co-operative Northern Rivers Social Development Council NSW Taxi Council NSW Taxi Industry Association Radio Cabs (Wagga) Co-operative Shires Association of NSW Taxi Cabs of Bathurst Co-op Tourism NSW Transport Workers Union Wagga Wagga City Council Wollongong Radio Cabs 35 .
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