Today is sad day for Victoria’s taxi industry

Rod Barton MP

Today is a sad day. Tuesday 22nd February 2022 marks the fifth anniversary of the introduction of the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry (CPVI) Bill 2017.

This bill devastated taxi and hire car families by removing the licenses that cost upwards of $500,000 and compensating perpetual licence holders a small fraction of what they paid for some licences but not all.

Taxi drivers who had followed rules and regulations for decades are still paying debts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for something they no longer own.

These families, like Barton’s, lost their businesses, homes and superannuation. Their lives have since been plagued with financial devastation and no hope for the future.

Barton believes today is an important day to reflect on where the industry is now. Victoria went from having 15,000 drivers on the road to 120,000. Despite the regulator claiming this greater competition would lead to better outcomes for consumers, passengers are paying more than ever.

Ride share’s predatory surge pricing is being applied more often than not, yet despite this, minimum wage remains beyond reach for these essential transport workers.

Regional and rural towns are facing the very real prospect of having no wheelchair-accessible taxis as operators evaluate their future.

Then, last Friday the Essential Services Commission announced that prior to even undertaking consultation they want to reduce taxi driver fares, condemning taxi drivers to a life as the working poor.

In this deregulated industry there are no winners. Every driver is fighting for a smaller piece of the pie.

For the last five years, taxi drivers and operators have been living a nightmare, Barton believes there needs to be a serious review if there is to be a taxi industry in the years ahead.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Metropolitan and the Leader of the Transport Matters Party Rod Barton MP:

“Since the reforms in 2017, our industry has been attacked from all sides.”

“Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria (CPVV) and the Essential Service Commission (ESC) have shown a real contempt for taxi families and their suffering.”

“They promised us a level playing field. What happened?”

/Public Release.