High-powered electric scooters are set to appear on the streets of Melbourne and Ballarat as part of a 12-month state government trial. The e-scooters for hire will be allowed on bicycle lanes, shared paths and low-speed roads (up to 50kph). They will not be permitted on footpaths. They can travel up to 20kph, which is twice the legal speed capabilities of privately owned e-scooters in Victoria.
Currently, in Victoria, electric scooters can legally travel on low-speed roads, shared off-road paths and footpaths only if they have a maximum speed of 10kph and a power output of less than 200 watts.
In Ballarat, the only regional city chosen for the trial, Mayor Daniel Moloney said the council was keen to demonstrate the city was a place “not afraid to try something a bit different”.
The New South Wales (NSW) Point to Point Transport Commissioner has relinquished a report exploring the multiple facets in which Uber is not safe. The Commissioner accentuated their main concerns surrounding Uber’s lack of safety to include; driver fatigue, incident management, driver training, and notifiable occurrences. These factors, among others, help us to outline how Uber is providing a perilous mode of passenger transport, which raises our eyebrows.
Specifically, let us look at notifiable occurrences. This phrase refers to how quickly, or not, Uber notified the Commissioner of paramount incidences, such as: death, rape, sexual assault, serious illness or injuries. We found it exceptionally alarming when we learnt that the Commissioner’s audit service fined Uber over $200,000 for not reporting notifiable occurrences in a practical, timely manner.
A recently published report by Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria (CPVV) examines trends in fares for taxi and rideshare services to identify potential areas for misuse of market power. What is clear from this report is that the CPVV is determined to see what it wants to see, ignoring all signs that the industry is on its knees. I am outraged at the regulator’s ignorance of the struggle drivers face, fighting for a smaller piece of the pie every day. There are clear discrepancies throughout the report. The report notes that there have been 60 million booked fares in the 2019/20 year and claims the data set used for the report represents approximately 80% of all booked trips. Elsewhere, the report claims to have ‘analysed the fare data from more than 37 million booked trips’. This raises some obvious questions.
I strongly believe the report recently released by the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO), that examines Victoria’s integrated transport planning, shows the Department of Transport (DoT) in a new light.
The audit report found that the documents provided by the DoT that were meant to proffer a view of its transport plan, fail to meet legislative requirements. In fact, it found a transport plan ABSENT. This lack of transparency is not good enough. Most of the documents referred to by the DoT are not publicly available nor accessible to other agencies or stakeholders.
Commercial Passenger Vehicles (CPVs) remain an essential service and can continue to operate in Victoria during this time, including during curfew hours.
Authorised Worker Permit
CPV drivers providing services in metropolitan Melbourne must carry an Authorised Worker Permit when working and when travelling to and from work. If you are a sole trader, you can issue a work permit and sign the permit as both the employer and employee.
Get To Know: Bruce Maguire, Lead Policy Advisor, Vision Australia
My name is Bruce Maguire, and I am the Lead Policy Advisor with Vision Australia. In that role I develop the organisation’s public positions on issues that affect the blind and low vision community, and I also write submissions to government and industry inquiries. As I am blind, I use Taxis quite a bit, and I think that taxi drivers can play a really important part in helping to make us feel more independent and included in the community. I have two adult children and became a grandfather last year.
1. If you could be anywhere other than here, right this minute, where would you be? — A: Drinking coffee on a hotel balcony overlooking the Jamison Valley in the Blue Mountains.
Last month the Victorian Regulator’s CEO, Aaron de Rozario, finished his time with Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria (CPVV) and moved into a position with the National Transport Commission.
Six years ago Mr de Rozario took over the helm from the acting CEO James Holyman, and at that time said that he “was looking forward to meeting Victorian stakeholders and working with the industry to ensure a sustainable future”.
But, how did that work out? It was surprisingly not so good for Victorian stakeholders!
A further $4800 Grant for Eligible CPV Entities impacted by COVID-19 Lockdowns = $9800
It saddens me deeply to write again regarding the devastation our industry is experiencing because of this pandemic.
These past two lockdowns in Victoria have differed from previous restrictions and that is because this time, the commercial passenger vehicle sector has been financially supported.
We are very pleased that after initial discussions with Treasurer Tim Pallas, Minister Ben Carroll and Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier MP Steve Dimopoulos, we could ensure the Victorian taxi and hire car industry was eligible for the Business Support Package. We desperately needed it.
In the past five months there have been two separate incidents involving a passenger in a wheelchair sustaining fatal injuries during a trip in a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV).
Wheelchairs must be appropriately restrained when passengers are seated in them. Failure to do so may result in the wheelchair moving or falling whilst in transit, unseating the passenger which can result in serious or fatal injuries.
Contributing factors to WAV related incidents could include:
• Failing to ensure that the passenger’s wheelchair is of a type that is suitable to be appropriately restrained within the WAV. • Failing to have the wheelchair positioned with the occupant facing the front of the vehicle and the wheelchair located between the front and rear restraint attachment points on the floor of the vehicle.
I have been involved in the Taxi Industry for more than 35 years. I joined the NSW Taxi Industry while I was studying and wanted to earn extra income. I started as a Taxi driver and continued working in the industry in various roles like – fleet assistant, call centre operator, supervisor, customer service, and eventually General Manager and CEO. During this time, I have never asked anyone to do my job or take advantage of any position I’ve given.
1. Who is someone you admire and why? I have always admired our past and present Diggers; Anzac Day is the most special day of the year for me. I have had the privilege of assisting the Taxi Industry with the Anzac Day March for the past 18 years. I also admire Nick Abrahim (Deputy CEO, NSW Taxi Council) for his dedication and offering his time for this special day.