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Victorian taxi market reforms

I attended a meeting today on proposed reforms for the Victorian taxi industry prepared by former ACCC guru Allen Fels with a major input by David Cousins. Opening the PDF version of the Fels Draft Report (here) at least gives you a helpful contents  page to what is a long document. There is an executive summary, but it is avoids some core issues.

The taxi industry is a key part of our transport system.  With environmental problems of congestion and pollution we should be encouraging less use of privately-owned vehicles, more use of public transport and, when the occasion demands it, increased use of taxis which provide a convenient point-to-point means of transport that avoids the fixed costs of car ownership.

The taxi industry in Victoria is in a bit of a mess and I fear this report, by avoiding a core difficult issue that has inhibited reform in the past, might not improve things. My view, moreover, is that, as a consequence, its recommendations at least as stated in the Draft Report are unlikely to be implemented.

There are several report recommendations that should be accepted by regulators and the industry alike – for example, increasing the maximum flagfall  to encourage drivers to accept short trips and setting charges so that drivers do not have incentives to wait for hours at Melbourne airport while the rest of Melbourne is short of taxis. These are sensible reforms .  So too are proposals to strengthen the peak-load pricing component of the fare regime by providing higher fares to drivers during peak travel times. With these reforms there are reduced prices for long-distance commutes and for off-peak travel.

Reforming the operations of the network providers – particularly CabCharge – is another efficiency-based reform that few could argue with although some type of regulatory solution, in addition to promoting competition, will be necessary in this sector.   There are network externalities here that will reward size and provide the inevitable opportunity for exercising monopoly power but network providers should also charge competitively and strengthen the consumer service incentives of the industry. Services in this sector need to be rewarded for arranging matches that reduce the time taxis spend being underutilized and which promote ‘punishments’ (such as actually enforcing temporary bans from networks) for drivers who do not deliver an agreed to service.  When you make a taxi booking you should be assured of service in some pre-defined time horizon.

Generally taxi fares should reflect costs not monopoly rents and these are obvious reforms. Short trips, with possible ‘no shows’, are expensive for drivers to provide and need to be remunerated appropriately.

But reforming the Victorian taxi industry, more generally, is just that. It is a reform.  It is not establishing a new taxi industry on a new settlement on an island in the middle of an ocean somewhere.  The taxi industry in Victoria exists and has a history. Attempts to reform its operations must account for this central fact.

And central to this central fact is that there are several thousand taxi licences out there in Victoria. The proposal is to make an unlimited supply of these licences available at $20,000 per annum and to sustain this nominal $20,000 charge indefinitely. This effectively pegs the value of a taxi licence at the present value of a stream of such costs in perpetuity that is $20,000/r where r is the interest cost of capital or the cost of borrowing to pay the recurring costs.

For r=5% the value of an existing licence is pegged at $400,000 which is 14% less than the current market value of $467,000 in April 2012.  For r=7.5% (a more reasonable discount rate which just exceeds current home mortgage rates) an existing licence is valued at $266,000 implying a capital loss to current licence holders of $201,000.   The Fel’s report itself sees the reforms it proposes as halving the value of a licence so he must have in mind a discount rate of about 20,000/233,500 = 8.6% which, in fact, seems a little high.  It is noteworthy that these core issues of the effects of the reports proposals on the central issue of licence value receive so little explicit attention in the report.  The final report on this industry should include a chapter that sets out all the effects of proposed reforms on licence values – it is an inconvenient issue but one which is pointless to attempt to duck.

My best guess is that the suggested reforms will come close to wiping out half the asset values of Victorian plate owners at reasonable interest rates and rates of inflation.

Not mincing words this is an expropriation of legitimately-held asset values that would be somewhat analogous to confiscating about half of the accumulated superannuation holdings of civil servants or politicians.  The difference of course is that confiscating ‘owned’ assets generally does not leave the owner with a large debt. Those owner-drivers who have recently purchased a taxi licence could be left with a substantial debt on an asset whose value has been halved.  It is interesting to imagine the response of banks and other creditors to this development since they would now presumably have less security for any loan they have advanced.

Another way of looking at the same issue is to recognize that a fee of $20,000 annually is effectively replacing the current assignment fee to drivers of about $30,000.  This discount lies at the core of licence-owner complaints.

A further feature of this reform is the proposal that the value of licence rentals be set fixed in nominal terms at $20,000.  Thus a burst of inflation of 20% over a few years would further erode licence values permanently by 20%.   Longer-term licence values will inevitably converge towards zero.  Moreover, the Fels report itself identifies the cost of running a taxi is around $20,000 per year at present and part of its reform package will make licence owners responsible for extra costs of ensuring driver safety and so on.  Giving licence holders responsibility for meeting such costs further reduces licence values. If the amount a licence holder can retrieve is less than anticipated costs then, of course, its value is zero.

Currently licence owners and taxi drivers share revenues 50:50 from operating a taxi with the licence owner paying the operating and capital costs of the taxi. Under the Fel’s proposal this will drop to 60:40 in favor of the driver.   This reform, in itself, will slice 20% of the value of the future income stream from owning a licence plate and, in itself, should reduce the value of a licence by 20% or by about $93,000.

Indeed this change in the revenue-sharing arrangement will mean that the proposed annual rental fee of $20,000 will have its net additional impact on the capital value of a taxi licence reduced by nearly half for discount rates of less than about 7.6%.   Thus even without the licence reform this shift to a 60:40 split will cut the value of a licence by 20%.  It is again, at core, an expropriation.

My own view is that drivers should not be levied with a fixed charge for using a taxi or some fixed share arrangement. It makes more sense to give them a reward that motivates economies in utilization and petrol consumption – the latter costs around $12,000 annually.  Currently drivers have incentives to maximize sales and to engage in high levels of cruising because they do not pay petrol and other variable costs.  There is the potential to restructure contracts here in a simple way that saves money for licence holders and which does not make drivers worse off. (The divergence in incentives here is presumably why drivers favour low farers for sales-maximization reasons and why licence owners seek higher prices that maximise the bottom-line).

This reduction in capital values  consequent on the Fels reforms will be the thorn that limits their political acceptability.  The natural policy response to reform the taxi industry is to accept culpability for past policy mistakes and to respect the integrity of investments in taxi licence plates that have been done legally and in good faith.  This could be accommodated by the government buying back licences at their market value as governments around the country have done in other areas of the economy where efficiency-based reforms are sought: For example, with respect to fishing licences and water usage entitlements by irrigators.  The distinction between the taxi issue and these other concerns is only that the inefficiencies that have been formerly addressed relate to excessive use of natural resources and an excessive number of usage rights rather than a perceived shortage as is the case with taxis.

A taxi licence buyback would be an excessively expensive operation given public sector obsessions with budget deficits but one that would facilitate the achievement of taxi industry efficiency objectives and leave current stakeholders in the industry not unfairly disadvantaged.

Has the Fel’s review considered the following possible reform package that involves reduced immediate public sector costs? If governments seek efficiency without a huge payout to current taxi licence holders they could compensate each owner for the immediate capital loss occurring as a consequence of not a  $20,000 fixed price scheme forever (this is too low to avoid the need for drastic compensations) but rather a $30,000 fixed price scheme. It would then issue each plate owner with a security that would deliver to them a proportionate share of all of the revenues that would eventuate from licence sales. The plate owners would retain their licences but be compensated for the reduction in asset values that resulted from any additional licence sales. This supports the ownership rights of current plate owners and compensates them for at least some of the loss in value of these rights.

For example if licence values fell by $50,000 per plate this would be paid to existing licence holders immediately. In addition, these licence holders would receive a claim on a proportionate share of the future revenues received from licence sales at a fixed annual fee of $30,000 not $20,000.   Because the fee is fixed in nominal terms it would asymptotically decline towards zero in real terms so that eventually free competition without effective licence charges would result. The difficulty is that, for real efficiency, the optimal value of a licence will be zero immediately so there will be pressure to cut licensing costs – this again would effectively expropriate existing licence holders.  This proposal sacrifices some short-term efficiency gains but does deliver long-term efficiency and a much greater chance of being politically acceptable.

This scheme would mean that government would get no revenue at all from licence sales – it would all go to current plate holders – but the cost of the buyback would drop by 1-150,000/467,000 or by about 68%.  It isn’t an ideal solution but provides increased fairness as well as some measure of efficiency.  One additional advantage of committing to giving the money back to current licence holders – apart from fairness – is that a greedy State Treasury would have no incentives to jack up licence charges medium term to maximize revenue potential.

In the interests of objectivity I should state that in the past I have worked for the Victorian Taxi Association (VTA).  I am not currently doing so. I had an earlier shot at these issues here. (9323)

36 comments to Victorian taxi market reforms

  • Robert Merkel

    I’m not sure I fully understand your scheme, Harry, but:

    a) How much would a simple buyback actually cost? 2 billion dollars?
    b) Given that taxi customers would be the beneficiaries of a restructured industry, wouldn’t it be fair for them to pay the cost to government of the restructure?
    c) To do that, could you make the annual licence fee under the new taxi scheme some kind of revenue, or better still profits-based fee, set at a rate to pay back the cost of the buyout over an extended period? Would this destroy the efficiency gains sought?
    d) Given the government can borrow money more cheaply than the private sector, wouldn’t this work out cheaper in the long run?

  • hc

    There were a few typos and an extra zero which made things difficult.
    (a) A simple buyback is impossible – the exact figure would be something less than $2b. The question is whether you would use current market values.
    (b) They would under my scheme (partially) or with a simple buyback fully since they would be delivering the tax dollars.
    (c) You want the licence fee to do to zero asymptotically since you don’t want entry barriers. The idea of making a small initial compensation plus ongoing compensations from licence sales at a fixed nominal level is that this would occur. The current licence holders would get a stream of ongoing compensations that initially were small, would increase for a while as the effective real cost declined and then gradually disappear.
    (d) That’s true and is sensible but I think that it is just politically impossible.

  • Robert Merkel

    Thanks for the reply.

    I’m not objecting to some lateral thinking to achieve politically feasible outcomes – if the Baillieu government bites the bullet and comes up with a long-term fix for the taxi industry, that’s a hell of a lot better than no fix at all. I’m just trying to clear up whether in an ideal world we could achieve the same effect more cheaply.

  • Uncle Milton

    I don’t feel one bit sorry for the taxi plate owners. Taxi reform has been on the agenda for many years. Those who bought their plates at prices greater than $266K either knew or should have known that there was a chance that one day a government would stop the policy-induced inflation in plate values by issuing more plates.

    Of course the do-nothing Baillieu Government will do nothing, so the taxi plate owners probably will have nothing to fear.

    Fels himself may have trouble ordering a cab. When the then Industry Commission, two decades ago, recommended deregulation of taxis, Canberra taxis refused to pick people up at the IC.

  • Joe Basten

    Thank you for your insight into the proposed reforms.
    I operate a Country Taxi Service in Victoria. Not a business.( I have not hade an ability to have any input into my so called Business since the Kennet Reforms and it has been a down hill slide all the way since)
    To supply our service requires more than one Taxi. The income from all our Taxis, has to cover the costs of the whole service all of the time, from low demand to peak demand even when at times only 20% of the fleet may be working.
    Neither my Drivers nor myself have herd from Professor Fels, or his team, like wise my fellow Country Operators.
    Many pages of beautifully written consultants reports have been presented and none of it containes any real operational information or fact.
    These people must live in a perfect world, without any cost restraints or any knowledge of how a Taxi Business works.
    A Taxi Business in a small Country Town or region has become a death sentence, without escape thanks to our exploiters, Our Government and its Industry Vandals.
    Thank God for our great customers who become our friends or it would not be bearable.

  • Peter

    I would consider compensation if the service was handed over is a satisfactory state. The state of the industry of building miniature empires has created an unsustainable nightmare. Drivers are treated like slaves, customers cannot get a service, the disabled and aged are left on the side of the road. The industry itself chose to do nothing and have not cooperated with the inquiry. This is the tax payers money they have already wasted. The license holders can still earn a living and have value on their license, thats all that is deserved.

  • JB Cairns

    wasn’t it Keynes who said there are only two things you can count on in life, death and taxis!!!

  • David Henke

    to all those who have all the answers get off your butts and drive a taxi for a month ,especially Prof Fells and then you may be able to talk with some creditability

  • fxh

    I’m with Uncle Milton here.
    The taxi license owners have had decades of notice that their rent seeking behaviour was to end. Who cares.

    I’d like to see mini cabs too.

    The disabled taxi scam has to end.

    The line up of taxis at Tulla is a supreme example of distortion in the market.

    My place in leafy suburbia to Tulla is around $90 each way. Its dearer than the airfare to Tassie – my last trip. If I’m forced to use it – I use the VIP limos – cheaper and better.

    Usually I find an under-employed mate/friend/acquaintance/kid and offer them about the same money to drive my car – its always worth it. And I feel better.

  • Jim Rose

    taxis are an unusally crisp example of the transitional gains trap.

    Deregulatory takings is another name for it. There is a large literature on deregulatory takings and regulatory contracts in the USA.

    In power generation deregulation, ‘stranded costs’ represents the existing investments in infrastructure for the incumbent utility which may become redundant in a competitive environment.

    Stranded costs can also be defined as any investment that will be less valuable under competition than under regulation. Stranded costs are another name for the transitional gains trap

    See Deregulatory Takings and the Regulatory Contract: The Competitive Transformation of Network Industries in the United States by J. Gregory Sidak and Daniel F. Spulber

  • Adam M

    I don’t understand why there is considered to be any obligation for a government to compensate taxi plate holders. Have taxi plates actually been sold by state governments at market values, or is it an ‘unofficial’ exchange market that has naturally cropped up as existing holders of taxi plates have tried to benefit from a government restriction of supply rather than just handing them back when not used?

  • Uncle Milton

    The taxi industry is running a campaign that if the supply of taxis is increased, women will get raped.

    The lengths that some people will go to, to protect their rents, is extraordinary.

  • Jim Rose

    uncle milton, safety concerns was a standard argument against airline deregulation too.

  • conrad

    ‘Usually I find an under-employed mate/friend/acquaintance/kid and offer them about the same money to drive my car – its always worth it. And I feel better”

    Perhaps you don’t need to do this anymore — it’s happened to me a few years in a row now (I usually fly in from international early in the morning), but there are now what I assume are illegal taxis (or is this practice not illegal?) where people simply approach you and you simply make a deal with them as to how much they will drive you home for (They also give you cards so you can simply ring them up when you need a lift next time). It costs me about $80 to get from the airport to my place in a normal taxi, and usually they are happy to do it for $60 (which doesn’t seem unreasonable to me).

  • Georgia

    Uncle Milton et al…. I am a stay at home mother with three kids… I own one plate… (which an operator manages for me for a fee) it provides my only income and represents my superannuation in the future. I am not a greedy empire building corporation and the thought of someone stepping up and effectively “stealing” half or more of my asset makes me sick to the stomach.

    I support reform…I think it is ludicrous that credit card payments attract a 10% surcharge. I am disgusted that any customer is refused a trip, regardless of length… I find it astounding that cab drivers line up at Melbourne airport for hours instead of doing what they should do and doing a number of shorter trips, ie providing the service that they are employed to do.

    I also want drivers to be paid fairly…

    I do not think that introducing a whole heap of new licenses into the market is going to alter these issue one bit.

    If you owned a house where the government decides to build a road and forcibly take over your property… you would get compensated. Such decisions are not without effect on real life humans like me…. If I walked up to you and said sorry mate but I have decided to cut the value of your house in half… because I can… I guarantee you would not be so blithely dismissive of the impact of such reforms.

    I am all for reform, but it needs to take all parties into consideration, and Fels’ report does not do this. He has studiously avoided the elephant in the room.

  • Jim Rose

    the capitalisation of regulatory rents is very in-your-face in the taxi industry, but this capitalisation process applies to all regulated industries.

    all risk a capital loss from deregulation in everything from airlines to broadcasting. the accountants put a goodwill value on a TV licence in the many tens of millions.

    what must be different is the capacity of taxi industry members to exert political pressure both to stop deregulation and to demand compensation.

  • Annie

    I agree with Georgia. We are not tycoons either. We have got to purchase a taxi plate by hard work and giving up our social life etc. I also agree with David, sit in the owner’s/driver’s seat for a week and then see if you have the same opinions. Creating a glut of taxis isn’t going to fix the problem. Up the standards, have harsher consequences, improve the technology, surely in this tech savvy society we can get a better system. Improve safety for the drivers!!!!!

  • conrad

    “I do not think that introducing a whole heap of new licenses into the market is going to alter these issue one bit.”

    I disagree with this. I’ve worked in a number of countries, and all the places that don’t have crazy regulations for taxi (particularly with rent seeking plate schemes), you have far cheaper taxis, far more taxis, and far more people taking them as a result. If taxis were as cheap and as easy as, say, Hong Kong, I would ditch my car and just take them everywhere (as almost everyone else in HK does). This would be far cheaper and easier for me (I don’t like driving much), and would provide work for countless drivers.

    You can look at places even worse than Melbourne for taxis (Marseille for example, where I also work), and there most taxi drivers seem to sit around all day and not surprisingly everyone drives instead — you hardly ever see a taxi on the road. Who benefits from that?

  • Who ever says that he doesn’t care about our future and who ever steals from us should be stoped from making such decisions…

  • Sam Di Benedetto

    Harry, there are 2 items in your report that I feel you have omitted which will undoubtedly impact on license values and viability of the taxi service going forward. These are: i. the unlimited $40,000 minicabs (hire cars) inclusive of the new ATOs arrangements; and ii. shared rides. These I view as the establishment of parallel systems that will further erode taxi license values while simultaneously limiting growth opportunities for the existing fleet. Further, the shared rides is an attempt at attacking the problem of the less profitable and in some cases subsidised existing bus routes. Notwithstanding this, their introduction will also affect license values and limit growth opportunities for the existing fleet.

    I feel the license values will head to “0″ much sooner than you have anticipated.

    I also feel the Government is the only beneficiary as things stand. It wins on making money from the release of all new licenses and puts pressure akin to an organisation involved in predatory pricing practices, the trend of licenses to “0″ is not only rendering the asset worthless but effectively driving the current taxi license holders out of business and the Government then being the only lessor of licenses. I have done more detailed studies on license values under the Fels proposals and while I will not bother you with these, I will however say that they are much lower than yours.

  • [...] talk to (in the main) taxi licence holders at the Dallas Brookes Hall this afternoon.  It drew on my recent blog post – indeed I was introduced  as the author of then post.  It was a tricky situation for me as [...]

  • Marty

    I knew as a Taxi driver around 15 years ago the Taxi Plates were heading for a crash!
    Even one of my old Taxi Depots, Latimer Taxis of Moorabbin have recently gone bankrupt!
    I thought the licences were overpriced even when they were around the $180,00.00 mark.
    How can you justify the ridiculous value of these plates, when the average wage of the Taxi driver is only $5 an hour(after the 50/50 take & GST cut to the Govt) and the owner operator, due to increases in LPG, only makes around $7 an hour after their expenses like the depot fees & operating costs are deducted.
    I remember Julian Latimer saying back in 2002, the LPG prices were “too high”, and that’s when LPG was around 30c a litre, look at the LPG prices now!
    I’m glad I’m out of this Industry, I always knew it would “end” this way.

  • linda

    If someone owns a 500,000 dollar home do they get back 32,000 dollars a year (2,667 dollars a month! average) back in rental with no upkeeping costs? Most drivers, operator/drivers have to be on the road 12-16 hours a day to cover these costs (payments to licence owners). Let’s ban the construction of new houses/apartments in metropolitan Melbourne as the values of existing ones might drop and the rental might not go up. I think professor Fels is acting in self-interest here – he probably wants to become an investor in the taxi industry and buy a few licence plates at reduced price of 260,000 dollars. What a joke. 20,000 dollars year (1,667 dollars a month) which will go up every five years is not enough for these individuals and companies. The Government should have made these reforms years ago to look after the interest of public and people who are actually involved in taxi operations (operators and drivers). The Government should act urgently as many operators are close to bankrupcy (leases went up as much as 35 % in the last 3 years) and good drivers are leaving the industry (including owner-drivers).

  • vic

    Ok people, First go to the bank and borrow $500000 then go buy an investment property for $500000 which is intended to give you a return of $1500 per month in rental. Now, lets reduce the value of your property to $250000 and your monthly rental income to $750. Now you have a $500000 mortgage with a property value of $250000 and a monthly rental income of $750. This still sounds pretty god damn good compared to what MR ALLEN FELS wants to do to taxi license owners. Its all for the public right? Seriously, lets drop the monthly rental prices of homes by half because the renting public can barely make ends meet. Now it sounds fair.

  • Ozlem Saricam

    My poor father has worked day and night for the past 25 years as a driver. He and mum worked to pay off there license all these years just so they can have some retirement security.
    Mr Fels cannot come and take my parents hard earned income and say its worth peanuts. My father cannot go out on those dangerous roads at night to earn money on the cab just because Mr Fels wants to change things the way he sees fit.
    I will fight with my father and all those other innocent and hardworking Australians who believe his actions are unfair.

  • Jim Rose

    the transitional gains trap is a major barrier to deregulation.

  • Peter

    Interesting article Harry.
    I’m a day shift bailee taxi driver in Melbourne and am most concerned about the taxi reforms proposed by the Fels Inquiry. Unlimited License release and Mini Cabs will effectively kill off the industry. I am a low income earner and these proposals will only make my income worse.
    Fundamentally I disagree with Licences, full stop. They are an artificial cost creating a burden on taxi fares. Iaxis should only be operated by highly qualified owner-drivers or accredited operators utiliizing quality baileees ( some bailees, like myself just want to drive a cab, provide good, honest service and receive a reasonable income in return).
    However it is totally unfair for licence holders who have purchased licences for investment and superannuation by a state government sanctioned process to be potentially bankrupted by the actions of misguided economic rationalist.
    The idea of a buyback of licences is unrealistic but I would like to suggest another option.
    My idea is for the government to finance a superannuation fund with a startup capital of the equivalent to a reasonable valuation of licences. Licence holders could then receive annual superannuation payments separate to being paid in the taxi fare/payments environment. This would alleviate the licence/lease situation and the government could lease licences at a much more suitable business cost which would be more acceptable to taxi owner/operators/drivers and passengers all round.
    ? Another way for Professor to get his “Customers First” dictum.

  • Roger

    On what evidence does Professor Fels base his contention that drivers earn only $10 per hour – this is absurd. Such evidence would not be used in a court of law – but an inquiry is obviously a different story where basic evidence does not count. If it were the case that thousands of drivers were earning below the poverty line, then there would be no drivers driving cabs at all – after all, we are in an era of full employment (actually employment shortages) in other industries. There is a domestic service boom at present where people are paid big money to mow lawns, clean houses and look after kids. We also have a mining boom. If these drivers (and just how many of them gave evidence? did they provide any independent sources to verify their evidence? why do they resist the Cabcharge meter which can detect their true level of income?) of “many years” are doing it tough then leave the industry and go and mow people’s lawns for a living! You haven’t because you’re lying! And guess what you lovely imbisciles – if you abolish taxi licences then all that will happen is the charging of franchising fees by the network oligarchs – yes, you wipe out the wealth of many and concentrate it for a privileged few – very clever economic poliy, people!

  • Sam

    I am scared about the results if the government decided to buyback the taxi licences with lower price than that I bought using my superannuation. I might have lost the money that I worked for all my life. The government should give me the reasonable compensations for doing so.

  • new in taxi industry

    when these 20k taxi lic will be available in the market?

  • [...] have often discussed the taxi industry on this blog and have not disguised my links with the Victorian Taxi Association, the VTA.  My general attitude [...]

  • niaz

    why every one is talking compensating the existing licence holders because they went and bought in good faith,this argument do not hold for me.They were happy to increase rental to $40000 per year excluding g s t they were happy to snatch the licence from you and give it another guy and get slightly increased rental plus another $25000 as good will it became a joke and the victim was the guy at the wheel and the person leasing this wretched ,licence,so good on the professor and no body should pay them a single cent they deserve it,and this all happened to me.

  • JIM Samos

    Its true, most of the taxi industry knew that taxi license deregulation was a possibility, so some like myself sold our plates and moved to greener pastures. Others chose to stay and boast that their plates were now worth $500,000+ and the yearly rental return was $35000. It amazes me that my past colleagues would mention that these plate were a great financial investment!! so I cannot understand why the great shock that their great investment has gone down considerably.
    It’s an investment and as we all know investments can go up or down due to all sorts of reasons including governments decision’s on new policies or reforms. How interesting taxi plate holders feel that they require immunity from the real world of investment. Furthermore it amazes me further to think that most taxi plates are owned by investors that have only one concern -returns and no concerns on the industries performance, how blind these great investors be!!!you let the industry you have invested in reduce its self to a laughing joke!! I guess now we know why the government has stepped in to introduce change.

  • GEORGE

    The government allowed investor owner drivers to commit their lives working to own a taxi plate. The carrot was dangled for many many years. We all put up with all the crappy working conditions so that we could one day reap the reward for our long hours of work. But when the government realised there was a good value in each taxi plate, they decided they would betray the taxi plate owners and take over the industry by stealth and no cost. They could easily afford to discount the market lease,as it cost nothing to issue licences to themselves. The government is now regulator and competitor in our industry. It is a dominant position within the industry that we other taxi plate owners do not have. The whole community should be outraged, because what will the government take over next ?

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  • Marty

    The true stories about what happened in the Taxi Industry(that’s excluding the revelations in Raymond Hoser’s 2 books) since the 1970′s would astound the readers here, I could easily write a book of all the scandalous stories I have heard, from the time I drove Taxis.
    I was recently attacked(as well as Dr Fels & Dr Napthine), in Cabbie magazine, by a woman called Joanne, who accused me of being “racist & ill-informed”. If I had a $1 every time I heard the plate owner’s lobby lash out at the general public as “ill-informed”, I too can retire on a handsome nestegg. Joanne said the most vile rants against me, I fired back at the Cabbie magazine, some of the scandalous gossip involving the”taxi industry”, I dare them to publish it! Some of the stories involving the “taxi industry” would be something straight out of the 1950′s Confidential magazine. Well guess what! Alot of these stories were more true than you could imagine. What did the plate owners want? The plates to hit the $1 Million mark like New York’s medallions? I knew the “taxi industry” would crash to pieces this way. And to Joanne, with Joe Hockey as the new Federal Treasurer, I don’t like your chances in receiving any compensation!

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