Hon Rita Saffioti BBus MLA

Hon Rita Saffioti BBus MLA

Minister for Transport; Planning; Ports

    Major reform to on-demand transport industry a step closer

    2/11/2017 9:45 AM
     
    • ​Biggest reform of on-demand transport and taxi industry in WA history
    • New laws to boost competition, reduce operational costs and improve safety
    • Reforms include an industry-funded voluntary taxi plate buy-back scheme
    • Changes follow a fresh round of in-depth consultation with the industry
    • Delivering an election commitment and ending uncertainty after the previous Liberal National government failed to address the situation

    The McGowan Government is proposing the biggest overall reform to Western Australia's taxi and on-demand transport laws that will bring the industry into the 21st century and end uncertainty.

     

    Long-overdue modernisation of taxi and charter vehicle legislation in WA will create a fairer system, improve passenger safety and promote innovation and competition across the sector.

     

    Historically taxi and charter operators have operated in heavily regulated markets governed by legislation that is costly, outdated and has held back industry from modernising.

     

    The McGowan Government intends to bring all operators under the same simplified rules with a new On-demand Transport Act, set to be introduced to Parliament in early 2018.

     

    Key aims of the McGowan Government's reforms are to:

    • Create a fairer and modernised system for all operators;
    • Remove restrictions on when, where and how taxis can operate;
    • Introducing a strengthened duty of care for passenger safety;
    • Create one annual authorisation for all types of on-demand drivers; and
    • Promote competition and innovation across the industry, removing regulation and costs.

    Included in the proposed reform is a voluntary taxi plate buy-back scheme. The buy-back scheme will be industry funded over four years, through a temporary 10 per cent levy on total fare revenue generated by operators.

     

    Through the reform process, the State Government is reducing costs on operators and boosting competition, meaning any potential increase in fares have been minimised.

     

    The percentage levy on total fare revenue is preferred over a flat fee on individual trips, to reduce the cost of administration and to avoid shorter trips being heavily impacted.

     

    The scheme will deliver a minimum payment for different plates, less the $20,000 transition assistance already paid under the former State government:

    • $100,000 for each Conventional or Multi-Purpose taxi plate;
    • $40,000 for each Area Restricted plate; and
    • $28,000 for each Peak Period plate.

     Comments attributed to Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:

     

    "The McGowan Government is aiming to fully reform the WA on-demand transport industry by replacing outdated legislation with one simplified Act.

     

    "As promised, this was one of my first priorities upon taking office in March.

     

    "The previous government failed to act, providing a band-aid solution that did not address the reality of the situation across the industry.

     

    "The proposed reforms will promote innovation, safety and competition, creating a fairer system for all operators.

     

    "Plate owners facing significant financial difficulty will benefit from our voluntary buy-back scheme, while the travelling public can be assured that all providers are subject to one regulatory system.

     

    "With competition boosted and onerous operating costs removed through the reforms, any potential increase in fares has been minimised.

     

    "The State Government does not believe there is justification for individual fares to increase by 10 per cent.

     

    "I have also written to Uber today, requesting they reduce their 25 per cent service fee charged to their local Western Australian drivers, to help prevent the levy from being fully passed onto the WA public.

     

    "It is incumbent on the Upper House to support these reforms so WA's on-demand transport industry can prosper into the future."

     

    Comments attributed to Armadale MLA Tony Buti:

     

    "Within days of becoming the Transport Minister, Rita Saffioti appointed me to lead an extensive consultation process with everyone in the industry.

     

    "In recent months, we have consulted widely to devise a reform package that will deliver much needed certainty for all players within the on-demand transport industry.

     

    "The proposed reform package is specifically targeted to strike the right balance for all operators and customers."

     

    Minister's office - 6552 5500