People with disabilities will soon be able to book a Wheelchair Accessible Taxi (WAT) in the Sydney Metropolitan Area in NSW using the Centralised Booking Service of Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) – a company that supports people living with disabilities. The centralised booking service will commence from 1 March 2021.
Transport for NSW, after a thorough evaluation awarded the central booking service contract to SCIA, as it was seen as the most innovative and best value for money booking service provider for WATs in metropolitan Sydney.
With a cash injection of $3m from private investors led by Managing Director Greg Webb, Black & White Cabs has announced a campaign to recruit more drivers as it prepares to service new Government contracts and launch a new food delivery service.
The growth plan comes after a group of private investors successfully purchased Black & White Cabs last month from the troubled P2P Transport through a Deed of Company Arrangement. Black & White Cabs Managing Director Greg Webb, who leads the group of private investors, said they planned to expand their network of 3,000-plus drivers across all of its locations in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Western Australia.
I have been reporting on this industry for over 30 years and it never ceases to amaze me how every State (and Territory) in Australia does things slightly, and sometimes majorly, different from the others.
Just this year alone, the Victorian government has seen fit to grant Uber the right to transport our most vulnerable citizens – those who are MPTP (TSS) cardholders. Victoria is the only Australian State to do this. Moreover, it is the only place in the world where this has been done!
In New South Wales, the NSW Taxi Council has started up a Disability Reference Group where industry stakeholders will come together, discuss and network with the NSW taxi industry and disability sector. This will help foster a more collaborative and consultative relationship with all stakeholders.
All Victorian CPVs (ie taxis, hire cars, limousines, special vehicles, ride share (including Uber, Didi, Shebah, GoCatch, Ola) must be cleaned after each trip (including after personal usage).
You must correctly clean high-touch services in a CPV at the right times. You must also keep a record of every time you clean. If you work with a booking service provider (BSP) or CPV owner, they must take reasonable steps to support you.
When to clean
You must clean all surfaces passengers are likely to touch before every trip.
Uber rival Ola says it still has a future in Australia despite the ride sharing company closing most of its local operations and making most of its local staff redundant.
The company's Australian managing director Simon Smith, who joined the company in 2018, has left the business. Meanwhile, Ola has also closed its local driver offices and cancelled its personal accident insurance program for drivers.
In a message sent to drivers Ola said the local driver offices would be closed "until further notice".
Transport Alliance Australia (TAA)'s latest Operators' Forum held on Friday 4 December via Zoom was a great success.
Thank you to those who attended or expressed interest. TAA have been receiving excellent feedback from everyone who participated.
For those who missed it, TAA ran through a comparison of cleaning requirements for all the states/territories, cleaning etiquette, legal news, product presentations from guest speakers, and a few marketing tips, then ended with an open discussion.
Get To Know: Leonie Kyriacou, Equity partner at Pigott Stinson lawyers
Leonie Kyriacou leads both the commercial law and workplace relations practice groups. Leonie has worked for the taxi industry for over 17 years. She has worked on the full range of legal matters impacting the industry and works for taxi networks throughout NSW, as well as in other States.
Leonie does a lot of volunteer work. She is a member of the Public Gift Giving Board for WIRES and a board member of national charity, Endometriosis Australia. Leonie has two boys aged 8 and 10, and manages their sporting teams. She also volunteers as an ethics teacher for the local primary school.
The Maurice Blackburn class action against Uber Technologies (Uber) was instigated by Rod Barton MP and Transport Alliance Director, André Baruch on behalf of Melbourne, Sydney and Perth taxi and hire car licence owners.
There is also a lawsuit filed against Uber by the Sydney based company behind ride-booking platform GoCatch, Taxi Apps.
Both the class action and lawsuit have accused Uber of conspiring to illegally operate UberX in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia since April 2014, and in Victoria since it was regulated in 2017.
NSW government is exploring innovative options available for the taxi industry to assist with contact tracing.
This comes on the back of nine untraceable passengers who travelled in a 13cabs Silver Service taxi on September 7-18, 2020 in NSW, with a driver who was COVID-19 positive. These passengers are yet to be identified, with health authorities finding it increasingly difficult to trace them, as they got into the taxi from a rank or hailed it and did not pay with a credit card.