Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rum Colony Taxi Industry Road Map

Rum Colony Taxi Industry Road Map

The NSW Transport & Infrastructure failed to initiate the Taxi Advisory Committee and Taxi Drivers’ Safety Committee. The NSW T & I also failed to provide any position to taxi drivers groups! The department has shown total contempt of public by declaring and acting to protect the overinflated and artificial taxi plate value contrary to the interests of the traveling public and society in general.

Unlike the Queensland Workplace Ombudsmen, the NSW Upper House Inquiry Report was not free from taxi industry mandarins’ influence. Most importantly, the Parliament and the NSW T&I failed to demonstrate any seriousness to implement the NSW Upper House Inquiry Recommendations!

The NSW TDA (dead) failed to present and protect taxi drivers’ interests! The NSW Transport Workers Union Leaders have been selling out taxi drivers since 1984. Yet, the NSW TWU is the only recognised party at the NSW Industrial Relations Commission. Many credible and corroborative requests to change the law and ensure notion of justice and fairness were ignored.

Racism and sectarianism (beside bribe) are two most powerful enemies of taxi drivers. As identified in the Queensland Workplace Ombudsmen Report, false advertising and false representation are two main weapons of the taxi industry mandarins across Australia! These industry mandarins have been breaking the law and rewarded by the successive governments. Whereas, poor taxi workers are facing the gallows for everyone’s crimes, greed and incompetence!

Beside the six modules above, 25 years of peaceful activism failed to achieve much for the taxi industry! So what is next?

--- On Thu, 22/7/10, Ted Hirsch wrote:



Once upon a time taxi Plates cost nothing because they did nothing. Now they do nothing but cost a huge $30,000 plus pa to lease !

- Drivers now have to earn $30,000 plus pa for lease costs per cab before they earn a cent for themselves.

- Passengers have to pay $30,000 pa MORE in fares for each taxi.

- Operators PASS ON this $30,000 pa to INVESTORS for receiving NOTHING.

(Plate Leases contribute NOTHING to taxi services except extra costs !)


If INVESTORS sold their $400,000 plates for property or shares or bonds they would be NO WORSE off.

- BUT the drivers for each cab would be $30,000 pa BETTER OFF !

- AND passengers fares would be $30,000 pa CHEAPER per taxi cab

- AND Operators would be NO WORSE off !


(Under the new Lease Bill system the Govt announced 100 new Leases in Dec09, plus another 167 on 1 July 2010 and another ??? in July 2011 – to keep the voting public happy ! Supposedly according to “measured” demand growth.)

To immediately achieve lower Lease fees the Govt will need to be pressured to:

1. Issue reduced Leases to “Seniority” drivers (as enabled under the new Bill).

2. Hold Driver ONLY auctions for new Leases (as possible under the new Bill).

The Govt is discussing the new 2010 lease issues now.

How to pressure the Govt to implement these measures ?

--- In, "Biplobi Faruque" wrote:

Re: 100 Plate Issues Prices and names Released

It appears to me that the NSW TDA is hoodwinked the NSW T&I. The NSW T&I's refusal to initiate Taxi Advisory Committee and Taxi Drivers' Safety committee are two main stumbling blocks. The option of taxi auction is worse than seniority list register with workable preconditions to avoid "Pitt Street Farmers" domination.

Incorporating Bailee Drivers, Owner Drivers and Lessee Drivers

Inc 9882558
ABN 98 653 928 763.
PO Box 322 Alexandria NSW 2015 … M. 0431 585 944

Karen Wyatt
Senior Policy Officer
Strategic Policy & Projects
Transport Policy & Reform
Transport NSW

Level 19
227 Elizabeth Street
Sydney 2000 Australia
GPO Box 1620, Sydney 2001

Telephone: 02 9268 2845
Mobile: 0415 353 788

Dear Ms Wyatt,

We write in reply to your request for comment on the administrative structure of the release of the driver-only taxi licences.

The NSW TDA is a democratic organisation of taxi drivers (bailees, lessees and owner drivers) that formulates policy in consultation with members. It is not always possible to respond quickly to a request to comment when the time frame does not allow broad ranging discussions. We would draw your attention to Mr Les Wielinga's firm and personal commitment to include the NSW TDA in the to-be-reformed Taxi Advisory Committee, which he gave us face to face 10/11/09 and which he has yet to fulfill. Such ongoing consultative groups can serve to ensure that inept decisions are not made in haste. We would again ask after the progress of Mr Wielinga's commitment which was endorsed also by the Upper House Enquiry (Recommendation 50) who urged that the Committee be reformed within 6 months and that stakeholders (such as the NSW TDA) be included.

Foremost on the matter of licence issues is the NSW TDA's staunch opposition to the release of ANY additional plates. We draw your attention to the absolute absence of evidence that there should be any increase. The T & I complaints database indicates a steady fall in complaints. IPART quotes statistics drawn from T & I Key Performance Indicators that confirm a very marked drop in demand for taxis. The current KPI's (13.1 and 13.2) [See IPART " 2010 Review of Taxi Fares", page 106, Averages 3563.8 taxis logged in at 9.a.m. and 3721.5 logged in at 9pm out of a pool of 5000+] also confirm that drivers can not be found for a large portion of the current fleet which is typically NOT logged on at the morning and evening census points. Any further dilution in driver earnings will only serve to dissuade more and more drivers from remaining in the industry. Neither we nor the travelling public want the industry to be staffed solely by those who are unable to hold down any other job. We choose taxi driving as an enjoyable profession but without a decent return for our efforts we too will be forced out of the industry. THE PWC statistic of "high" demand for additional plates is a furphy. The "high" demand that they recorded was mainly a mark of desperation signified by existing industry players who were hoping to REDUCE their costs of operation by obtaining a taxi licence more cheaply than the market offered. The 832 applicants for the last batch of licences were NOT signifying any desire to expand the pool of taxis already on the road. The issue of additional taxi licences will be canvassed at our upcoming meeting and we can not rule out industrial action as drivers seek ways to express their opposition and their exasperation over the release of additional plates.

As to the matters raised in your initial enquiry:

1) The 4 year's Experience Criteria

We endorse an absolute minimum period of 4 year's experience though not just measured simply as a holder of a licence but rather to be measured as a user of a taxi driver's licence, as an active participant in the industry. Moreover we urge that the first round of taxi driver-only plates be offered only to those drivers with ten (10) years' on-road experience. Then subsequent rounds could be offered under a gradually easing set of criteria if necessary. We are gravely concerned about the "Pitt St farmers" who may be eligible for a taxi licence but are not engaged in the industry on a regular basis. To this end we would advocate a requirement be included that OBLIGED the winning recipients to actually drive the taxis that they acquire and not just fill them with bailees.

2) The No Suspension Criteria

We are aware of a number of cases where drivers would be ineligible to apply if a period of 4 consecutive years without suspension was a requirement for eligibility. We are also aware of instances of unfair and poor judgement by T& I compliance officers. There are also recorded cases of demerit points being wrongly assigned to innocent drivers. We are also aware of the introduction of so called "Safety Cameras" and mobile speed cameras which together make the prospect of maintaining a satisfactory driving record even harder. We note further that once acquired, a taxi operator's accreditation is not influenced by the suspension of a driver's Taxi Driver Authority nor his drivers licence. In these circumstances the exclusion of applicants because of a suspension appears to us to be unjust.

Therefore, we would advocate an appeal mechanism be implemented whereby an applicant may plead his extenuating circumstances and be given a fair hearing to obtain a plate lease in circumstances where he may otherwise have been excluded.

3) Seniority Register

We believe that priority ought to be given to the most experienced drivers. To this end we would propose that where bids are received that are broadly equivalent then the benefit flow first to the drivers with the greatest experience. Our preferred model is a ballot system rather than a tender or auction which would be more likely to achieve the stated objective of putting downward pressure on taxi fares. Clearly the recent tender has served to drive up, rather than down, the perceived value of a taxi plate lease. Sadly, the most experienced applicants were denied new taxi licence leases (in the 2009 round) at the expense of the most gullible, poorly researched and ill informed "winning" bidders.

4) Enforced Shift Changeover Times

Enforced shift changeover times have already proven themselves to be an unmitigated disaster. The draft proposal for a mandatory 2pm changeover is strongly opposed. It is important to note that the current "industry standard"3 o'clock changeover is enshrined in the Industry Contract Determination proscribed by the Industrial Relations Commission. The Contract Determination stipulates how a taxi's earnings are to be divided between bailees and operators. Any effort to modify the shift change times by enforcement without a corresponding compensation to those drivers foregoing a part of their earning opportunity will only serve to cripple the attractiveness of those shifts in those taxis. We cite by way of example the extreme difficulty that operators of Wheel Chair Accessible taxis (WATs) have in attracting any night drivers. The ridiculous prohibition on night drivers commencing their shifts in WATs before5 pm simply resulted in willing night drivers selecting alternative vehicles instead.

Any move to compel the changeover times of any taxis simply creates peaks and troughs of availability.

Instead of any such compulsion the NSW TDA endorses allowing market demand to entice drivers to vary their changeover times flexibly and by mutually agreed arrangements between the participating pairs of co-drivers. Our preferred model, of taxis being operated by owner drivers, includes the flexibility necessary to permit varying arrangements to be struck by the two drivers on a day to day basis. On some days they may wish to change early on others they may change late. Only if they are granted the freedom necessary to make their own arrangements can contingencies such as a booking arising around changeover times be easily fitted in. These arrangements already work well in cases where a taxi is based at a driver's home and the flexibility that currently exists enables driver pairs to make up for lost earnings with complimentary swaps.

Enticements, rather than restrictions, are the best way to address perceived peak demand issues. We draw your attention to Parliamentary Upper House Submission number 39 from the Australian Hotels Association page 7 Recommendations 6.1 and 6.2 which advised that a $5 surcharge would be willingly paid by hotel patrons in a bid to encourage more taxi drivers to respond to the adverse conditions currently met by drivers at hotel closing times. Such sentiments were further endorsed during the NSW TDA's oral evidence to the Upper House Enquiry (transcript pages 27/28 2/2/2010). Peak time tolling has already been adopted by the authorities for the harbour bridge. Further peak time loadings on taxi fares would likewise help to entice drivers to meet the heightened demand under trying conditions.

We note that country taxis have rate 2 for Saturdays Sundays and public holidays. If NSW Transport can see this principle for country drivers then this can easily be extended to the same standard for urban drivers as the NSWTDA Inc has strongly advocated. The matters of the Helensburgh and fringe area taxis and nightplate taxis are still being discussed by our members. We look forward to discussing these issues with T&I at the appropriate venue which is of course the Taxi Advisory committee.

We thank you for considering the NSW TDA in your decision making process and assure you of our commitment to assisting the regulators to getting their job right. However, with most of our members working 60 hours per week we regret that we need ample lead time to adequately confer with our members and then to reach consensus decisions.

The most critical point is, please do NOT implement any of these current initiatives before discussing them at a Taxi Advisory Committee Meeting, with NSWTDA Inc . This, with respect, is most important.

Yours faithfully

Anne Turner, President, NSW Taxi Drivers Association (0404 383 275)
Trevor Bradley, A/Secretary NSW Taxi Drivers Association (0408 476 174)
Ernie Mollenhauer, Delegate, NSW TDA. (0416 335 576)

Action Copy: Karen Wyatt; Karen.Wyatt@...

Les Wielinga les.wielinga@...
Information Copies:
John Robertson Minister office@...
Gladys Berejiklian Shadow Minister gladys.berejiklian@...
John Ajaka, Chair Upper House Parliamentary Enquiry (Taxi Industry)
Peer Lindholdt, Publisher/Editor OzCabbie Magazine ozcabbie1@...
NSW TDA members Forum nswtdaforum@...

--- In, "Biplobi Faruque" wrote:

Re: 100 Plate Issues Prices and names Released

I think ZERO cost seniority list register is the way to go. The seniority list register should be specified by number of continuous shifts/per week with appeal mechanisms.

---In, "destodesperate" wrote:
Re: 100 Plate Issues Prices and names Released

On Transport NSW's website is the list of prices paid and names of "winners" (I'd say losers) who scored any of the new (2009) taxi plates. Prices range from (a ridiculously high) $30,476.00 up to a whopping$40,000 per annum. So much for the Minister's commitment to "put downward pressure on plate prices". Sydney's cabbies are screwed again!


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Can You Overcome Prejudice and Bigotry and Follow Reality?

Can You Overcome Prejudice and Bigotry and Follow Reality?

This vendetta against burqa is based on prejudice and bigotry.

Islam stands for peace, humanity, justice, fairness, equality and decency. Similarly, I believe in free speech, peace, humanity, justice, fairness, equality, independent judiciary and decency regardless of sex, race and religion. We oppose and condemn ethnic cleansing, racism, sexism, chosen people and all other forms of discrimination.

`Muslim Terrorists' Anthrax Attack was not an Islamic Terrorism.

Europol Report: All Terrorists are Muslims…Except the 99.6% that Aren't

All Terrorists are Muslims…Except the 94% that Aren't

RAND report: Threat of homegrown jihadism exaggerated, Zero U.S. civilians killed since 9/11

The Gujarat Train Fire was an accident and NOT Islamic Terrorism?

Do You Know a Muslim Terrorist Might be Under Your Bed?

Beside Zionised American Terrorism and Beyond Zionised American Terrorism above links clearly demonstrate the fact that Muslims are victims of deliberate propaganda, prejudice and bigotry.

Let’s debate and discuss issues with intent to exchange ideas, improve friendship and promote peace.