Competition Policy (CP)
The ATIA continues to promote the public benefits delivered by well regulated, personalised transport markets. In the case of taxi services, prudent regulation of markets has been shown by empirical research to consistently outperform under-regulation on the important metrics of safety, pricing and service. The ATIA contends that Governments should maintain regulatory interventions that are appropriate, effective and efficient. Governments have a responsibility to avoid regulatory distortion and ensure their interventions do not intentionally, or unintentionally, operate to the advantage of one competitor (or their particular business model) and the disadvantage of others. The ATIA accordingly advocates for a level playing field where the “same market access rules” apply to all providers of the “same service” in a market.
Australian Road Rules (ADRs)
The ATIA seeks changes to the ADRs that facilitate the improved delivery of taxi services, particularly in CBD locations. As a case in point, we advocate that taxis authorised to provide hail services should be allowed to pick-up (and set-down) passengers without restriction wherever safe to do so.
Accessible Taxi Services
The ATIA promotes a viable and important role for taxi services to contribute to the accessibility of Australia’s public transport system. Working with industry members, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), the National Accessible Public Transport Advisory Committee (NAPTAC), and other stakeholders, we advocate responsible compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (2002).
Australian Design Rules (ADRs)
The ATIA supports design standards that protect safety, promote flexibility, and facilitate improved delivery of taxi services.
Franchising Code of Conduct
The ATIA continues to support a general exemption for stakeholders in the taxi service supply chain from the provisions of the Franchising Code of Conduct. We strongly contend that the relationship between taxi service booking companies/networks/platforms and their affiliates (operators/drivers) is demonstrably different to that of a franchisor and franchisee.
Industry Best Practice
The ATIA encourages best practice through sponsoring research, and the sharing of information and experience between members and affiliates. As an adjunct to this role, we support the development and implementation of national standards where appropriate (e.g. medical, traffic and criminal history checks for personalised transport drivers).
Australian Taxi Conferences
The ATIA convenes annual conferences that provide important forums for networking, discussion and learning as well as the opportunity for suppliers to showcase leading edge technologies and innovations.
The ATIA performs an ongoing liaison role with the ATO on GST and other taxation issues. We provide expert advice to the ATO for its calibration of industry benchmarks for drivers and operators. We also helped the ATO develop its Activity Payment Card system which provides drivers and operators with flexibility and convenience in respect of their GST obligations.
Environmentally Sustainable Transport
The ATIA is committed to promoting “clean and green” taxi services that provide a sustainable alternative to private motor vehicle travel. Through the use of low emission, environmentally friendly fuels (e.g. LPG) and hybrid petrol or LPG electric technologies, taxi services make a significant contribution to the public transport system and its capacity to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution in Australian cities. As suitable fully electric vehicles become available in Australia, the ATIA expects to play an active role in promoting their use in the delivery of taxi services.
Federal Government Lobbying
The ATIA provides personal briefings to Senators and Members of Parliament to ensure they are well equipped to understand the importance of the Australian Taxi Services Industry and the ATIA’s position on matters of national significance. In particular, the briefings include a focus on the contribution made to the community and economy by a viable and strong taxi services industry.
The Introduction of GST
The introduction of the new GST tax system represented an enormous challenge to the Australian taxi services industry at the time. Moreover, it had the potential to cause wide spread confusion, frustration, and inconvenience to drivers, operators, owners and customers – the consequences of which could have been financially devastating. Taking the lead on this issue, the ATIA successfully applied to the GST Start-Up Office for a grant of about $1.5 million to undertake an ambitious Industry-wide education campaign, comprising workshops, manuals, CD-ROMS, and sample forms. This campaign successfully reached over 60,000 taxi drivers, 20,000 taxi owners/operators. The taxi services industry achieved high levels of compliance with minimal disruption to service or customer inconvenience.
LPG Excise Duty
In the 2003 Budget, the Federal Government announced its intention to extend the excise system to include LPG and other alternative fuels. Given the Australian Taxi Industry’s reliance on LPG at the time as its preferred fuel source, this decision had the potential to result in a very significant cost impost. The ATIA was decisive in its response. Working cooperatively with other key stakeholders, including the Australian Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association (ALPGA), the ATIA relentlessly lobbied the Federal Government. We were successful in: (a) Securing a 50% discount for the LPG excise; (b) Staggering implementation of the excise; (c) Obtaining a $1,000 cash subsidy for new LPG vehicles; (d) Postponing the implementation date to July 2011. The ATIA continues to work with industry members to explore all available options for reducing fuel costs, including early adoption of ULP/LPG-electric hybrids and fully electric vehicles.