Cabbies’ answer to rideshare ‘crisis’
CABBIES are calling on the State Government to follow New York and cap the number of rideshare cars allowed to operate.
"What we are seeing is an absolute glut of Uber and other rideshare vehicles in cities," Taxi Council of Queensland chief executive Blair Davies said.
"You just have to have a look at the Brisbane CBD on Friday and Saturday nights.
"It's inundated with booked-hire vehicles circling around, hungry to find passengers, hunting for opportunity and putting lives and safety at risk with reckless behaviour."
New York last month became the first major US city to limit the number of rideshare cars, putting a one-year moratorium on the issue of any new for-hire vehicle licences.
"It is good that New York finally found the courage to stand up to companies like Uber and take back control of their streets," Mr Davies said.
"The Queensland Government should do the same without further delay."
The more than 11,000 active Uber operators in Brisbane already outnumber the 1867 registered taxis by over five-to-one. Other services include GoCatch, Ola, Shebah and Muve.
It is estimated a further 1500 to 2000 Uber drivers ply their trade on the Gold Coast, where there are 357 cabs.
Mr Davies said the rideshare vehicles were already exacerbating congestion in the CBD and inner city by cruising streets waiting for bookings, and the situation would only get worse as more operators flooded the market.
"Queensland will have to make the same decision as New York eventually," he said.
"If the Government acts now, they give themselves a chance of getting ahead of the curve.
"We can't sit around twiddling our thumbs and then later complain we have a congestion problem."
The State Government included the power to set a cap when it passed personalised-transport laws two years ago, legalising rideshare services.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said he was aware of calls to limit licences.
"Stage 3 of the Palaszczuk Government's personalised transport reforms - the stage we're in now - is about looking at how the reforms are working in practice," he said.
"We want to see what has worked well and what can be improved, so we can make any changes needed to provide better support for customers and the personalised transport industry."
RACQ chief communications officer Paul Turner said they would be concerned about a cap which, in the longer term, could result in fewer operators and higher prices as it had previously with taxis.
"There's no doubt we are seeing some congestion but it's early days and the industry will settle.
"We have to make sure we do not over-regulate this area. We don't want to create artificial impediments to competition," he said.
"The key difference is that, unlike taxis, rideshare vehicles are not on the road all the time so the number of licences does not necessarily equate to the cars on the road."
An Uber spokeswoman said the service could help cut congestion.
"Over time, as people get used to the idea that you can push a button and get a ride, the need to own a car or buy a second family car goes down.
"We will continue to work with governments at all levels to play our part in improving the way our cities move," she said.
A Government evaluation framework to look at feedback on the personalised transport system is expected to be in place by the end of the year.