Uber drivers will be slugged more than $200 for an annual licence fee under suggested state reforms that even the ridesharer’s traditional rival – the taxi industry – has slammed.
The fee was among a swag of changes announced by Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey ahead of the second stage of legislation due to be introduced to Queensland Parliament later this month.
But the latest reforms are far from popular – pleasing neither ridesharing company Uber nor the Taxi Council Queensland.
Taxi service licences and limousine licences and plates will be retained and a new annual licence fee of $237.26 will be introduced for ridebooking operators such as Uber.
Reflective signage will also be mandatory on the front and back of ridebooking services.
Security cameras must be operating in vehicles that are not pre-booked or services that take cash or payment during the journey. But this requirement would not affect Uber, which takes payment via a pre-registered credit card after the journey.
Driver fatigue must also be managed by companies and operators.
And all personalised transport vehicles will require an annual certificate of inspection and a new class of compulsory third party insurance – separate to taxis – has been created for ridebooking and limousines.
An Uber spokesman said the licence fee was “disappointing”.
“We’re disappointed to see the government propose new fees on everyday Queenslanders looking to access flexible work,” the spokesman said.
“The addition of vehicle licensing fees, which do not create any safety improvements or consumer benefits, is not in keeping with the stated aims of these reforms to open up competition, increase consumer choice and create new flexible work opportunities for Queenslanders.”
Fairfax Media asked Uber if it would absorb the cost of the annual licensing fee or whether it would be paid by individual drivers but the question was not answered.
There are about 10,000 Uber drivers in Queensland, which means the fee could instantly generate more than $2.73 million for the government.
Uber is still assessing the announcement, made on Thursday afternoon.
Taxi Council Queensland chief executive officer Benjamin Wash accused the government of doing nothing to level the playing field.
“This proposed legislation has been written to advantage rideshare operators – who have flouted the law and attempted to avoid tax and regulatory requirements – over law-abiding small business operators who make up Queensland’s taxi industry,” Mr Wash said.
“We will review the details of this draft legislation and make further comment soon.”
Taxi drivers and companies pay a variety of charges in Queensland.
The Queensland government will not release any new taxi service licences before 2018, but the cost to buy an existing taxi licence was about $200,000 at the end of 2016, according to a committee report.
The taxi and limousine “driver authorisation” annual fee is $140.65, plus new applications have a fee of $41.05.
There is also an operator accreditation fee of $171 a year for taxi or limousine services.
But the operator accreditation, licence renewal fees, taxi industry security levy and driver authorisation renewal fees were waived for 12 months as a result of changes in the industry.
Mr Bailey said the changes would create a fairer playing field for operators and increase safety and choice for customers.
The first stage included $60 million in transitional assistance payments – a one-off payment of $20,000 a licence, capped at two licences for taxis, and $10,000 per licence for limousine licence holders.
Eligible taxi and limousine holders and operators will receive an invitation from the Queensland Rural Adjustment Agency to apply for a slice of $26.7 million in industry hardship payments from April.
Eligible taxi licence owners and operators will receive a payment of up to $9000 per licence.
Limousine licence holders and operators will receive a payment of up to $4500.
Both payments would be shared 50/50 between owner and operator and be capped at 10 payments per registered entity.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.