Taxi app goCatch boss Ned Moorfield says Australians pay too much for taxis and wants the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to reduce fares and regulations in the cab industry.
“We believe that the residents of Sydney, and for that matter across Australia, pay far too much for point-to-point travel and this is largely a result of the regulatory framework that the industry operates in and artificial and unnecessary costs imposed on the industry in the form of license costs,” Moorfield said.
In response to IPART’s draft report into Sydney taxi fares and licenses, the taxi app company supports many of the report’s recommendations, but is calling for further action to reduce regulation and fares for taxi passengers.
goCatch believes Sydneysiders currently pay too much when it comes to catching a taxi and believes it is imperative that this changes.
The company said taxi plate owners have received above Australian bond yields on their investment and said state governments shouldn’t “feel obliged” to protect their returns at the expense of consumers.
It also said the government should only issue licence on an annual basis to free up the market and said in NSW the annual taxi place leasing costs should be reduced to below $6,000 a year.
If the plate fees are reduced, goCatch said there would be room to reduce taxi fares given IPART reports these costs currently represent 20% of the fare.
Moorfield said the industry should be left to determine the correct level of supply to match demand. He recommended the cap on peak availability licenses be removed because the company currently sees a big shortage of supply during peak periods.
“We do however welcome the maintaining of a cap on off-peak licenses in recognition that many taxi drivers during these non peak period struggle to find sufficient work,” goCatch said.
Moorfield said the deregulation changes in Victoria around hire car vehicle requirements including maximum car ages and safety requirements are a good benchmark for NSW.
As for driver regulations, goCatch wants enforcement mechanisms to be strengthened to stop a “foreign owned monopoly” like for example Uber, taking over.
“Lax enforcement is creating an extremely uneven playing field for industry participants,” goCatch said.
“[There needs to be] far more effective enforcement of regulation requiring drivers carrying fare paying customers to be accredited and driving an accredited vehicle.”
IPART’s final taxi fare report is due out this month.