Page 3652 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 18 September 2018

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In recognition of the growth in both the ACT’s population and tourism numbers since the current cap on licences was agreed in 2010, and because of the ACT’s relatively low historic numbers of taxis per head of population, the government has decided to increase over time the regulated cap to 500 taxi licences. Thirty standard taxi licences will be made available immediately, with an additional 50 to be made available by March 2019, bringing the total number of taxis available on the road to 408, from 328.

At the same time the government will be consulting with the community and stakeholders on the future of the regulation of taxi licence caps and taxi fares by posing key questions. What factors should the government consider when looking at lifting or removing the taxi licence cap and releasing further licences in the future? Should we change the cap on wheelchair accessible taxis, which currently stands at 31? Given an increase in on-demand transport vehicle numbers and the emissions they produce, should there be environmental conditions on these vehicles in the future? Do we need to regulate booked taxi fares when so many passengers are now comfortable with fare estimates for booked ride-share services? And how should we determine the increase in taxi fares each year?

Community members and stakeholders will be engaged through multiple channels to better understand their views on these critical and complex issues. Stakeholders will be able to provide their input on these and any other concerns through surveys, including on the your say website, written submissions and conversations with my directorate. The community will have the opportunity to consult with us between September and early December 2018.

Further work is also needed on accessible transport. Given what the government heard through the evaluation process, we will be further considering whether the managed WAT service should be extended to weekends and whether the taxi subsidy scheme should be extended for use in other services in the on-demand transport industry.

The ACT government will further investigate these matters and implement a range of other recommendations arising from the evaluation. We will be looking at better incentives for drivers to provide WAT service, better education and training arrangements to address service quality among certain drivers, and modernised regulation relating to cross-border services, carpooling and driver services. In all, we will be pursuing better outcomes through accepting more than 30 recommendations included in the evaluation report.

The government understands that the reform impacts and outcomes will not be the same for all stakeholders. For some, the changing environment has created significant work and personal challenges. Taxi service providers have seen increased competition for services, especially from ride share but also from new booking services and more drivers who are licensed to drive public vehicles. The government will ensure that personal counselling services for those in the on-demand industry are available for those who may require some additional support with ongoing change.

Representations from holders of perpetual taxi licences requesting a buyback were considered as part of the evaluation. However, the government will not be proceeding

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