Should the Australian taxis be allowed to set their own fares?

taximeter showing fares

Australian taxis are now free to set their own fares – will that save the taxi industry?

Effective October 2017, Australian taxis are free to set their own fares, although some details of this desirable regulation may still be in the offing. Among the changes being introduced may be some added protection for customers. The Andrews government is also likely to consider the next stage of taxi reforms when the cabinet meets next. These reforms could allow networks like 13CABS and Silvertop to compete with them on fares offered to customers. The new laws are aimed at bringing significant relief to the taxi industry since the industry would now have a level playing field, particularly because the ride-share companies are now legal.

The first stage of taxi industry reforms saw the taxi license prices taking a nosedive. With the second stage of reforms, it is expected that the customers will now have more options as well as reduced fares. The changes will also enable customers to get an estimate of fare before they choose a particular cab. The Taxi companies can either offer a flat rate for the trip or rate per kilometre travelled. Customers who use taxis frequently may also receive competitive packages from one or more providers.

These changes are expected to bring great relief to all stakeholders including the small to large taxi companies like Taxi Maxi Melbourne and ABC Taxis Sydney. Ride-sharing is a new trend that is shaking up the industry on a global scale, and Australia is no exception. Typically, ride-share companies are able to offer price about 20% less than traditional taxis and this, in turn, helped them gain a strong foothold in every market they started operations. Uber now operates in 300 cities covering 6 continents. Interestingly, the company started with just two cars and a desk on the streets of San Francisco and as we step into the final months of 2017, one million Uber drivers are ferrying passengers every single day.

The Andrews government has already announced a relief package amounting to $250 million as compensation for the Australian taxi industry under the industry shake-up and the report from taxi statistics showing huge disparities in rates among states. The government expects to fund this largesse through a $1 levy from every trip that taxis of all descriptions from February 2018. It remains to be seen whether the taxi industry passes on the burden to the customer or absorbs it. In all likelihood, Uber might absorb the levy rather than pass it on to the customer, particularly since the company is already reported to be building large war chests to fund such eventualities.

The reforms also include a reduction in insurance premiums up to 40% for taxis which is expected to provide a competitive edge to all stakeholders including passengers. The changes now being introduced have also been welcomed by most participants in the taxi industry. However, that does not mean everyone is happy now, and it is business as usual for the harried Australian taxi industry. The taxi license owners will continue to hold their grouses, particularly since what was once considered assets with perpetual value addition would now be compulsorily acquired by the government. Understandably, the price at which the acquisition comes around cannot cheer the owners because the fancy price tags are now gone – gone forever. They also advance the argument that the $1 per ride being levied under the new dispensation will more than offset the proposed compensation for license holders and the government is thus making a profit from the move. On the other side, it is equally true that the government is foregoing millions of dollars in revenue that it was generating via the taxi license regimen.

The reforms presently in the pipeline may become law only in the New Year. It remains to be seen how the reforms translate into better services for the passenger and more pro-active dispensation from the taxi industry.

Among the most contentious arguments against the ride-sharing companies has been the surge-pricing they adopt during peak demand periods. These companies argue that during the peak periods, a larger number of customers is after fewer cars. Surge pricing helps idle cars come out on the roads and pick up the passengers for the extra bucks that they gain. Further, there is nothing hidden from the customer, since the expected cost of the trip is known before the cab is booked and people always have the choice to wait for the fares to soften or look for an alternative. In many instances, the surge pricing does not remain constant across an hour and keep oscillating when more cars become available.

With these changes, the Australian taxi industry will undoubtedly undergo a major overhaul. The customers, however, are expected to reap huge benefits from the new regulation, particularly because there will be significantly more options available. Customer preferences can also shift significantly since some of the new entrants will be providing newer, cleaner and more comfortable cars, as opposed to the not so affable cars provided by a cross-section of taxi operators today. Another concern that could possibly remain is how the new system addresses short distance passengers which most taxi companies tend to refuse. In most other cities outside Australia Uber is known to service short distances passengers with the equal enthusiasm shown to long distance trips. Ride-share also means two or more people sharing the same car to reach different destinations. Both passengers pay a pre-determined fare according to the distance they travel. But, the cab owner is at an advantage because he receives multiple payments to travel the same distance.


Best Garden Landscaping Tips For Summer Season in Australia

Intelligent gardening is of key importance to keep your plants in full bloom and away from drastic effects of hot Aussie summer. We asked to Maintain Me, professional garden landscapers in Sydney, for some simple tips and tricks, to counteract summer challenges and keep your garden in good shape. Here, let’s go through some of the most effective ways to surpass summers.

flower garden

  1. Keep it Cool

Plant’s are natural air conditioners and spread cool vibes and refreshing aromas all over the place. Planted area is more than 20 degrees cooler than the adjacent place. So, what can keep these cooling agents cool? Well, to start off, following the potted plants in shady areas is extremely important, especially, if you have terracotta pots that are vulnerable to the extremely hot environment, you need to take care of your plants more. Positions your pots away from the hot Aussie sun, as much as you can. With a slight mulching all over the needed areas of the plant, water and keep them in the shade. Beware not to overfill the pots as this encourages the growth of mosquitoes. But don’t let them dry out, and keep the roots moist. For your pleasure, if possible then plant a tree to shade your deck or patio and enjoy a cold summer in your garden.

  1. Add Drought Tolerant Plants in the Garden

Making most out of the situation and using in-hand circumstances in your favour, always works the best. Here, when the Aussie sun is in full bloom, use its hot shine and plant drought tolerant plants which can conserve loads of water and grow splendidly in dry conditions. These plants work perfectly best for water-wise landscaping, especially in those areas which do not have a surplus supply of water availability. These plants need low- maintenance, but just keep the soil of the plant full of moisture. These, surely, are drought- tolerant and can survive harsh environmental conditions, but it doesn’t mean that you forgot to keep an eye on them once in a while, because of these plants too, get dry, pale, and dull, if not taken care of for a long time.

  1. Inclusion of Nutrients in the Water

Sure, watering is one of the most necessary things to do, especially in the hot Aussie summer. But adding a correct amount of right kind of fertiliser is much needed to make the plants flourish and bloom to their best. With this, you can keep your plants away from mineral deficiencies and wilt. Addition of soluble fertiliser will mix up in the soil more efficiently and can speedily suck up by the plant. Use of potassium fertilisers increases the growth of fruit-bearing plants such as lychee, citrus, mango, avocado, and banana. Potassium helps to enhance the juiciness and rich flavour of the fruit. In addition to helping the fruit, fertilisers improve the plant’s resistance to fungal attack and other diseases. So, keep your plants well moisture, and fertilised in the summer to get better results.

  1. Water the Plants in Early Morning

    watering gardens

Cool timings of the day are the best parts to water the plants. This will not only be feasible for you to come out of your place but will also be beneficial for the plants. Watering in the hottest parts of the day, at noon, when the sun is held up high, is pretty useless as the soil will not be able to soak up needed amount of water that the plant can absorb, as the water droplets will evaporate in bright, burning sun rays of the hot summer day. So, it’s better to water the plants in the morning. Thus the roots can soak up the water for the greater amount of time, and plant uses it perfectly.

  1. Jazz up the Garden with Colorful Containers

Landscaping your garden is fun. You just need to add something fascinating and exciting in your garden, maintain it well, and keep the plants away from the burning sun; and you’ll love the final product. One such cool and exciting trick to beautify your garden is the addition of vibrantly coloured and beautifully patterned containers and pots. It’s like dressing up your favourite plants now and then. Continual cutting, the addition of good fertilisers in the right amount, and regular watering will keep your plants fresh and healthy. And on top of it, dazzlingly coloured pots with various designs will add an artistic and attractive touch to the whole area. You can use simple pots for vibrantly coloured, flowering plants; and stripy or decorative containers for simple plants. Add little elements of surprise in your garden, and you’ll enjoy the perfection.

  1. Checking of Water nozzles and Irrigation System

    irrigation system ingarden

Keeping check of your irrigation system, pipelines, and nozzles, every once in a while is of utmost importance. Plants cannot survive without water, so unblock the pipes and nozzles, clear the debris, and let the water flow smoothly in the whole garden. Use mesh or sieve to keep the frogs or mosquitoes ruining or clotting the pipes. If you are living in areas where water supply is restricted, then hold a separate water tank for gardening and other accessory purposes.

  1. Strategic Planting According to your Home

In Australia, sun resides in the Northern part of the sky in the summer season. So, keep your plants in the southern parts of your house to let them enjoy the sunlight. Depending upon the type of the plant you are growing, you can change the position of the plants and pots.

  1. Do Most of the Gardening Hard work in Cool Timings

When you are taking care of your plants, you must strategize your schedule of gardening as well. Where mulching, mowing, and watering is exceptionally important for plants, timings of these function is important as well. You must do this energy consuming work in the morning before 10 am or in the evening after 4 pm. Dress up correctly, wear a good sunscreen, a nice hat, thick gloves and dig in the soil deeply. This way you’ll keep yourself safe from heating effects of the sun.