An email has been forwarded to me which purports to be from “The Victorian Taxi Driver’s Association with support of taxi drivers of Melbourne”, the email claims that taxi drivers in Melbourne will be striking on Monday. I’m not sure if the email is legitimate or not as I have, so far, been unable to find any news stories about the planned strike, but I thought it would be worthwhile sharing it with you as some of the aims of the strike are rather amusing.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
This is to inform you, and all the people concerned, that
we the taxi drivers of Melbourne are going on a peaceful “taxi protest ” on
Monday 10th Dec from 3.00 p.m onwards at the steps of Parliament House on
Spring Street against the authorities who manage ,regulate and bully taxi
industry. We were promised a number of solutions 16 months ago but its
highly regrettable that none of them have actually been implemented. Hence
we were left with no option but to go for protests once again .
Please make sure that necessary traffic alterations are made in advance.
Any inconvenience caused to general public is regrettable .
Victorian Taxi Drivers Association with support of taxi drivers of Melbourne
Attached to the email is the following document, outlining the aims of the strike.
Mon 10th DECEMBER 2007
3:30 PM onwards
Venue: Corner of Spring Street, and Bourke Street.
TREAT TAXI DRIVERS AS “HUMAN BEINGS”
To pressurise Govt. to fulfill the following demands of Taxi Drivers and Taxi Operators
Pressurise the government? “Pressure” perhaps? I’m pretty sure that turning the government in to either a balloon or a marking on a synoptic chart isn’t going to achieve much.
1. Stop the dictatorial powers of Depots such as 13 Cabs for imposing harsh and inhuman penalties such as “Two Hour Recall Penalty” and other unjustified harsh monetary penalties. A two hour penalty literally destroys the whole day income of taxi driver. Maximum penalty should be half an hour. NO MORE BULLYING OF DRIVERS BY MONOPOLISTIC TAXI DEPOTS AND SERVICE PROVIDERS.
2. Monitoring by VTD not just of drivers, but also of service provider depots such as 13 Cabs and Silver Top. (We were promised this by Mr. Peter Batchelor on 15th Aug last year at Flemington Racecourse, but no action till now)
A deal struck at Flemington race course? It sounds a bit suspicious to me.
3. A six month trial of Safety Measures was announced on 15th Aug last year. Sixteen months have passed, but driver safety and security still remains neglected. We want results and not just trials. No one should have a problem with Detachable Safety Screens.
I can’t see any problem with safety screens, but how much do they cost and who will fund them? The taxi industry, to the best of my knowledge, is a private industry. Surely if the taxi drivers are so interested in safety screens they would be willing to purchase and install them themselves. I would have thought that the cost of such devices would be quite small when compared to the cost of purchasing and operating a taxi.
If, on the other hand, there is some legislation which prevents the installation of such devices, then I can understand the protest.
4. No constructive input yet from Victorian Multi Cultural Commission to reduce racism against taxi drivers. RACISM is a curse on Victorian Society.
The Victorian Multicultural Commission can produce as many reports as they like…none of them will reduce racism. Racism is an attitude issue, not something a bit of paper can solve.
5. Mandatory upfront payment during hours of 11:00 PM to 6:00 AM on all days, to reduce Taxi Runners (If 9,000 runners a week are too less to wake up Government). This will also help curb racism and violence against taxi drivers.
I have no problem with up-front payments, especially during those hours. It would help prevent “runners” and probably help prevent some violence, but I can’t see how it is related to racism…I have never met anyone who chooses whether or not to pay a taxi driver based on their nationality. It would appear to me that racism is just a pet topic of this group and they are just trying to link as many things as they can to it.
6. Assaults on Taxi Drivers should be punishable in the same manner as assaults on other public transport workers. (We also come under ministry of Public Transport, and there are at least 400 cases of reported assaults on taxi drivers every year. Are they a bit too less to wake the sleeping government)
“A bit too less to wake the sleeping government”? Who wrote this?
For what it’s worth I agree with them, but their grammatical errors don’t help their cause, especially in a public document.
7. Fare increases to match inflation. (1% fare increase is a Joke).
8. Stop undue favoritism to Cab charge and City Link.
9. Drivers to get a 3% share on EFTPOS charges. Stop the EFTPOS regime.
10. Drivers to get 3% share on Account Booking Charges.
11. Tolls on taxis went straight up from $2.20 to $3.50 and from $3.85 to $5.60. Unjustified increment of approx 50 %. Stop the TOLLS regime.
12. Depot fess should increase in the same manner as Taxi Fares. Otherwise it is totally unjustified for taxi operators. VTA should not get any share from the taxi depot fees. Depot fees are unrealistically high and should be reduced. Share to VTA puts unnecessary burden on Operators. Depot fees should be justified by the services provided.
13. Increase in Taxi Rank Spaces. Taxi rank spaces should match the number of taxis on Road. SAVE THE TAXI INDUSTRY FROM PARKING FINES, Stop the PARKING FINES regime.
At each taxi rank or as a collective? Either way, that is insanity. Even if we ignore the fact that they are requesting a change in the number of taxi ranks every time a taxi is commissioned or decommissioned, surely taxi rank spaces should depend on the demand in a particular area, and the space available, not an arbitrary number.
14. Re introduce the NEW YEARS EVE surcharge. Otherwise, NO taxis will be on road on New Year’s Eve.
Blackmail. I don’t know why the surcharge was removed or what its purpose was in the first place, but I can’t see the point in bringing it back. The taxi industry already has a public holiday surcharge, why should they have a “night before the public holiday” surcharge?
15. Increase the driver facilities at Melrose Drive Holding Area at Melbourne Airport.
16. District Destinations to be logically modified to make it practically applicable on Road.
I’m sure that means something, but could somebody translate it in to English please?
17. Clear laws to be made for TAXI DRIVER CHANGE OVER.
And finally, the most laughable request of the lot.
18. Demerit points incurred while driving taxi should not affect the personal demerit points of taxi drivers.
So taxi drivers should be allowed to speed, run red lights and commit various other traffic offences on the basis that they are driving a taxi? And on what planet would the rest of us be safe?
BE THERE FOR YOUR RIGHTS
BRING AS MANY OF YOUR FRIENDS YOU CAN.
IF OUR DEMANDS ARE NOT MET, ANOTHER ROUND OF PROTESTS WILL BE ON NEW YEARS EVE.
Ah well, plenty of their “rights” (or “delusions” as many of them could be more accurately described) won’t be met, especially not the 18th one, so if you are intending on requiring transport on New Years Eve in Melbourne, you might just have to wait for the next train…or an escort in the back of a police van.