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To: WA Minister for Transport Dean Nalder
DISABLING TAXIS FOR THE DISABLED
TO: THE PREMIER OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA, THE HON. COLIN BARNETT, AND THE WESTERN AUSTRALIA MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT, THE HON. DEAN NALDER
Dear Premier and Minister
You decision to allow the Department of Transport to issue a tender for a single operator of the MPT operations is nothing short of cruel.
Cruel to those that operate the service, cruel to the users and potential users.
For many years the MPT service has been held to ransom by several ministers and the DoT. Refusal to issue more MPT plates to meet demand resulted in severe criticism from the public which the service was blamed for whilst the department keep releasing regular taxi plates by the truckload.
Despite the fact that the fleet could not meet demand was due to the lack of vehicles, not because of the inefficiencies of the operators or the taxi companies.
When Black & White Taxis were the sole co-ordinator of the MPT fleet the criticism from the disabled community was loud and clear. They wanted a choice of cab companies like the rest of the population enjoyed. For drivers too, this was important for obvious reasons. The company with the best service got the vehicles and the clients. Competition works. You have both made this clear by allowing illegal ride sharing companies to operate in Perth.
The proposal for single operation of MPTs by one entity is a throwback to the dark ages and a slap in the face for the disabled community.
Advice from HREOC is that the move to single operator contravenes the Australian Disability Act. Advice from the ACCC suggests this is a move that is anti-competitive and also contravenes the Competition and Consumer Act.
Whilst the community welcomes the proposal to place another 41 MPT licences on the road, where in this current climate, this time of uncertainty, will 41 people apply and invest huge amounts of money (around $2.6 million) in infrastructure when a minister with such a cavalier attitude towards business is holding the reigns? Why would someone invest in a business where they have no control of their career path, and no guarantee of earning a living? Why would we trust a minister who also owns a transport company?
Whilst you are allowing foreign ride share companies into the market to compete without any regulations or protection for the community, you seek to restrict the commercial viability and competition of an incumbent service. A service operated by people with a passion to serve those with disabilities.
Minister, allow the MPT’s and the clients to CHOOSE the service which is best for them like a true democracy.
It seems WA is now the place not to invest in as the incumbent ministers can’t be trusted with upholding the rules. It certainly won’t be seen as the state that respects its disabled community.
Why is this important?
This is a vital service to the Perth disabled community. Drivers are dedicated and strive to deliver positive outcomes for the community in relation to their transport needs. The Minister wants to revert to a single service which will dictate to both client and driver and diminish the rights and choices of both. He proposes to literally blackmail all of the people involved by denying subsidies to those who don't use his preferred service. We must preserve our freedom to choose which taxi company or driver suits our needs based on the quality of service they provide.