Uber Class Action
Maurice Blackburn has filed a class action against Uber on behalf of participants in the taxi, hire car, limousine and charter vehicle industry. This class action was introduced in response to losses suffered by drivers, licence owners, and operators, when Uber entered the Australian market.
It doesn't cost you anything to join this Class Action. Find out if you are eligible to join and register today.
In early May, we facilitated a meeting between CPVV and one of our partners, Wedding Car Association (WCA), to address current issues, from both ends, and exchange ideas on how to move forward.
WCA sought to voice concerns over CPVV’s competency in making the Commercial Passenger Vehicle (CPV) industry a fairer playing field, illegal operators providing and advertising their services, and compliance check protocol.
CPVV advises that it is moving towards a new regulatory framework around reviewing compliance and enforcement policies and overall strategy – one that involves engaging with various industry participants in a more robust and open manner, with increased transparency. The aim is to hear from different parts of the CPV industry on their thoughts and experiences on dangers within the industry, and make progress on safety in a collaborative way.
Compliance and enforcement departments are being brought to the table to hear the perspective of operators. This collectiveness will inform CPVV’s strategy and allow CPVV to be more targeted in its engagement with the industry.
When asked whether more meetings will take place between all these parties, CPVV informed us that it is committed to making itself available to meeting industry participants and is looking at ensuring we have regular meetings to discuss what it is focusing on and what risks are present within the industry.
Let’s talk about the real issue of illegal operators. WCA has been counting a lot of illegal operators in action whilst working, and believes CPVV’s efforts to catch them and hold them accountable has been extremely low.
CPVV pointed out that dealing with illegal operators is a long process – finding out who is in the vehicle, determining whether they match with the registered driver and looking at all the accreditation.
Although many illegal operators use a H-plated vehicle, seeing a H-plated vehicle is not sufficient evidence to deem the owner an illegal CPV operator. This is also something that we will be discussing with VicRoads at our upcoming meeting.
WCA mentioned there are illegal operators advertising their services on Facebook – which includes reviews from apparent customers. Unfortunately social media accounts and reviews belonging to illegal operators are not enough to prosecute them. However, WCA would be satisfied with the illegal operators just being removed from the platform. CPVV raised the point that Facebook is a tough organisation to deal with especially when it comes to advertising.
The CPVV legal team have been writing to Facebook administrators, and its requests for the removal of illegal operators’ accounts have been effective to a small extent. The team is in the process of drafting another letter.
CPVV has a current project in place with the purpose of locating operators advertising their services when they are not registered. CPVV notifies them that they need to be registered, gives them a rundown on how to do this and follows up with them. If the operator doesn’t register or reply, then the work is shifted to the investigation team.
A number of illegal operators have been prosecuted in the past, but most of them have voluntarily complied after being caught. For prosecution, you have to confirm who’s in the vehicle, that the person in the vehicle is the one driving it and that they’re getting paid to use it. There needs to be hard proof which, as an example, may be in the form of a statement from those who received the service.
WCA suggested authorised officers insert the number plates of potential illegal operators into their database and CPVV contact unregistered vehicle owners to remind them to register– WCA cares about stopping illegals so as to make it a fairer industry and keep the public safe.
WCA put forth the idea to develop a letter to send to suspected illegal operators containing concerns, a reminder to register and a note to ensure they are accredited. There is already a standard legal response which is actioned when an illegal operator is identified, yet CPVV was receptive to the letter suggestion and will bring it up in the project’s review – which has been delayed due to the recent lockdown and other critical work.
When we asked CPVV why Uber and rideshare don’t have as much roadworthy regulation against them, it instructed us to go to VicRoads to enquire about this policy position; we have since set up a meeting with VicRoads and will report on this in the next edition of DRIVE NOW.
Compliance check protocol is something we delved into, as there is no proper verification process. This means that authorised officers may approach operators one too many times. CPVV wants officers to engage with operators in a respectful way – communicating why they believe certain things may be safety issues and working in respect of the legislation. To verify a check has been made, we proposed obtaining the officer’s name or having business cards in the vehicle so the officer can put down their name and give a time stamp.
Since the meeting, CPVV has had some initial internal discussions around the idea of issuing an item acknowledging recent engagement and is now considering ways to implement this with the use of its SCO identification numbers. Due to the lockdown and priority of monitoring of COVIDSafe processes, a compliance check verification has not yet progressed further.
That comes to our conclusion of TAA and WCA’s latest dealings with CPVV. We will continue to keep TAA members in the loop with the result of these key meetings and the status of the ongoing issues addressed.
More news in DRIVE NOW's June 2021 Issue here.
TAA reports on various topics regarding the Australian and International commercial passenger transport sector.