Rita Saffioti writes to Uber asking for reduction in driver fees

Stock image.
Stock image.

TRANSPORT Minister Rita Saffioti has written to Uber, asking them to reduce their service fee on WA drivers.

The move came as the State Government unveiled new legislation to govern taxis and other on-demand transport services.

In what has been labelled the biggest reform of the on-demand transport in WA history, the changes to legislation will include an industry-funded voluntary taxi plate buy-back scheme.

The buy-back scheme will be funded over four years, through a temporary 10 per cent levy on total fare revenue generated by operators like Uber.

But, to try and mitigate the hit felt by consumers, Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said she had written to Uber requesting a reduction in “their 25 per cent service fee charged to their local Western Australian drivers, to help prevent the levy from being fully passed onto the WA public”.

“As promised, this was one of my first priorities upon taking office in March,” Ms Saffioti said.

“The previous government failed to act, providing a band-aid solution that did not address the reality of the situation across the industry.

“The proposed reforms will promote innovation, safety and competition, creating a fairer system for all operators.

“Plate owners facing significant financial difficulty will benefit from our voluntary buy-back scheme, while the travelling public can be assured that all providers are subject to one regulatory system.

“With competition boosted and onerous operating costs removed through the reforms, any potential increase in fares has been minimised.

“The State Government does not believe there is justification for individual fares to increase by 10 per cent.”

Historically taxi and charter operators have operated in a heavily regulated market, but the news laws – the On-Demand Transport Act – will bring all operators under the same simplified rules

The laws will be introduced to Parliament early next year.

The plate buy-back scheme will deliver a minimum payment for different plates, less the $20,000 transition assistance already paid under the former State government.

Under the deal, $100,000 will be paid for each conventional or multi-purpose taxi plate, $40,000 for each area-restricted plate and $28,000 for each peak period plate.

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