Nearly a thousand taxi owners in Queensland are suing their government alleging Uber shrunk the value of their taxi rights. The combined loss of licence value across the state is estimated to be $1.5 billion. Taxi Council Queensland says it did not join the case because of poor prospects of success.
Falling licence value
Taxi Council Queensland says new laws in 2016 allowed Uber to operate with cost advantages. For example, taxi owners were paying $3,962 for CTP, compared to $690 for an Uber vehicle. Council says the government should have bought back the taxi licences before ridesharing reforms shattered their value. This is what happened in WA and, to a lesser extent, in Victoria.
The Queensland government gave $100 million assistance package to taxi licence owners, worth about $20,000 per licence. This compares to the current market price of $80-100,000 for a licence in Brisbane, compared to $530,000 before the new laws.
Taxi owners class action against Uber
While the Queensland case is against the state government, a separate class action by 6,000 taxi owners in NSW, Qld, Vic and WA is against Uber. They claim Uber knowingly operated illegally and gained advantages from doing so. The action will allege Uber “adopted a policy to operate in any market where the regulator had tacitly approved doing so by failing to take direct enforcement action”.
It will be interesting to see whether either case brings cabbies the results they desire.
In NSW, taxi owners no longer pay disproportionately high CTP premiums and they and rideshare owners pay according to distance of travel.