The Taxi Services Commission (TSC) of Victoria is managing the implementation of an In-Taxi Technology Reform Program, which forms part of a wider range of reforms that will transform the taxi industry by introducing new technologies.
TCA has worked with the TSC to develop a new Functional and Technical Specification for Fare Devices, as part of the National Telematics Framework.
Fare devices are set to become a centerpiece to the operation of taxis in Victoria, by introducing new functions and capabilities – which represent a significant leap in the sophistication and functionality of traditional taximeters – to improve the customer experience (as set out in Customers First – Service, Safety, Choice - The final report from the 2011-12 TSC inquiry into the Victorian taxi and hire car industry).
These improvements – which leverage the National Telematics Framework and reference the principles of the Policy Framework for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in Australia – include:
- GPS monitoring, including real-time reporting of vehicle location
- Audio announcements (for the vision impaired)
- Processing Multi Purpose Transport Program (MPTP) fares (the travel needs of members with severe and permanent disabilities are subsidised)
- Supporting different, discounted or flat fares
- Automatically applying a toll amount to the fare.
The Specification is focused on performance-based functional and technical outcomes, allowing fare devices to keep pace with the latest developments in technology – and expectations of customers.
The Specification was released by the TSC and TCA for consultation during 2015, together with a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS).
The Specification forms part of a wider regulatory review currently underway, which aims to significantly reduce regulatory burden for the industry while retaining public safety and consumer protections.
A RIS on the proposed draft regulations was released during May 2016.
The RIS makes reference to the Fare Device Functional and Technical Specification, and the public consultation which was performed by TCA and the TSC during 2015.
An enabler for national consistency
The Specification can be used by other taxi and hire car regulators throughout Australia, providing a way forward to deliver greater consistency and harmonisation in functional and technical requirements.
Managing technology disruption
With a focus on performance-based functional and technical outcomes, the Specification has been intentionally developed to accommodate the growing use of smartphone ride-sharing apps, making it the first specification of its kind anywhere in the world.