The West

Deregulated taxis on agenda for RAC review
Under review: WA's taxi industry. Picture: Steve Ferrier/The West Australian

Former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Allan Fels will head an RAC-commissioned review of WA's taxi industry.

The inquiry will focus on the efficiency and affordability of Perth's taxis.

It comes with sections of the industry in disarray after the arrival in Perth of the Google-backed taxi service Uber and recent comments by Transport Minister Dean Nalder that taxi deregulation was "probably inevitable".

Professor Fels will conduct the review with Monash University economist David Cousins.

The pair did a similar review for the Victorian Government in 2012 and recommended the partial deregulation of the industry, a "knowledge exam" for inexperienced drivers and a new fare structure.

RAC executive general manager Patrick Walker said the RAC commissioned the review to "inform our advocacy priorities" and ensure that members "have access to better transport options".

Mr Walker said initial discussions had already taken place with the State Government and key representatives from the transport industry.

The review is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

In his Victorian report, Professor Fels ruled out the full deregulation of the industry because the value of existing taxi plates would "fall to zero" and "any person could obtain a taxi licence".

Instead, he proposed a partial deregulation under which "any quality person" would be able to rent the plates.

"It's time we had an industry that puts the public first and not last, that ceases to be a closed, anticompetitive shop that is regulated with the interest of the likes of taxi networks, Cabcharge and licence holders - 80 per cent of whom have never driven a cab," Professor Fels said when he released his Victorian report in late 2012.

The West Australian

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