A proposed freeze on Sydney taxi fares will mean a pay cut for drivers and ignores soaring prices for LPG, the NSW Taxi Council says.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) proposed a freeze on Sydney taxi fares for 2014/15 in a draft report released on Tuesday.
It also recommended issuing 190 new annual taxi licences.
IPART says cost is the main reason people don’t catch taxis, and the recommendations, if adopted, would make cabs more affordable and easier to find.
But NSW Taxi Council chief executive Roy Wakelin-King said IPART had ignored market realities, such as the 20 per cent hike in LPG.
At the same time, the council released research that shows the industry contributes $1.15 billion each year to the NSW economy, and provides 17,500 full-time equivalent jobs.
Mr Wakelin-King said IPART had dudded the taxi industry, recommending drivers get 3.5 per cent lower wages next year, and “flooding the market” with new licences.
“There is a significant oversupply of taxis for most of the year and those involved in the industry are battling to earn reasonable incomes,” he said.
He said IPART’s recommendations would force people away from the industry, which would be bad for customers.
The report prepared for the taxi council by Deloitte Access Economics found the industry delivered up to $20 million in annual revenue to the NSW government.
IPART had considered lowering fares from July 2014, but decided freezing fares struck a better balance for drivers and the public.
IPART recommends that maximum fares for urban areas including Newcastle, Wollongong, the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast continue to be the same as fares in Sydney.
Submissions on the draft report close on January 31.
IPART provides its final report in February 2014, with Transport for NSW to decide on the number of licences to be released by the end of March.