Drivers Demand a Cap on Driver Authorities

#MakeRideshareSafe #CapDrivers

This week the Rideshare Drivers in Cooperation Queensland have started their campaign advocating that Transport Minister Mark Bailey make rideshare safe by capping and regulating driver authorities immediately. RDCQ members have been unanimous in their support for this change. Unless licences are capped, rideshare and taxi driving will become an increasingly unsafe industry because drivers will continue to be forced to work longer hours in order to earn enough to survive. 

This is not only a problem in the way it creates an oversupply of drivers and consequently insufficient work to survive as a taxi or rideshare driver. The uncapped supply of drivers is also creating a huge public safety and amenity problem across the streets of towns and cities across Queensland. Our roads are being increasingly clogged with ever more overworked drivers who are at high risk of fatigue because of the hours they are under pressure to work just to make ends meet. This congestion of our roads is causing slower commute times which affect the entire community and without action will continue growing as a major safety problem.

At all of the RDCQ meetings and across various driver facebook groups drivers have consistently made clear that the uncapped number of drivers using rideshare platforms is the most urgent problem that needs addressing. It is also an issue that both rideshare and taxi drivers share a common concern about. Both rideshare drivers and taxi drivers both require the same type of drivers authority that remains uncapped by the Department of Transport and Main Roads. Taxi drivers have unfortunately often directed their frustration about the illegal actions of rideshare platforms and the government’s lack of regulation, enforcement and taxi licence owner compensation towards rideshare drivers. This has been understandable but disappointing as rideshare drivers are often former taxi drivers and are all workers just like taxi drivers who at the end of the day are just trying to earn a living. This campaign represents an opportunity for rideshare drivers and taxi drivers to recognise that they have both been victims of the exploitative and illegal actions of platforms along with the lack of government regulation in response. It is an opportunity for all drivers, taxi and rideshare to stand together as workers and push for a change that will benefit the entire driver community. 

For rideshare drivers, this campaign to get driver authorities capped will be the first of many campaigns the RDCQ will run. Rideshare drivers have been the canaries in the coal mine of the gig economy. They have faced the relentless monopolistic, regulation avoiding and exploitative practices of rideshare platforms who have set out to do nothing but earn a profit.  This has left drivers not only disrespected by the operations of the platforms but economically in extremely precarious financial positions, often barely earning enough to survive. According to the Institute for Future Work Rideshare drivers earn on average between $16 and $14 per hour and are some of the most underpaid workers in the country. The Transport Workers Union (TWU) Queensland have recognised the importance of winning workers rights for rideshare drivers and are supporting RDCQ to campaign and developing a low-cost membership rate for rideshare drivers. Platform capitalism has taken our political system by surprise and our governments who are increasingly overwhelmed by numerous complex problems have been very slow to respond. The solidarity offered by the TWU and the offer to host our launch in the coming months by Maurice and Blackburn Lawyers is the type of support necessary to support the growth of a new labour movement of gig workers to hold our governments to account, demand rights and eventually take ownership of the platforms we work with. 

Join our campaign by signing our petition calling on Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Transport Minister Mark Bailey to cap rideshare and taxi drivers to ensure the safety of our roads and security of adequate work for drivers. In the coming months, we will be holding actions and events where we will welcome your support and solidarity. 

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