South Australia may have gotten a head start with trials in 2015, but New South Wales (NSW) is also committing to a driverless car future. Automated cars without drivers could be on NSW roads within five years, the state's minister for transport, Andrew Constance, predicted at a summit on the future of transport in Sydney Monday. "We're going to have driverless cars on our streets, in our suburbs," he told reporters. In his opinion, the South Australian government may have "jumped the gun a little bit" with its initial road tests last year. To support its own rollout of driverless cars, the NSW State Government announced the creation of a Smart Innovation Centre in western Sydney.
The South Australian government has on Thursday approved on-road trials of driverless cars on the state's roads. Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan said companies looking to trial technologies on South Australia's roads will simply have to submit plans of the proposed trial and have sufficient insurances to protect themselves and the public. "These laws have received praise from companies at the forefront of this industry, which is estimated to be worth AU 90 billion dollars within 15 years," Mullighan said. "South Australia is now positioned to become a key player in this emerging industry and by leading the charge, we are opening up countless new opportunities for our businesses and our economy." The introduction of the laws in South Australia comes as officials from the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI) are in the Netherlands taking part in the European Truck Platooning Challenge.
The Victorian government has announced that over the next two years it will be overhauling the commercial passenger industry, leading to the establishment of a single registration system for all commercial passenger vehicles including taxis, hire cars, and ride-booking services such as Uber. The decision by the Victorian government will replace the existing licencing regime, which it believes will mean more flexible fares, drive competition, reduced costs of travel for passengers, and ultimately allow more ride-booking services to hit the road. To minimise the impact the reforms will have on existing taxi and hire car drivers, the state government will make AU 378 million available to provide "fair and reasonable assistance" to existing licence holders. Another AU 75 million will provide targeted support to industry participants experiencing immediate financial hardship, including AU 25 million to improve access for people with a disability to point-to-point transportation, and also see a dedicated commissioner for disability services appointed to the Taxi Services Commission. The reforms will also see all commercial passenger vehicle providers be charged a levy of AU 2 a trip, which the Victorian government claims will be used to fund the transition to the new system, including supporting existing licence holders during the transition.
Even when you're a fully-fledged adult, you sometimes just wish your mum or dad would pick you up from whichever awful party you find yourself at on Saturday night. If a new initiative from Uber goes to plan, you could be in luck. The rideshare company is partnering with Seniors Card NSW, a New South Wales government scheme that aims to support people over the age of 60 in retirement. Announced Tuesday, the deal will give the scheme's more than 1.4 million Senior Card members A 20 off their first Uber ride, but also aims to get them behind the wheel. SEE ALSO: Is it cheaper to commute to work in your own car, a taxi or an Uber?
Taxi drivers in New South Wales will now be compensated by ride-booking passengers, after the state government passed legislation Wednesday night that will see paid drivers collect an additional AU 1 from customers. The AU 1 levy forms part of a compensation scheme for taxi drivers that have been affected by the NSW government's point-to-point transform reform. The compensation and industry adjustment package is valued at AU 250 million including AU 20,000 up-front payments for licence plate holders with up to two licences, and the creation of a hardship panel to assess further compensation claims. Of that, AU 150 million will come from government while the remaining AU 100 million will be paid for by the temporary AU 1 levy. "Nowhere else in the world have we seen such a generous compensation package to assist industry adjustment when it comes to the taxi industry; nowhere else in the world have we made available the capacity for the transport economy to evolve like we're going to see," Transport Minister Andrew Constance told reporters on Thursday.