Melbourne transportation system is in a crisis after the country’s taxi driver staged a go-slow on the city’s busiest roads.
There was huge traffic jam along the Tullamarine Freeway to Parliament House as taxis chose to maintain a slow speed of 5km/h.
The strike has been triggered by state government plans to introduce industry reforms that will scrap taxi licenses and regulate Uber – the ride-sharing app.
Drivers have expressed fear that they may not be adequately compensated, reports BBC.
The traditional taxis are charged huge amounts of tax while obtaining a license to drive a passenger involves paying more as well.
In 2015, the licenses were charged USD $210,000 per license – a figure that was reduced to $150,000 in 2016.
In order to ensure a smooth transition into the new industry reforms, the Victoria’s state government has given the car owners an opportunity to sell their first license at A$00,000 and then pay A$50,000 for any other license.
But the taxi drivers fear this offer is not enough and that it will be a financial death to their businesses.
Australia Taxi Strike halts transportation
“It cost me altogether for the three licences more than A$800,000,” said Vasilos Spanos, one of the taxi drivers.
One other driver, Ari Angelopoulos, who owns two taxi licences, reported that the reforms have taken from him over 30 percent of his per day income.
He added that he is ever working hard to feed his two children and family whereas he is the only working person in his family. “I didn’t come to Australia to be a slave,” the visibly angered man told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
According to the Public Transport Minister, the drivers have all the right to demonstrate but he termed the action as an “irresponsible” one.
While speaking to radio station 3AW, the Minister said that instead of the strike bringing people to their course, it is driving them far away.
Uber was launched in 2009 and has grown to bring in over one million drivers operating in over 500 cities in the 80 countries that it serves.
Uber Growth and Controversy
Uber has been experiencing tremendous expansion over time and a set of controversies as well. One of its most recent prospect is to develop a flying car. The speculation was raised much higher when the firm hired Mark Moore – a former NASA flying car engineer.
Engineer Mark has approximately 30 years of experience at NASA, and now he is the director of engineering for aviation at Uber Elevate, reports Hybrid Cars.
But the company has also had a fair share of controversy with a former employee emerging barely a week ago to accuse the company of sexual harassment.
Ms Flower wrote on her blog last week that she was repeatedly sexually harassed by her manager but the firm kept on protecting him.
Flower worked with Uber from November 2015 to December 2016. She outlined the allegations via her blog in which she claimed that the first time she joined, the manager proposed to her for sex. One director also explained that the decline in women at Uber was attributed to the female gender not being “better engineers.”
Uber boss Travis Kalanick said in a statement that “What she describes is abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in.” He added that whoever thinks such a behavior is tolerable will definitely be fired.
Investigation is currently underway to shade more light into the allegations.