Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Abuses of the Taxi Radio System

10e. The Abuses of the Taxi Radio System.

Originally the two way radios were introduced to benefit the drivers and the general public by making communication, pick-ups, etc. easier. The "Code of Conduct" changed the whole nature of radio operations and the relationship between drivers and the Networks. The radio Networks have become a pivotal mechanism for theindustry "heavies" controlling all aspects of the bailor- bailee relationship. So much so that Professor N.E. Palmer, a world authority on bailment law, described this and other aspects of the1990 legislation, it was a case where the bailor exercised "continuous detailed and dominant control" over the bailee and changed the employment relationship into one of employer-employee. [018]

Today the radio system can and is utilised to discipline drivers who don't toe the line (i.e. harassment). Drivers can be victimised by not being "paid" rank preference or location preference when bidding on jobs. Drivers can be punished by- being sent to non-existing jobs at false addresses. The Executive Director of the DOT Rod Gilmour's in correspondence dated 23 August 1993 [012] argued " Legislation also requires taxi drivers to utilise the radio units installed in their taxis in accordance with procedures laid down by the networks and their published rules." This raises the old slogan "No Taxation Without Representation" because bailee/non-owner taxi drivers are required to conform to the taxi radio network rules without any say whatsoever. Drivers have no legal redress over arbitrary and unfair suspensions imposed on them or any other disputes between themselves and the radio room. The judicial committees reviewing disputes are neither qualified nor impartial.

Favouritism over the allocation of radio hirings goes unchallenged. Radio operators can ring their mates on mobile phones and encourage them to make bodgie bookings through the normal radio booking service in order to advance their queue position when the operator tips them off of a pending lucrative hire. It is a common practice for taxi networks to preserve the most lucrative radio hires legally (?) for either specialist drivers e.g. handicapped vehicles, "ExecutiveFleets", "Silver Top" cabs, "First Choice Drivers" "Premier Gold"hire cars or even unlicensed family members or illegally through unauthorised private arrangements over mobile phones, pager systems,etc. In short it is a breakdown of the universality of standards within the service.

Even the Dept. tolerated immature surveys where driver response times were measured by way of directing numerous drivers to the same false locations as a crude means of measuring response times (private consultants employed under Baird's administration used this method of survey with the full co-operation of the radio networks and the DOT to the financial disadvantage of drivers who were deliberately sent on wild goose chases across town to nonexistent work). Because of the fixed pay-in system the owners were still guaranteed their income so there is no incentive for the radio networks to desist in wasting drivers time with either the prompt calling of legitimate jobs or the refraining from calling fake jobs.

Source: Sydney Taxi Corruption

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