Security cameras and GPS tracking should be mandatory across all taxi and rideshare vehicles across the Victoria State of Australia, says Eastern Metro MP Rod Barton. With reports this week of an unauthorised Uber driver convicted of rape and another man posing as an Uber driver sexually assaulting a passenger, Mr Barton says it’s time to tighten up on safety.
“By opening the doors to welcome an international software company into the commercial passenger vehicle market the Andrew’s Labor Government made it okay to get into a strangers car for a lift home,” says Mr Barton. “We’ve created an unsafe culture that encourages young people especially to get into unmarked vehicles for a cheap ride home.” Rideshare drivers are using photographs of registered and police checked drivers to bypass flimsy selfie verification on these rideshare apps. In September a 27 year old woman was sexually assaulted after jumping into an unmarked car pulling up in Chapel Street which she thought was an Uber. “The onus shouldn’t be on the passenger to run through security checks before getting in a vehicle – these incidents are not the fault of the women involved. This is the fault of these men and a system that provides the opportunity for them to act in this way. “Unmarked cars. Unregistered drivers. Safety systems that can be bypassed. This is touting and its happening too often,” he says. Mr Barton has been calling on the Government to improve safety standards across the commercial passenger vehicle industry, constantly calling for proper safety checks and to end touting. “I want to see proper identification displayed in all commercial passenger vehicles – taxis, rideshare and hire cars – proper road worthy certificates so we know these vehicles are safe, and real commercial vehicle insurance.” Mr Barton says vehicles should have proper markings so they can be easily identified as a commercial passenger vehicle – a printout of a rideshare logo on the dashboard isn’t enough. “We should have fixed security cameras and GPS tracking installed on all vehicles,” he says. Mr Barton will continue to pressure the Government to make these safety measures compulsory across all commercial passenger vehicles. “Safety matters and it saddens me that incidents like this are occurring and we are still debating whether rideshare services in their current form are safe.”