Insights on the Australian Taxi Industry

Victoria has 5250 taxi licences and the value of each licence is about $480,000. Interestingly, just about 8 businesses own anything in excess of 10 licences. Some of the large players in this sector include:

According to THE AGE, Gange Corporation who also own Silver Top Taxis, Cabcharge which owns 13 Cabs, the Granger family that is linked to 13 Cabs and Silver Top, John Vlassopoulos, the owner of Ambassador Taxi, Shehata family which owns ECM Taxi Brokers, Jim Dendrinos, who owns Bayside Taxis, Philip Humphreys who has links with Murrell Enterprises that dominate the taxi industry of Geelong as well as with Silver Top.

Around these giants, there are several hundred smaller players owning anything between 1 and 10 licences. Some of these small players are also owner-drivers who take to the road every day to earn a livelihood. Some licences also serve as an investment for smaller collectives with no effective involvement at all in the taxi industry.

There are about 15,000 active taxi drivers clocking about 35 million trips every year. The Gange family holds about 118 licences and are also owners of Silver Top which has a network of some 2000 taxis. The big and small players together are caught in the storm of reforms triggered by the entry of ride-share companies and are desperately fighting some rearguard action. The Gange corporation which is by far the largest, rakes in about $7,000 as the fee for network affiliation from nearly every cab that is in operation in Melbourne.

Cabcharge which also owns 13 Cabs has 24 taxi licences in its pocket in the name of Black Cabs and six more under the name of Arrow Taxi services. Cabcharge also has links with the Granger family which is a veteran player in the Australian taxi industry with 24 licenses under its belt.

The names we discussed so far also represent the old guard in the Victorian taxi industry. Newer entrants including Taxi Maxi have also managed to amass a large number of licenses. John Vlassopoulos is the owner of 31 taxi licences and Ambassador taxi brokerage apart from a driver training school in the northern part of Melbourne.

18 licenses stand in the name of Jim Dendrinos of Bayside taxis and another 18 licenses are owned by Shehata family.

In the wake of the disruptions caused by the entry of ride-share companies, an enquiry headed by Professor Allan Fels was ordered and his recommendations have far-reaching repercussions for the taxi industry.Among the highlights of his recommendations is the call to do away with all the restrictions on the number of licences and bring down the price of each licence to no more than $20,000 over a 5-year time frame. The professor has opined that this would help in freeing up the stranglehold of the licence holders over the industry and bring more cabs on to the street.

At present licences can be issued only by the state government which uses “public interest” as the yardstick. The enquiry is of the view that the restrictions on licensing have only helped in pushing up the licence value to unreasonable levels making them virtual cash cows for investors whose concern for driver welfare or service quality are questionable

A spokesperson for the Victorian taxi association insists that interests of the licence holders are not on top of its agenda an adding value to the licences was not the role of the association

Notwithstanding all the protests from industry stalwarts, the value of licenses has been falling like the proverbial nine pins. With much of the recommendations having been already implemented and more expected towards the turn of the year, the Victorian taxi industry is now staring at a situation where it cannot enjoy a monopoly or dictate terms to the harried customer. But then, the reforms would also potentially hurt smaller players and some of them could be heading towards serious financial hardship.

Was this disruption avoidable perhaps?

From semi-literate peasants to great humans who have scaled the pinnacle of academic success are aware that digital technology has severely impacted the way we live. Businesses are getting more and more conscious of this paradigm shift and struggling to tune in to the changing times. Perhaps, never before did the world witness such customer-centric focus putting so much of power in the hands of the individual who is finally contributing to the bottom line of the business. Ride-share is not a singular instance of technology crushing monopolies and mercilessly pulling the rug from under the feet of those of who enjoyed the fruits of monopoly for long. Monopolies invariably work to the disadvantage of the customer, and once the customer has an option to exit the clutches of the monopoly, the consequences for the monopoly holder can be disastrous.

Uber is now 5 years old and the Australian taxi industry woke up only about a year ago. Wasn’t that a bit too late? There were many lessons to be learned from the way ride-sharing was being accepted by customers elsewhere. Many factors that gained such a quick customer acceptance could have been copied by the Australian taxi industry, and undoubtedly the government too should have made significant contributions in revamping the sector to a degree where new entrants could potentially have scrambled for space. But, like in many other markets, these companies literally walked away with an instant customer base and it took only weeks before there was an avalanche of devout customers, to the significant detriment of traditional Australian taxi industry.

Ride-sharing companies, lead perhaps by Uber, have beneficially influenced supply as well as demand and in the coming days, similar technologies can potentially other segments of the industry, and particularly those that are significantly less focused on the most important ingredient of any business – the customer. Yet, Uber by itself is not a story of runaway success. It has and is experiencing its share of trials and tribulations and what is important is the way these companies are able to weather the storm and carry on unfazed.

Considerations before buying Spray painting booths

inside view of factory

Modern manufacturing has gained significantly from spray booths that help in cost –effective productivity. These are designed to cater to nearly all manufactured items from tiny plastic components to large assembly lines and semi trucks as well as intricate furniture. Apart from streamlining production, the spray booths also ensure the critical safety of the workers and the environment surrounding the workspace, controlling contamination, spill over of hazardous material and several other related health issues

Classifications

car doors

There are three distinct configurations in spray booths, each of them engineered to address specific applications. Open faced booths with two side walls and a back wall and a ceiling to provide exhaust is the popular variant for woodworking, furniture finishing and an array of small components. The next variant is non-pressurised booths that are fully closed with a single or multiple doors to accommodate different sizes of material requiring finishing, and it is used in automotive refinishing, metal work, fibreglass and a range of similar industries. The third classification is pressurised booths similar to the non-pressurized booths in size and shape. However, this variant adjusts the volume of air inside the booth making it marginally more positive. This variant finds application in automotive manufacturing as well as refinishing sectors, electronics and similar components that need a clean environment.

man operating chemicals with care
A major advantage with spray booths is that it minimises risks for the workforce from exposure to primers, thinners, biocides, base coats, varnishes, adhesives, solvent-based colourants, and similar material employed in the process of painting. More importantly, these booths also significantly reduce possibilities of the explosion which is a major concern for processes relying on various chemicals. Further, all these advantages are accompanied by prevention of airborne particles and debris from interfering with the work area and potentially impacting pristine finish.

Buying spray booths

Major considerations while buying spray booths include air quality, finish type, usage, sizing and price. Even at the lower end, a spray booth calls for significant investment. Therefore, some people are tempted to look at buying used equipment. But, it is necessary to remember that buying used machinery and buying a used spray both are not the same. This is because of some of the DIY hazards that come with used spray booths. Most of the used equipment that comes to the market has been in use for a fair length of time. On the contrary, a new spray booth such as the ones available at Plaza Water Treatment Services comes with manufacturer’s warranty, documentation and permit compliance. Remember also that in the absence of documentation, obtaining permits could pose significant hurdles for you.

Challenges with used booths

Spray booths are made out of thin metal panels, and when you consider the electrical wiring, mechanical components and exhaust vents in used booths, you will need and qualified and experienced professional to set up a used booth. If some of the components are damaged in transit, the chances are that you would never be able to use the entire booth.

Solar panel: Solar panel road to for street lights! Really?

Solar energy is an important renewable energy source having immense benefits to the environment. Solar panels are used to transform solar heat into solar electricity. Complementary to the fossil fuels that we consume daily, solar energy is safe and clean and does not emit harmful pollutants which cause a greenhouse effect. As the energy evolution is becoming a certainty, envision if a road can produce solar energy?

Solar panel roads are an engineered system that can be used for walking or driving all types of vehicle. Each solar panel is approximately of 12’ by 12’ size. They connect with the neighbouring panels to make the system communicate and control. Solar panel help transforms solar heat into solar electricity which can replace our current deteriorating power distribution infrastructure. Solar panel also uses LED lights replacing paints to mark lines and warning symbols. The solar roadway panel is built up of tempered glass which can easily manage the weight of heavy vehicles. The glass is textured to create proper grip for vehicles and pedestrians. The hexagonal panel adds to the attractiveness of these roads as compared to traditional tar roads. The panels also contain a heating element to avoid snow accumulation.  The microprocessors inherited inside panels work smartly to communicate and control system. Thus, it is possible to build a smart road which can reduce the greenhouse effect by approximately 75% and efficiently using the solar energy which is not being utilised till now.

There are many long lasting benefits of using solar technology, and the vision of using a solar panel, as said on Euro Solar Group website, is to have a win-win situation for the environment and to protect the fossil fuels from getting depleted. Its added benefit offer modern infrastructure and self-healing power grid.

Solar panel electricity production majorly depends on three things: panel size, the efficiency of solar cells and the quantity of sunlight hitting straight on the panel. Secondary factors affecting its production are a direction of a rooftop, roof that is having least shade, a period of the year, time of day and other climatic factors. Solar panels produce DC energy. But AC energy is currently being used in residential and commercial spaces. Thus by converting the AC energy to DC energy, it would give more benefits to the consumers regarding minimum power loss and maximum savings. Solar panel roads will provide benefits to the area connected through these roads such as driveways, sidewalks, shopping centres, playgrounds, and much more. To maintain the efficiency of solar panels, they need to be cleaned and maintained properly to avail the maximum benefit. A usual solar panel produces roughly 200 watts of electricity depending on its panel size and effectiveness. Thus the number of panels installed can be multiplied with the electricity produced to get the correct efficiency of a solar panel.

Solar PanelThe pros of using a solar panel are as follows:

  • Major source of renewable energy
  • Longer life span as compared to the traditional asphalt roads
  • Sunlight not utilised until now can be used to produce solar electricity which can be distributed among residential and commercial spaces through their driveways and parking area
  • Solar panels have inbuilt feature of heating which is used to melt snow ensuring that the roads are not blocked and surface is not slippery due to snow
  • LED lights in the panel help light up the roads to avoid any mishap and reduce the maintenance cost of marking signage
  • Inbuilt sensors in the panel can help light up the driveway to alert about another car coming or to protect any animal which has come its way
  • Help reduce greenhouse effect
  • Unlike traditional roads, solar panel roads are more long-lasting and resilient
  • Inbuilt feature to recharge the electric cars while in motion or in parking

The cons of using a solar panel are as follows:

  • Major hurdle in its way is the start-up cost and its maintenance cost which will be quiet high in initial phase
  • Under developing, nations cannot afford these panels because of its high cost
  • It will take a long term to reach the break even ratio
  • Durability of solar panel roads is a matter of concern
  • Tempered glass of solar panels can cause viability issues

Solar PanelThus, to conclude whether solar panel roads will be successful or not, the answer is that in the long term it would be an effective solution against electricity needs. More and more transition is coming in ways to use renewable energy in areas like an electric car, solar lights, solar appliances and much more. The sun light which is not utilised till now can become the most important source of energy. Though the initial cost is extremely high, it will be a viable option in the long term with significant benefits. Additionally, the hurdles that can come in the way of using solar panel roads needs to be dealt with proper process and making it cost effective so that even the developing nations can take benefit of the same.

Thus, if solar panel road technique is successfully implemented many changes can be expected in the long term. As the parking areas, sidewalks, and similar areas supply power to residential and commercial complexes in nearby areas; minimum energy has to be transmitted to distant areas, resulting in a minimum loss. The sunlight emitted through the sun now is wasted as people are unaware of its storage process. A virtual grid system can be used to store the solar energy and can be used to charge the panel’s LED lights, or at night or during any environmental disaster when there is less energy produced. The process of burning coal to generate electricity causes damage to the environment, hence lead to greenhouse gases and changes in climate. Thus, adoption of solar panels will reduce the greenhouse effects and dependence on fossil energy. Additionally, as the economy is moving towards the electronic era, the implication of solar panel will help charge the electric vehicles anywhere.

As every coin has two sides, there are pros and cons of using solar panel roads, but it is highly suggested to adopt this system which will have great benefits in the long run. Visit the Facebook page for Euro Solar Group to get the latest news on the Austarlian Solar industry.