Electric vehicle drivers using their vehicles for on-demand transport services such as Uber will be exempt from a buy-back levy that the Western Australian government is considering imposing on taxi and rideshare fares to fund a taxi plate “buy back” scheme.
With numerous rideshare services gaining increasing popularity across Australia – India’s Ola and Chinese DiDi have both launched in Australia this year in a challenge to Uber’s dominance in the market – WA is looking to address the transition by converting existing taxi plates to on-demand vehicle authorisations.
As part of the bill, the state government will offer to buy back metropolitan taxi plates in a four year scheme that could cost taxpayers up to $120 million which the government intends to recover via a 10 per cent levy on all on-demand trips made within the state.
However, following an amendment submitted by Greens member for East Metro Tim Clifford that was accepted by the Labor government, all such trips taken in all-electric vehicles will be exempt from such a levy.
Western Australians have outdone the rest of the country in embracing ridesharing, with an increase in opting for on-demand rides rising nearly 25% in 2017 compared to 2015 figures, according to a report by Roy Morgan.
Of those, it is understood that only a few are electric – which is why the WA government was happy to accept the amendment.
A spokesperson for Transport Minister Rita Saffioti told WA Today: “The Greens amendment was accepted by the minister because it had no impact on the purpose of the legislation and allowed the bill to achieve bipartisan support.”
In Western Australia, electric cars are very few and far between – only 3 for every 10,000 vehicles on the road, according to WA Today. But this is expected to increase by up to 20% of all vehicles by 2028 if uptake is high, as the AEMO has forecasted.
If even half of this were applied to the rideshare industry – which certainly is made more possible with exemption of the buy back levy- the positive impact on the environment would be substantial, says Clifford.
“For an average car, not a taxi with its increased kilometres, this alone would save around 530 tons of CO2 per year,” Clifford told WA Today.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.