Melbourne taxi drivers just can’t come to terms with Uber: Blockade on Bolte Bridge

Right across Australia State governments have been updating their passenger transport regulations to allow for new and innovative services like Uber.  Victoria is one such state, having made the decision to essentially legalise Uber in August last year.  However taxi drivers are still not happy, this morning conducting a rolling protest blocking Melbourne’s peak hour traffic.

Channel 7 News Facebook live stream

Now I’m no expert, but there’s certainly a good way to get TV news coverage for your concern: disrupt the general public.  At the same time, there’s a great way to annoy the general public: disrupt the general public.

Taxi drivers and more specifically the licence plate owners are upset by the governments planned compensation, the argument being these licence plate owners paid big dollars and in many cases feel their licence place is their superannuation investment.

I feel desperately for those who have these investments, but I think with hindsight placing all your investment into one item like this is poor financial planning.

Drivers today took to the major highways in Melbourne, slowing traffic to a crawl before moving into the city and driving at 5km an hour through the city.

One comment on the Channel 7 Facebook live stream of the protest blockade stood out to me today:

I don’t remember Video store owners protesting streaming services?

Tough one for the cabbies, who in many cases are not the affected owners.  Worse if the Police actually cracked down on them this morning – you know, driving slow is actually an offence?

Here it is:

Unreasonably obstructing drivers or pedestrians

A driver must not unreasonably obstruct the path of another driver or a pedestrian.

  • Penalty:     2 penalty units.



Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.

He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.

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  1. Wayne

    February 14, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Another uneducated fool who comments on something they do not understand.It has nothing to do with Uber it is about the Government cancelling taxi licences and refusing to pay compensation.But it is pointless trying to explain this to people like you.Why don’t you just stick to computers?

    • Trevor Long

      February 15, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      Hahaha.. Sure Wayne, completely unrelated to Uber.. Completely. Good luck living under that rock mate!


    February 14, 2017 at 11:52 am

    The fight is not with Uber. Get your facts right before writing. Video stores didn’t really have to buy licences for half a million for each plate or store. You think selling plates for half a million and scratching them off in 2 years is market change? Its cheating mate.

    Don’t wrote if you don’t know the whole story. If it’s just 20 grand for a car nobody would have cared. It’s half a million. It’s life long hard earned money for some people.

    • Trevor Long

      February 15, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      Yeah, no. I’ll write what I want to write. Video stores didn’t have to pay licences, but I bet you’ll find people who lost their homes because they lost their businesses. Same thing.

  3. John candido

    February 14, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    The taxi industry has conducted a long campaign of emails, letter writing, lobbying of any politicians who will see and talk to us, presenting a petition to the Victorian government, letters to the Editor of newspapers, contacting the media and we have consulted our lawyers for the possibility of taking the Taxi Services Commission or any other relevant party to court.

    We have exhausted all constructive means of presenting our case for a proper and just settlement in exchange for state government to stealing our perpetual Taxi Licences.

    We have our backs to the wall and have been placed into a corner by both sides of politics in Victoria, in a conflict that was not of our choosing!

    It is with regret that we have been involved in acts of non-violent disruption, to the Bolte Bridge, which is a very important part of Melbourne’s transport infrastructure and is also known as CityLink, that occurred yesterday, during Monday morning’s peak hour yesterday.

    As the Victorian Premier, the Honourable Daniel Andrews and the Victorian Transport Minister, the Honourable Jacinta Allan, do not want to see us or talk to us about our concerns, we are left with no other alternative but to commit to a planned, non-violent act of disruption, with the complete cooperation of Victoria police and the complete cooperation of Transurban, the administrators of CityLink.

    CityLink displayed electronic signs along the length of both sides of CityLink, telling commuters to avoid the area as Taxis were involved in disruption on CityLink.

    The Victoria police have escorted and marshalled the disruption to the Bolte bridge, the entire disruption was conducted with the police’s foreknowledge and cooperation. No one was fined for going slow.

    Our campaign of emails, letter writing, lobbying of any politicians who will talk with us, will continue into the foreseeable future, as it is an important way of effectively communicating our concerns to everyone.

    We have already apologised to members of the Victorian public ahead of the planned disruption of the Bolte bridge on Monday morning, and completely acknowledge that you are the innocent parties in this dispute with the Andrews Labor government.

    We sincerely and respectfully apologise to all users of CityLink yesterday morning as they were inconvenienced either on the way to work, or if you are a truck driver making deliveries, your movements were disrupted through no fault of yours.

    We also apologise to Transurban for this non-violent disruption on CityLink yesterday morning and are extremely grateful for their extraordinary cooperation and understanding in our campaign to ask for a just and fair settlement, in exchange for our ownership of our perpetual Taxi Licences.

    We asked everyone to do all that they could, to alter their normal method of going to work or making deliveries tomorrow morning, and please allow yourself sufficient time to plan and use alternative routes.

    At no stage was there no access to the emergency lane on CityLink in the case of a road accident or some other urgent need arising, requiring the attendance of any emergency service personnel and all of their vehicles and any of their equipment.

    We were given strict instructions by Victoria police not to block the whole of CityLink, or to park our taxis on any part of CityLink. We were given permission by Victoria police to drive very slowly, as part of our disruptive action.

    Whatever harm or inconvenience that all parties mentioned above, suffered as a result of our planned disruption to CityLink yesterday morning, we make an unreserved and sincere apology for them and seek your understanding. We completely recognise that this issue is not of your making.

    • Trevor Long

      February 15, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      Glad to know you had the pre-approval of police to drive slow – that’s the right thing to do.

      Really don’t think it helped for a second with your cause. I’m sorry that people are losing their savings or investments in plates, but it’s a losing battle.

      A better battle would be to stand up as an industry and clean up, and provide across the board consistently great service.

      Poor service on Uber is not rewarded, drivers lose priority and lose their ability to work for uber if they can’t maintain a good standard.

      I do not think it’s too late though, the Taxi industry is HUGE and if done right could fight back. But I don’t see that happening, I see a fight, but not a fight back. Very different outcomes.

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