We needed a rigorous IPART report. We got Survey McSurveyFace

08 February 2018 | NSW Taxi Council

We needed a rigorous IPART report. We got Survey McSurveyFace

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) relied on a survey sent to teenagers in Sydney to make recommendations to release more taxi licences in the bush.

The decision will devastate regional cabs, and the Taxi industry is now reeling at revelations that it has been based on flawed data and a flawed methodology.

NSW Taxi Council CEO, Martin Rogers, said during IPART hearings in Coffs Harbour and Dubbo, it became evident this decision was based on flawed data collection and reporting.

“It has become clear that the recommendations made in IPART’s draft report into the taxi fares, and licences from July 2018, were not based on rigorous or robust research,” he said.

“If you read through the results of the survey, it specifically says that where the response drops below the threshold of 30 respondents, results should be interpreted with caution only.

Note that throughout the report where sample sizes drop below a minimum threshold of n=30 for any subsample, these results are shown in grey or semi-transparent form. These results should be interpreted with caution as being indicative only.

“Roughly 95 per cent of the responses from country NSW fall into this ‘under 30’ respondents category, and yet it’s the basis for a decision that devastate regional cabs.

“Further, because only an online survey was conducted, the age bracket of a majority of the responses were people aged 16-29 years old.

“We needed a decision on country taxi licenses based on robust, rigorous data collection, but what we got was Survey McSurveyFace, with a huge margin of error, based on an online poll of largely Sydney-based, high schoolers and undergrads.”

To put it in to perspective, a margin of error for 50 respondents is plus or minus 14%, at 95% certainty.

“IPART says these results should be treated with caution. We say they should be rejected. And they will be recommending to transport to turn it into policy! It’s just mad,” Mr Rogers said.

“The research the report was based on, does not reflect the true environment of the taxi industry in regional New South Wales, regional views, or community views.

“The report needs to be considerably re-written or abandoned, and the Government needs to hire a research company that has a much broader cross-section of respondents.”

Mr Rogers said that IPART had recognised inefficiencies in their methods and extended the taxi industry one week to provide more reliable and accurate data.

“I have written to IPART to request more time to provide more data,” he said.

“This report makes recommendations on country cabs that will affect the livelihoods of our drivers and operators in the bush, with virtually no input from customers of country cabs.

“We need the policy to be stopped, but first and foremost, we need time to provide IPART with the actual facts.”

Media Contact: Larissa Mallinson – 0422 044 061 or communications@nswtaxi.org.au