ACT regulators cut deal, but still an Uber fight elsewhere

Regulators in the ACT have cut a deal with Uber to allow the taxi disrupter to set up in the territory. Other jurisdictions are fining drivers and fighting the start-up at every turn.

While the state governments in Queensland and New South Wales seem to be hell-bent on fighting ride-sharing app Uber’s “disruption” of the taxi industry, the ACT government has attempted to get ahead of the looming battle between Uber and the taxi industry before the app’s launch in Canberra at the end of October.

The arrival of Uber – and its low-cost taxi-alternative UberX, which allows registered drivers to use their own cars to take passengers to their destinations – has upset the established taxi community in every jurisdiction it has launched in. Its arrival in each new city has been met with strong lobbying and protests from taxi drivers, who believe they are being undercut because the same rules and regulations that have applied to them are not being applied to Uber.

“The Queensland government has also been issuing drivers with fines of up to $1707 …”

State governments have responded, in most instances, through fines, or by establishing long-running investigations into how to deal with the service. The NSW Department of Roads and Maritime Services this week announced that it had issued 40 suspension notices to vehicle owners operating ride-sharing services in breach of NSW passenger transport laws. These three-month suspensions mean Uber drivers will face penalties of $637 each time they are caught driving in the three-month period. In the meantime, the NSW government has created a taskforce looking at how to tackle Uber’s arrival.

The Queensland government has also been issuing drivers with fines of up to $1707 for running a taxi service without a licence. Reportedly, as of the end of June, the Queensland government had issued over $1.7 million in fines, all said to have been covered by Uber itself.

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