Uber becoming a fully-fledged “legal” service in every state across Australia is realistically only a matter of when, now.
Not if. When.
With the NSW and ACT Governments already giving the wildly popular ride-sharing app the official green light, the push now to find a legislative compromise in Victoria – the only state to have thus far made a legal ruling against the company’s current operating model – is on.
Whilst it’s likely that the model that will eventually be successful in the state will at least be close to the one passed in NSW – offering compensation to cab plate holders for the sudden devaluation of their Government investments – at the moment, Uber appears to be playing hardball.
The Herald Sun today reports that the current proposal put forth by Uber would see drivers pay just $150 per year in licensing fees, and would see tighter screening processes adopted, and standard Taxi Services Commission regulation.
The drivers themselves would have to foot the bill for the licenses, with the company themselves declaring their total unwillingness to pay.
The bid contains promises of creating 5,000 new jobs – on top of the 6,500 drivers the company already boasts in the state – and takes some white hot stabs at the conduct of the Taxi Industry, writing off its safety record as “deplorable,” and lambasting it for using threats and strongarm tactics to derail debate on the issue.
Uber’s business model also maintains its stance of exclusively using their app for all bookings – displaying zero interest in obtaining business through street hailing or cab ranks – and using a strict card-only, cashless payment system.
The $150 annual fee is a far cry from the $22,700 fee the Government charges for taxi plate leases on an annual basis.
Uber continues to be steadfast in its opinion that it should not be subject to identical regulation as Taxis, and made its feelings on the matter abundantly clear.
“The argument that ride-sharing should be regulated the same as a taxi because they both transport people is as ridiculous as arguing that the rules of Australian rules football should be applied to the NRL because they are both ball games.”
The over-regulated taxi industry gets their plates from the Government – and not solely from the free market – which has lead to this whole kerfuffle.
Progress, however, waits for no one. And even Government regulators, at their core, know the proper mantra: Adapt, or die.
Photo: Martin Ollman/Getty Images.
Source: Herald Sun.