REJOICE, RIDESHARE ENTHUSIASTS.
The Baird Government has officially moved to legalise Uber in New South Wales – effective immediately – after the state cabinet agreed to give the service the green light.
NSW now becomes the second state/territory government to okay the wildly popular service, following in the footsteps of the ACT.
The decision today finalises deliberations by legislators and ends the on-going stoush between Uber and Taxi services in NSW.
Under the ruling, taxis will still have exclusive rights to cab ranks, and to pick people up off the street, as well as exclusive access to Sydney Airport pickup ranks.
The ruling will also see taxi plate owners compensated for the sudden devaluing of their investments, with around 5,800 plate owners now eligible for payouts of 20,000. Those who only recently bought plates will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and will potentially be eligible for compensation on a scaled basis.
The decision also means that Uber drivers in the state will have to pay a license fee, and be subjected to a criminal background check. Their vehicles will also have to be regularly checked for safety.
The decision in NSW follows on from the ongoing legal issues surrounding the service in other states. The Victorian Court System effectively ruled the service illegal in the state, after driver Nathan Brenner was found guilty of operating as a commercial driver without proper accreditation.
However, Uber continues to operate within Victoria – the court’s decision serving more as a legislative impetus for the Victorian State Government to draft similar regulation to NSW, rather than as a legal precedent that would prevent the company from operating in the state.
But for now, users in NSW are free to hail UberX to their heart’s content.
UPDATE: NSW Premier Mike Baird has taken to Facebook to explain the issues surrounding the legalisation of Uber, and how his Government has today reached a compromise that benefits both the ridesharing industry, and the pre-existing Taxi services.
Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images.
Source: The Daily Telegraph.