UPDATE 23/11, 5:30pm: NSW Premier Mike Baird has commented on this story, saying in a radio interview that Newscorp totally ‘jumped the gun’ by saying Uber will be legalised.
“That [article] has jumped the gun, no doubt about it,” Mr Baird told 2UE.
“The report will go before the Cabinet in due time, and when that happens we’ll have more to say about it.”
Alright guys, it looks like the great taxis vs Uber war of 2015 is one step closer to being over.
The ridesharing service is set to be legalised in NSW as of next month, with The Daily Telegraph reporting that NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance will announce the news today.
It looks like the Baird government is finally accepting that Uber is 100% here to stay, while also trying to keep things as fair as possible. Uber drivers will now be required to pay a license fee, get their cars to undergo safety checks more regularly, and face tighter crackdowns on who can drive UberX (e.g. no one with a criminal record).
Taxis, on the other hand, will still be the only ones allowed to ‘rank and hail’ services (i.e. have a light on for people to hail them down on the street), and taxi owners will be offered compensation for losing exclusive control of the market.
Taxi bodies across Australia have been extremely vocal in their anti-Uber campaign; earlier this year the NSW Taxi Council took out the below billboard that said in no uncertain terms that Uber – or “illegal ridesharing services” – was tantamount to hitch-hiking:
At the time, chief executive Roy Wakelin-King told PEDESTRIAN.TV:
“The the key issue (with ridesharing services) is that illegal ridesharing, without checks for compliance, checks for criminality, checks that you’re a fit and proper person to drive a passenger vehicle is that it’s no different to getting into a car with a complete stranger without any safety systems that the government requires when you’re providing taxi transport services, so in that respect it is no different to hitchhiking.
“That’s what the point of this campaign is about, it’s about raising awareness of illegal taxi transport activity that puts the public at risk where there are no service safety systems in place to support the safety of the passengers, and indeed the drivers for that matter.”
Or, as Gruen host Wil Anderson said, it was “invoking Ivan Milat“. Potato, pot-ah-to.
Image via Uber.