Hold The Phone! Mike Baird Says Reports About Uber Have Jumped The Gun

An illustration picture shows the logo of car-sharing service app Uber on a smartphone next to the picture of an official German taxi sign in Frankfurt, September 15, 2014. A Frankfurt high court will hold a hearing on a recent lawsuit brought against Uberpop by Taxi Deutschland on Tuesday.  San Francisco-based Uber, which allows users to summon taxi-like services on their smartphones, offers two main services, Uber, its classic low-cost, limousine pick-up service, and Uberpop, a newer ride-sharing service, which connects private drivers to passengers - an established practice in Germany that nonetheless operates in a legal grey area of rules governing commercial transportation. The company has faced regulatory scrutiny and court injunctions from its early days, even as it has expanded rapidly into roughly 150 cities around the world.   REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT CRIME LAW TRANSPORT)
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Premier Mike Baird has shut down reports the NSW government will legalise ride-sharing app Uber during an interview with 2UE.

Baird said the media frenzy, including B&T, suggesting the Government would legalise Uber as well as dropping the cost of a taxi license are false.

“That [article] has jumped the gun, no doubt about it. The report will go before the Cabinet in due time, and when that happens we’ll have more to say about it.”

 “What you need to understand is the taxi industry is effectively 6,000 small businesses, they have bought into this industry on the basis of significant upfront investment,” Baird said.

“So it is a challenge when new technology like this comes along – often many have put their whole life savings into it.”

NSW Taxi Council chief executive Roy Wakelin-King told the ABC: “My members are keen to find out what the story is, we’re really wanting to see what the detail is here.

“If there are big changes and those changes have a negative impact on our members – people who have done the right thing over many years and invested in taxi plates – there should be some form of adjustment.”

Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director at Cabcharge, Andrew Skelton said: “We are pleased that the Minister recognises the need for regulatory change to support the ongoing evolution and competitiveness of the taxi industry. However, whilst we support the principles we believe that the NSW Government must take this opportunity to get the policy detail right.

“If the NSW Government fails to adequately regulate ridesharing services, they will operate at lower costs by avoiding necessary safeguards. This is simply not fair for the drivers and operators who play by the rules. We are calling for the costs to be the same across the board.”

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