Uber Set To Be Legalised In NSW, Cabcharge Responds

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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The war between Sydney taxis and Uber might be over with reforms set to be announced by NSW Transport Minister today which would legalise ride-sharing app Uber in NSW.

Under the proposal, similar to the legislation introduced in the ACT, Uber drivers will be required to undergo a police check as well as pay a licence fee.

Uber drivers will be required to undergo safety checks more frequently than regular vehicles. The cost of an Uber will increase slightly.

Taxis will retain the right to ‘rank and hail services’ and existing taxi owners will be offered compensation for losing exclusive control of the market.

Taxi industry Cabcharge has released a statement about the proposal and the importance of regulation in allowing for a competitive market. 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.

“When a passenger gets into a vehicle, they are entrusting the driver with their safety. It is absolutely vital that we have a sound set of rules that can be applied and enforced for the safety of all passengers taking personal transport.

“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,” said Skelton.

“It’s unreasonable for the local industry to be penalised when a US multi-national enters, and chooses to service only the most lucrative part of the market. We pride ourselves on the fact that our taxi networks offer good access to the whole community rather than cherry-pick the most profitable work.

“The argument that ridesharing has created a ‘new market’ is nonsense. Ridesharing drivers pick up passengers who would otherwise have taken a taxi. Every passenger deserves the same duty of care.”

B&T has contacted Uber for comment.

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