World First: ACT Set To Legalise UberX

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 ACT will become the first Australia government to legalise ride sharing app Uber from October 30, this proposal make Canberra the first national capital in the world to legalise the ride sharing app.

Uber currently doesn’t operate in the ACT, but is preparing to enter a much friendlier market. The NSW government is currently cracking down on UberX drivers, issuing 40 UberX drivers vehicle suspensions with penalties ranging $637 to $2,200 for driving on NSW roads.

The ACT is welcoming UberX with open arms, chief minister Andrew Barr said in a press release:

“These reforms champion innovation and help taxi and hire car services remain sustainable and important modes of travel in the territory.

“Canberra’s taxi drivers will have access to multiple modes of business, from traditional rank-and-hail work to ride sharing and third-party taxi booking apps.

“This will increase productivity and income streams for drivers while providing a consistent and high-quality on-demand transport service for Canberrans.”

UberX vehicles in the ACT must pass safety checks and be fully insured, drivers will have to be registered with criminal records and driving histories noted. A UberX driver will have to pay a $50 application fee, $65 for a vehicle inspection, and $45 for a police check.

“The ACT Government recognises that new business models may put pressure on Canberra’s existing taxi drivers and owners,” said Barr.

“That’s why from 30 October, the Government will reduce costs for drivers and owners of taxis, halving taxi license lease fees in 2016 and halving them again in 2017.

“Annual license fees for hire cars will also be significantly reduced.”

B&T has contacted Combined Communications Network (CCN), the largest taxi booking and dispatch service provider in Australia, for comment.

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