Uber Set To Be Legalised In NSW

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph this morning, the state's war with Uber is set to come to a close — or at least a tentative cease fire — as Transport for NSW begins plans to legalise the service.

Uber is currently operating outside of regulation with services like UberX that allows users to request a car driven by an ordinary citizen, rather than a licensed provider. UberX drivers around the country have been pulled up on massive fines since the service launched, as Uber continues to work with state transport agencies to have it recognised as a legal method of transport.

This morning's report says that Uber will be legalised in NSW next month. Uber drivers will be forced to pay a fee to operate their service under the new plan, while taxis will retain the exclusive right to use cab ranks around the state.

The centre of the taxi industry's complaint is the cost of entry between Uber and driving a cab. The state government regulates the cost of taxi plates to the tune of over $300,000, while Uber drivers haven't had to pay a cent to start operating their competing service. As part of the Uber reforms, cab plates are set to get substantially cheaper.

Uber drivers will also need to undergo further safety checks on their vehicles in order to operate in NSW. [Daily Telegraph]


Comments

    Wonder where that 300k was going...... what a complete rort they've been running.

      Its mainly to stop anyone with a couple of thousand dollars getting out and saturating the taxi service with cars. Having a limited number of plates available keeps the cost high and the drivers in demand.

      Of course now that the cost will be dropping, the "investment" that drivers (or plate owners) had will be a great loss. Its a shame for any plate owners who recently bought a licence.

        Yeah, it also runs on the idea of keeping traffic down. Thousands of extra taxis on the road all the time means a good bit more general traffic, since taxis have considerably more road time than private vehicles. As a vaguely related aside, Venice limits the number of gondoliers to 425 for the similar reasons.

        I'm talking about the 300k, not the supply issues... where is that 300k magically going... surely there's 10k-40k taxis on the road... that's a shitload of cash floating around somewhere.

          Whoever buys that plate in the first place pays it, then its just a capital cost. Then as plate/car owners onsell their stock, they sell it at whatever the market rate is. But if they've owned it a while, they might make a nice capital gain on it.

          If the plate has much age to it, the original price was probably much lower though, its only new plates that are sold by the Government.

          It all goes to whoever previously owned the plate licence, as a return on their investment. NSW currently has about 6000 taxis in operation, with no more available unless the government releases new plates. You cant buy a taxi plate unless someone is wanting to sell theirs, so the "floating cash" doesnt really exist.

            Crazy system, should at least be sold back to the government for some figure and then resold at "current" rates.

            The current system probably doesn't mean that Drivers, Passengers or State Gov benefit from it... it's just an owner to owner false economy they've created.

              Owners of licences who have been sold a dud can always sue the government for damages.

        Who would have been stupid enough to buy a Taxi licence in recent years??

        The writing has been on the wall, The Taxi Industry has been Measured up by the public and been found to be severely wanting. Enter a New Emperor to the realm of paid personal transport.

      That money goes to the State Government and the cost is sort of regulated by the market, in that the Government only allows a fixed number of plates to be out there. It's kind of what they do with land for housing - restrict the market to maximise the State's revenue.

    Good news for consumers, awful news for all the taxi drivers who have spent $300k on licence fees, hopefully they can get it back but I doubt it.

      Most taxis aren't owned by the people who drive them. There are plenty of investors who own 50 plates (and taxis), some even more. A driver has to pay to use the taxi, usually around $400 per shift. So if he only makes $410, he only gets to take $10 home after a full day's (or night's) work. Those are the people who have been screwing taxi drivers over, with the government's assistance, for decades. Some of those people stand to be out millions and it's hard to feel too sorry for them.

      That's where the taxi industry is so uncompetitive - there are too many layers to the business, each taking money out of it, where Uber's model has a direct relationship between the driver and the service.

      I can't see how the taxi industry will survive in any meaningful way, which I think is just plain wrong. It's the government that has made them uncompetitive and now it's basically throwing them to the wolves. It's pulling the rug out from under them by making them compete with the kind of modern service they have not been allowed to provide. If it was an unregulated industry that had put itself into this position, that would be fair enough but it's not, it's the government that has screwed them and the government needs to take responsibility. I think it needs a long term transition plan, taking maybe 10 years to get everyone on the same page, with reasonable compensation paid to plate owners (by tax payers, unfortunately).

      Services like Uber are definitely the way of the future but they should never have been allowed to bully their way into the market as they have done. They should have had to jump through all the same hoops as anyone else. They have flaunted the law almost everywhere they have set up. I don't mind the idea but the way they have gone about it is just wrong. So the sooner they have real competition, the better. I've always thought being an Uber driver would be the perfect job for a serial killer.

        Actually, the cab drivers in Victoria make a percentage of any money made during their shift but that being said, cab drivers are beginning to swap over to uber because they make better money.

          The only reason Taxi drivers haven't long-signed up with Uber en-masse, is because of threats by the "industry" to ban them from driving cabs. The taxi industry is just another branch of legislated organised crime (sometimes more closely associated we would like to think).

          Taxi Drivers out there, let us, the geeks know what the score is!

          Last edited 26/11/15 6:46 pm

    Taxi drivers don't purchase the $300k plates - the taxi industry is controlled by a few huge players who buy thousands of plates, then lease the cars to drivers.

    The outcry against uber isn't from taxi drivers - its from the people who own the plates.

      I don't know where you get your facts from but here in Victoria there are hundreds of privateers and the main cab companies only have 100 to 150 Taxis and the smaller ones have only 20 to 30 cabs.

    EAD Taxi industry. This is what happens when you refuse to move with the times. That being said, if the government is going to be getting involved with Uber they will probably go the same way.

      The industry has not been allowed to move with the times. It is as heavily regulated as alcohol or gambling and that locks it completely into the uncompetitive business that it is. Blame government greed, not the taxi industry.

        That doesn't explain why you would book a taxi for a specific time and they wouldn't show up, to be told I should just call when I need one. Then waiting up to 40 minutes for a taxi to arrive with a rude and obnoxious driver rant into his phone the whole trip in a foreign language, only to go the wrong way then still expect me to pay the extra fee. Or better yet, just flat out refusing to take me because the trip is too short or in the wrong direction. How about when they try to charge you at the International Airport to load your bags because they think you are a tourist. Since Uber has come in, standards have risen, wait times have dropped. That has nothing to do government regulation.

    The Government should refund taxi plates at the value before legalising Uber X. It has to be understood that the idea behind Taxi plates is like a shop owner, to start the business they buy the building with a mortgage work for 30yrs running the shop to make a living and pay of the bank, then when they retire they sell the building (or rent out etc) and fund their retirement. The Government set up this system and by allowing competition under different terms they are hurting the people that bought into the system in the first place. It's like buying a bar, getting a license then having a competitor open up in a public plaza without paying rent, licenses, security etc and selling booze half price. The market may want that but the legislation has to move with times and the government (tax payer) will foot the bill to make the corrections.

      Great analogy!

    Still prefer getting into a car with a stranger then a taxi driver. Its their own car. They respect it and the people within it.

    Uber is a hobby for most. An extra line of income. They enjoy it. Taxi drivers do not. They generally hate their job which flows over to their 'customers'

    How many taxi drivers would bring back your mobile or wallet when left in the car? I know for a fact that myself and friends have had ours either call or come back to drop off our lost goods.

    Uber is exactly what the transport / taxi industry needs.

      So you don't think serial killers would be attracted to driving for Uber? Or stalkers? Or burglars looking to case out the juiciest targets by learning the habits of rich clientele? At least a taxi driver is so busy trying to scrape a living together from the scraps of his job that he is not going to have the time or the energy to do anything else.

        Oh Geez, C'mon, that comment really makes your username shine.

    Even if Uber remained unlawful, so long as it were in operation I would choose it over a taxi without fail.

    im still dicey on uber - do the drivers need to pass background checks? seem's like any rando can become an uber driver

      Still go through same background checks. Been travelling with them for last 6 months and for me its like getting a ride with a friend with the conversations you have and friendly nature. Of course you bound to come across some bad apples, that's just human nature for you. The beauty of Uber is the rating system, every driver has a rating that they need to uphold, they fall below the required rating, they get let go.

        ok, good to know there is some incentive for them to have a good rating, but isnt it the same with taxi drivers? get enough complaints and something will be done? drivers will most likely say its the customer being a dick, right?

        i'm all for uber as it increases competition in what has been a stale monopolised market for far too long, but it doesnt seem like it brings anything new to the table except for cheaper prices (and an app)

          You would think it would be the same with taxi drivers, to be able to complain and have something done about it, but if it was that easy and something was done, uber wouldn't be as popular. One of the biggest reasons people use the service is they are sick of the treatment they would get from taxi drivers, some are alright but majority have no clue about service. But when that's you're only option to get to a place, you have to take it. The choice of uber and many more services that will emerge like Lyft gives you the option. The cheaper prices is nice but not purely why people are using it. Actually really nice having a idea what your trip will cost instead of guessing while sitting in the cab and the driver takes the long route. The app is great in knowing where drivers, who it is, what car it is and pay through the app. Also like sitting in the different cars, seeing who you're driver is and what care they got. Been in Ford Focus, 2015 Land Rover, Audi's, Something from Nissan that looks like a Bubble car, just adds to the experience. Apps from the taxi industry are available but just don't compare. Pretty much a simple case of if you treat your customers like crap and then a new thing comes around and you don't adapt to it, you only got yourself to blame. Will be alot of blaming, taxi industry, government, investors, operators, drivers.

          Last edited 23/11/15 12:53 pm

            i must be the only person to have never had an outright "bad" taxi driver. i've had drivers not know where to go - for this I am fine with, as plenty of times its been a home address and I wouldnt expect the driver to know every side street, just how to get to the suburb. and these days with the advent of the gps units, i've not experienced it in a while. i've also had quiet drivers - drivers who dont say a word. 99% of the time, this is a-ok with me. dirty cabs - never had one. smelly cabs - yes, generally from smoke. uber may have the upper hand on this right now, but it doesnt stop an uber driver from offering what may be a sub-par experience due to eating spicy food for lunch!

            Actually really nice having a idea what your trip will cost instead of guessing while sitting in the cab and the driver takes the long route << this intrigues me. isnt uber priced via a rate set based on the current demand? so isnt the actual fee also distance based, like a taxi?

              Certainly, been with many drivers who were just that, smart dressed, friendly ones, clean car and they were great but always a gamble and lost that gamble many times with a guy who woke up on the wrong side of the bed and thought i would love to listen to rap music the whole trip. Although thinking about it, i've always had a good experience with female cab drivers, strike a conversation with them and polite, maybe they should get more female drivers, i don't know. The uber drivers do offer mint and water with their trips so you could say, would you like a mint if you got spicy food person :)

              So the trip rate can change on the demand and increase alot which you have no choice in and this is something that does irk me a bit, i'm not totally 100% pro uber lol. When you book a driver you see a estimate of the cost that says between $10.00-$12.00. The driver goes by what the uber phone they are given says in directions which is based on quickest route. You would be surprised the routes taxi drivers take compared to uber drivers, sometimes the same but from stories i've heard from friends who were visiting, the taxi driver would ask the passenger what road would you like to take to check if you were a local or visitor. If you were a visitor they would take the longer route to make more money. Uber driver, because you have entered the details of your location, does not need to ask and will be following the gps that indicates the quickest route, therefore saving alot of money.

              Last edited 23/11/15 1:42 pm

                eeeh the whole 'what road would you like to use test' is hugely arbitrary i find - i have been asked it plenty of times and sometimes the cabbie's suggestion is actually quicker. uber drivers dont seem to have as much leeway over the router, if as you say, they get it preset on their phone. - this may be bad if you get stuck in traffic for example? how does an uber drivers knowledge of the back streets compare to a cabbies while the gps says 'recalcluating'?
                cabbies also know where you are going when you book too.

                I like the estimated cost feature - taxi's should incorporate that.

                  True, i'm just going by my experiences and what friends have told me. If taxi's incorporated uber into their attitude by having a well polished app that estimated my fare and was able to track who and where the driver was and not having to wait a hour at the dodgy taxi rank and was a pleasant experience with no rudeness, then yeah i ain't got no problem going with the taxi. Unfortunately, that ain't the case, hence why uber has sky rocketed. Instead of learning from them, they just want ban them, whether it remains illegal or legal, learn why people are using the service and how you can win them back.

    Yeah the rating system needs to be looked at. Imagine a job where you get fired because of anonymous feedback, and an invisible metric that is not disclosed. This is not ok.

    That would be illegal in any other industry, but because drives are "partners" this is a loophole. Employees should have rights to protect them too, there needs to be a balance between the consumer/customer and the employees providing the service.

      It could use some fine tuning as people can be dicks and give you a low rating for no reason.

      It's not illegal and it's common practice today. Have you ever worked in a call centre? "You got fired because your service was bad"

      there was one place i worked in that used CSATS based on FCR (first contact resolution), and NPS (net promoter score). There was an 'agent score' metric there as well, which was wholly ignored by management. Customers fill this in, and rate the company on NPS and FCR and us on Agent Score. Does not matter whether they think you were great and gave us a 10, the NPS/fcr was low so you're fired.

      for clarification - a lot of calls we had to direct to a third party company because certain products were through a certain bank - meaning we literally could not resolve their call. did not, does not, and will never fucking matter one iota.

      At some point every service jumped bandwagon from actual numbers you can count based on the work you do, to someone's entirely subjective opinion of the company of you work for.

      Last edited 23/11/15 12:54 pm

    "Reports the NSW Government will legalise ride-sharing service Uber are premature as no decision has been made, despite a news report to the contrary, Premier Mike Baird says."

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-23/no-decision-on-making-uber-legal-in-nsw-mike-baird-says/6962896

    Good news that the government is supporting Uber. I am wondering if uber drivers after paying for the license would be allowed to use bus lanes.
    Also, if Uber have been paying fines for the drivers, hopefully they might pay for the license fee as well.

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