NSW’s state government has agreed to give Uber the green light to operate within the state, and will give minimal compensation to taxi owners in exchange for a loosening of regulations around ride-sharing and private car-hailing apps in the state.
The Daily Telegraph reports that the state government cabinet of premier Mike Baird has agreed to immediately legalise the service, and compensate taxi owners who may now face substantially increased competition.
According to the Telegraph, the nearly 6000 perpetual taxi plate owners in New South Wales will be allocated compensation of $20,000 per plate — and be allowed to continue operating in the same capacity as they already do — up to a maximum of $40,000 per owner. Additional funds will be set aside to further compensate owners who only purchased plates recently; the entire fund will cost nearly $120 million for the state.
Uber drivers in the state will have to pay a separate licence fee, undergo regular car safety testing, and will be required to undertake criminal background checks. Uber drivers will also not be allowed to pick up passengers from Sydney Airport, and taxis will continue to have exclusive rights to pick up hailing passengers from the street and from taxi ranks.
The Sydney Airport restriction will likely require passengers to leave a specific area; short trips to the next station on the Airport train line to a likely Uber hotspot will cost consumers around $8.
Gizmodo has contacted Mike Baird’s office and Uber for comment.