QUEENSLAND taxi companies have slammed the idea of a ride-sharing app entering the Brisbane transport market.
The Uber app quietly started operations about three weeks ago, generously offering free rides to anyone who signed up to the platform.
But the controversial tech start-up has been causing waves around the world and was recently banned from operating as a passenger transport service in NSW.
One of the main points of contention is that anyone over 24 years can sign up to be a driver and the car must be no older than nine years.
Taxi companies are concerned about passenger safety.
Black and White Cabs and Yellow Cabs agreed that their firms had worked for years to build checks and balances to assure the safety of drivers and customers. Both were sceptical that Uber could deliver the same level of protection.
“The problem the community will have is Uber doesn’t want to take responsibility for the service delivery and who delivers it,” Yellow Cab’s general manager Bill Parker said.
“Taxi operators are competing on an uneven playing field.”
The passengers Queenland taxi drivers avoid
Department of Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said that based on the limited information available, he had directed his department to contact the company and investigate whether it complied with the public passenger transport legislation.
Uber, however, is confident that its own vetting processes are sufficient to put to rest any public fears.
“Every ride-sharing partner must meet our rigorous safety standards, including driver history checks, criminal background checks, requisite insurance and vehicle inspections,” Uber Brisbane manager Mike Abbott said.
“Uber’s technology also includes a feedback system which adds a layer of accountability, requiring drivers and passengers to rate each other after every trip.”
Despite it being offered for free, it’s still rare to find many people in Brisbane who’ve heard of the start-up. Steve Jensen is one customer taking advantage of the deal.
The Bank of Queensland employee has been using the app about once a day since they started operating in the city.
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