Uber is set to be legalised in NSW with the government announcing changes to the taxi industry to allow the controversial ride-sharing service.
Premier Mike Baird says it’s hasty to say that controversial taxi service Uber will be legalised by the end of the year, however the Government is considering an independent report on the matter.
His comments come after The Daily Telegraph reported the state government would announce on Monday sweeping reforms to the ride-sharing service.
Under the changes to come in next month, Uber drivers would be required to pay a licence fee while taxi drivers will receive compensation for losing exclusivity, the newspaper said.
However, Baird said an independent report is being considered.
“But it is yet to go beyond that, so obviously that report will be considered as part of the due process of government and go to cabinet in good time,” he told 2GB Radio on Monday.
An independent task force has been established to assess the future of the state’s point-to-point transport industry, which includes taxis, hire cars and ride-sharing.
Meanwhile state Opposition Leader Luke Foley said the government has taken too long to legalise the service.
“Hoping that it would just go away was always doomed to failure,” Mr Foley told ABC Radio on Monday.
“Smartphone technology apps make possible the one million trips via Uber we have seen in its first 12-months of operation in Sydney.”
NSW is the second state to regulate Uber after the Australian Capital Territory passed legislation in October to allow ride-share services, like Uber, to operate.
The head of the Victorian Taxi Association believes a workable solution similar to what’s being done in NSW is not far off for Victoria.
“I think it’s inevitable, guys, that this service will be regulated. I don’t think there can be any doubt about that,” David Samuel told 3AW radio on Monday.
Victorian taxi drivers went on strike in September to protest against UberX, which allows drivers to use their own car to take passengers.
The drivers want Uber shut down or for governments to introduce a level playing field that would make Uber drivers pay the same licence and registration fees.
In South Australia, Uber legally operates Uber “Black” services, which utilise licensed hire cars and drivers, but the State Government insists ride-sharing service Uber X is illegal under current legislation. A review of the taxi industry is underway, which is expected to make recommendations about the status of Uber X in SA.
– with AAP
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