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Illegal no more: 98% of SA Uber drivers complying with the law

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Rideshare giant Uber has won a further 12 months’ accreditation in South Australia after demonstrating high levels of legal compliance among its Adelaide drivers.

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According to figures released to InDaily by the Government today, 98 per cent of Uber drivers were found to be fully accredited during compliance checks at Adelaide Airport in August and September.

The Government confirmed this morning that it had renewed Uber’s accreditation to operate a passenger transport service in the state for another 12 months.

It says the company has demonstrated compliance with transport laws, driver accreditation requirements and the collection of the $1 taxi industry compensation levy.

Uber had been in a public standoff with the State Government after it entered the SA market in late 2014, continuing to operate its app-based rideshare service without legal accreditation up until March this year, when the Government announced it had reached agreement to accredit the rideshare platform. The service was accredited for six months, which has just expired.

Hundreds of Uber drivers had been fined for operating without accreditation while the company was operating illegally.

Compliance figures released by the Government today show that almost all Uber drivers checked at the airport were accredited drivers although, 10 per cent had failed to get a required vehicle inspection.

Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan said in a statement that it was encouraging “to see Uber is doing the right thing and complying with the law”.

“The Government’s accreditation processes have been set up to ensure that operators, drivers and vehicles involved in point-to-point passenger transport services are safe, whether they be taxis, chauffeur vehicle or rideshare services,” he said.

“It’s critical that all vehicles have passed roadworthiness inspections and all drivers have had the required checks to establish they are fit and proper people to be providing these services, including medical, police and working with children checks.”

The Government has been unable to confirm whether it still sends undercover compliance officers to pose as customers to catch wayward passenger transport drivers.

An Uber spokesperson told InDaily it was “pleased with the progress made and that our accreditation has been renewed”.

“We’ve been working closely with drivers and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure on the implementation of the regulatory reforms,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, the Government has this week introduced new legislation into State Parliament creating tough new penalties for passenger transport services and drivers of all kinds – including taxi and Uber drivers – who break the law.

If the bill passes, fines for any company that operates a passenger transport service without accreditation would be increased from $30,000 for each offence to $35,000 for a first offence and $50 000 for each subsequent offence.

“The safety of passengers must be our number one priority and these new penalties are designed to give peace of mind to people who use any of these services that drivers and vehicles have been assessed as safe to be out on the road,” said Mullighan.

“The Government has been working with all stakeholders to adapt to the changes but with these significant reforms, it is also vital to ensure that we have the powers needed to make sure those who breach the law are held to account.”

Earlier this year, InDaily revealed Uber had reached agreement with Adelaide Airport to pick up passengers there, in a major blow to the state’s taxi industry.

The airport allocated a 16-bay parking area on the western edge of its car park as a dedicated pickup location for ride-share vehicles.

InDaily this morning asked Uber to comment on the success, or otherwise, of its dedicated Adelaide Airport pickup location, but the company did not respond.

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