Rideshare business Uber has the green light to operate legally in the ACT from next month.
The ACT Government announced this morning that it will introduce reforms to regulate ridesharing operators and taxi drivers/owners in a bid to provide Canberrans with safe, flexible and affordable ridesharing services while reducing costs for taxi drivers, owners and passengers.
See Chief Minister Andrew Barr making the announcement on Periscope here.
The ACT is Australia’s first jurisdiction to regulate ridesharing, and Canberra will be the first capital in the world to enable ridesharing to operate legally ahead of ridesharing businesses operating.
Ridesharing in the ACT will allow accredited drivers to carry passengers through services such as Uber. The government said in a statement that this would “improve travel options for Canberrans, reduce fares for the community through competition, and drive further innovation in the demand responsive transport industry”.
The announcement follows lobbying of potential customers and government by Uber and a three-hour taxi strike in the capital on September 16.
The reforms will be delivered in two stages. The first, from October 30, will allow the regulated entry of ridesharing into the Canberra market, and deliver an immediate reduction of fees for taxis and hire cars. The second will include a customised CTP and property insurance regime for rideshare activity and further reductions in regulatory burdens for taxis.
Ridesharing vehicles and drivers will undergo accreditation and registration, including criminal and driving history checks – just as taxi drivers do. Vehicles will be checked for safety, and rideshare will be fully insured.
The ACT Government halve taxi licence lease fees in 2016 and again in 2017. Annual licence fees for hire cars will also be reduced.
Canberra’s taxi drivers will have access to multiple modes of business, from traditional rank-and-hail work to ridesharing and third-party taxi booking apps.
The Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Transport Reform, Shane Rattenbury said taxis and other demand-responsive transport options were important for accessibility and social equity, and often relied on by those with special transport needs.
“These reforms do not change the current arrangements – the wheelchair accessible taxi service booking system and the Taxi Subsidy Scheme are unchanged,” he said.
For more on the Taxi Industry Innovation Reforms, including public submissions received as part of the community consultation, see www.act.gov.au/taxi-industry-reforms.
Will you choose Uber over taxis? Or sign up to become an Uber driver? What do you think of the Government’s action on this issue? Let us know in the comments below.