Skip to content Skip to main navigation

Community

Christmas in July Market
Queanbeyan Showgrounds, 30 July

Meet Australia’s first Uber driver – and he is still driving

By Serina Bird Huang (aka Ms Frugal Ears) - 30 April 2017 11

Canberra (and Australia's) first Uber driver

I am a relative Uber newbie. Well, I had ridden in Uber rides organised by other people but until a few weeks ago I hadn’t used the app myself.

But then I needed to put my car in for service, and the logistics of getting from Mitchell to work and back again without a car were a bit much. Within five minutes I had installed Uber and my life suddenly became just that little bit more convenient.

My first experience was so-so  – the driver took me to the wrong place but it was en route and he was very apologetic. However, my second was very good. I got to chatting with my Uber driver, a young guy who goes by the Uber name Zeeshan and who is originally from Pakistan. He started driving as a student at ANU.

“How long have you been driving?” I asked.

“Well, since Uber started,” he said. “I was the first ever Uber driver in Canberra. Actually, not just Canberra but in Australia, because Canberra was the first place to legalise Uber. My first passenger was the Chief Minister Andrew Barr.”

Uber and other ridesharing services legally entered the Canberra market on 30 October 2015. And, yes, Canberra was the first Australian State or Territory to legalise the service. These days it seems pretty commonplace, but back in October 2015, it must have been revolutionary.

Back to my driver, and I was interested to see how he liked the Uber experience. It was raining and we were stuck in bad traffic (yes, it happens in peak hour in Canberra these days) and the 19.2 kilometre journey took 42 minutes. He seemed quite unfazed by this, apologising occasionally but still remarkably upbeat and chipper. As we were stalled in the traffic he offered me a tic tac. Not wanting to think about a Trump moment I accepted and, I must say, the new coconut-based flavour was very good.

“Are you still studying?” I asked.

“Well, my courses have finished and luckily I passed out,” he answered. After explaining that ‘passed out’ has another colloquial meaning in Australia, generally associated with over consumption of alcohol, we had a bit of a laugh and talked more about his life as an Uber driver.

Turns out ‘Zeeshan’ has indeed graduated, and does have a good job with an airline that he works for part-time. Sometimes he even flies as an airline steward. He still does ridesharing for Uber several days a week, which is helping to finance his goal of travelling around Europe.

Zeeshan said he enjoys being an Uber driver and has only positive stories to tell. “I feel sorry for taxi drivers,” he said. “What they do is so hard. They do 12-hour shifts which, if you think of it, is equivalent to driving from Canberra to Melbourne every day. In contrast, I can work a bit, then go home for a bit and rest.”

Uber’s popularity is on the rise in Canberra, with increased drivers and passenger numbers. According to Uber, across Australia, there are more than 55,000 active Uber driver partners and 2.8 million riders. Globally, there have been more than 2 billion Uber trips.

That being the case, I am surprised that more public servants or office employers don’t use Uber for work trips. If nothing else, the receipting process aids greater transparency by clearly showing the details of a trip. Zeeshan said that he did a lot of trips to and from Australian Parliament House. “I am always very busy when Parliament is sitting, he said.”

Do you think that Uber is a good thing for Canberra?  What have been your experiences of riding with Uber?

Do you use Uber?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Caption: Canberra (and Australia’s) first Uber driver

What’s Your opinion?


Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
11 Responses to
Meet Australia’s first Uber driver – and he is still driving
1
dungfungus 9:00 am
30 Apr 17
#

Why would Andrew Barr need to use a ride sharing service?
Doesn’t he drive a government supplied car or bicycle?

2
Zultan 11:20 am
01 May 17
#

I loved Uber right until the moment that I woke up last Sunday and found my account had been taken over and used for rides in Moscow overnight. Trying to contact Uber support was difficult and the response slow and unhelpful. My money was eventually refunded, but I was given no explanation. Very frustrated that the app wouldn’t let me change the registered telephone number back to an Australian one (yet it let the bad guys change it to a Russian one). Also annoying that I couldn’t delete my credit card after the account had been compromised (presumably to protect Uber rather than me).

3
dungfungus 12:48 pm
01 May 17
#

Zultan said :

I loved Uber right until the moment that I woke up last Sunday and found my account had been taken over and used for rides in Moscow overnight. Trying to contact Uber support was difficult and the response slow and unhelpful. My money was eventually refunded, but I was given no explanation. Very frustrated that the app wouldn’t let me change the registered telephone number back to an Australian one (yet it let the bad guys change it to a Russian one). Also annoying that I couldn’t delete my credit card after the account had been compromised (presumably to protect Uber rather than me).

It appears to be a global problem:

http://nomadicpolitics.blogspot.com/2017/04/uber-and-strange-case-of-russian.html

4
rijujacob 2:39 pm
01 May 17
#

Uber is one of the best things technology brought to our era. its cheap and convenient to use

5
Suzanne Kiraly 3:46 pm
01 May 17
#

What serendipity, Serina. Loved the article and I love Uber too. Just used it in Bali as well:-)

6
dungfungus 9:50 pm
01 May 17
#

rijujacob said :

Uber is one of the best things technology brought to our era. its cheap and convenient to use

That’s a big call – what about all the advances in medicine that will save millions of people?

Uber is available for a comparatively small number of privileged people.

A touch of reality needed here.

7
rijujacob 8:54 am
02 May 17
#

dungfungus said :

rijujacob said :

Uber is one of the best things technology brought to our era. its cheap and convenient to use

That’s a big call – what about all the advances in medicine that will save millions of people?

Uber is available for a comparatively small number of privileged people.

A touch of reality needed here.

Its “one of the best things” not the best thing ever. Especially if you travel around Asian countries, you will see the difference in using a normal taxi and an Uber. If people don’t know to use a smartphone and don’t know to use an Uber App, that doesn’t mean they are less privileged people. This will all be a norm in the next 5-10 years time.

8
Claire 11:23 pm
04 May 17
#

I would not have a problem supporting Uber drivers if they were treated the same as taxi drivers, eg: having to pay 10% GST on every cent earned and income tax on the rest. Also paying the same registration as taxi owners would make it a fairer competition.

9
dungfungus 11:04 am
05 May 17
#

Claire said :

I would not have a problem supporting Uber drivers if they were treated the same as taxi drivers, eg: having to pay 10% GST on every cent earned and income tax on the rest. Also paying the same registration as taxi owners would make it a fairer competition.

Taxi drivers are compelled to provide services for the disabled. I don’t think Uber are.

10
bringontheevidence 3:15 pm
05 May 17
#

Claire said :

I would not have a problem supporting Uber drivers if they were treated the same as taxi drivers, eg: having to pay 10% GST on every cent earned and income tax on the rest. Also paying the same registration as taxi owners would make it a fairer competition.

Uber drivers do have to pay GST and income tax on the fares.

11
dungfungus 9:12 am
06 May 17
#

bringontheevidence said :

Claire said :

I would not have a problem supporting Uber drivers if they were treated the same as taxi drivers, eg: having to pay 10% GST on every cent earned and income tax on the rest. Also paying the same registration as taxi owners would make it a fairer competition.

Uber drivers do have to pay GST and income tax on the fares.

I think the drivers only pay GST on the commission they receive from Uber, not the full fare.
And while the commission they receive is “taxable income” I doubt if many would pay assessable income if the Uber commissions were their sole income due to the costs of running the vehicle/business.

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top
Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.
www.the-riotact.com | www.b2bmagazine.com.au

Search across the site