Uber is a ride-sharing service that uses mobile application technology and internet for its operations. It gives convenience to passengers because of the capability to order car service from anywhere. It also promotes cash-free transactions due to its online payment technology. Uber is currently operating in more than 500 cities around the world.
How did Uber Start in Queensland?
The American-operated company started in the province back in October 2012. Its popularity to commuters quickly rose because Uber fares are generally cheaper than regular taxis. The number of Uber drivers also grew fast because of the growing demand. It was also easy to get into Uber business because there was no requirement yet to pay for any government licenses and fees.
Due to the increasing popularity, people began to question the status of Uber in Queensland. Many people questioned its legality, especially the taxi drivers. However, there was no law at that time that says Uber is illegal. Although drivers can be penalized for driving without an Authority, Uber was still not government licensed and regulated. Thus, Uber continued to operate freely in Queensland. On the part of commuters, riding Uber was also not illegal, but safety was a big concern.
What is the status of Uber?
Because of all the questions regarding Uber operations, the Queensland Government legislated for its regulation. In September 5 of 2016, Uber was made legal to operate in Queensland. All booked and ride-sharing services, together with limousines, taxis and other hired cars are now regulated under a new law. It required all Uber drivers to have valid drivers’ authorization. They should pass health and criminal checks to have the legal authorization. Drivers should also obtain the annual Booked Hire License of $237.26. Uber cars should pass the safety inspection before they can get on the road.
Should Taxi Drivers be concerned?
To support the taxi drivers after the legalization of Uber and other ride sharing businesses, the Queensland Government provided a “hardship fund” worth $26.7 million. A total of $100 million assistance was given to the taxi industry. The government waived $4.3 million worth of fees for taxi business. The maximum age limit for taxis was removed as well. These should give fairness to the taxi industry in competing with ride sharing services.
What is the future for Uber and other ride-sharing business?
Now that the Queensland Government has put all ride-sharing services in the same playing field as the taxis, we can expect more changes in Uber regulation. Also, expect Queensland laws for Uber to constantly develop in creating a fair market among all transport service industries. With the transition fund that the government provided to the taxi industry and its plan to open the market for new taxi business, Uber can expect a tougher competition in the future.