What is Uber and why is it causing such a stir?

Kate Wick

By Kate Wick

2 min read

Uber is a new, techno-savvy taxi service raising more than a few Government eyebrows with its unconventional business concept.

The Californian-based company has set-up a ride-sharing concept, which uses a smartphone app and geo-locating technology to allow people in need of a ride to be matched to the nearest driver.

Said to offer lower costs than current taxi services, the driver requirements differ greatly from current Australians taxis. Uber drivers are ordinary Australian drivers who are required to hold a valid driver’s licence, be at least 24-years-old, have comprehensive insurance and drive a car made after 2005, with at least four doors.

But the latest ride-sharing concept is still trying to convince the Australian Government it’s a safe and viable alternative to the current accredited state taxis, with most regulators arguing driver standards aren’t strict enough.

In the meantime, Uber taxis have already been dubbed illegal in NSW, Queensland and South Australian.

Acting Transport Minister Tom Koutsantonis talked to ABC radio about the risks to passengers who decided to jump into an Uber taxi.

"It's a very dangerous option to take an Uber service – you don't know who's driving the car,” Koutsantonis said.

"You don't know if the car has been checked and, most importantly, we can't know when you got into that car and where you got out of that car or where you were meant to go."

Despite the threat of Government-issued fines, Uber taxis have still been operating in NSW, Victoria and now South Australia – with fines being issues in all three states.

The State Government is said to be monitoring the Uber closely to try and catch out Uber cars that are currently in operation.  

For drivers caught working for Uber, which are not a Government-approved taxi service, they could face fines from $315 to $8000.


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