New legislation welcomes Uber rollout in ACT

The ACT has announced legislation that will welcome Uber and other ride-sharing services to Canberra from October 30.
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This morning’s confirmation makes the ACT the first state or territory in Australia to introduce regulations encouraging the rollout of ride sharing, with most others being resistant and hostile to Uber in particular. NSW made headlines this week for issuing fines and suspending the licences of UberX drivers.

ACT chief minister Andrew Barr told ABC radio this morning the legislation aims to encourage competition in the industry by opening the door to ride sharing and reducing the costs of taxi and hire car licence fees.

From October 30, taxi licence fees will be halved to $10,000, and halved again to $5000 a year later. Hire car licence fees will be slashed from $4600 to just $100 per year.

The legislation will allow taxi and hire car drivers carry Uber passengers, opening up multiple modes of business to accredited drivers, while Uber drivers will be banned from picking up passengers in taxi ranks and stopping in taxi, bus and loading zones.

Barr said the legislation seeks to create a level playing field for new and existing operators in the ACT.

Uber Australia general manager David Rohrsheim told the ABC that the ACT’s action deserved to be applauded, and hopes similar regulations can be adopted across the country.

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Meanwhile, the NRMA has called on the NSW Government to overhaul its legislation relating to taxis and ride-sharing services, encouraging the legalisation of Uber in NSW, the establishment of a new category of vehicle registration and insurance for ride-sharing suppliers, and new safety and service regulations.

Among the NRMA’s recommendations is the integration of the Opal Card system (currently used for trains, trams, buses and ferries) into cabs, and a reduction of licence, registration and insurance costs or taxi drivers, with further benefits for drivers with new vehicles and good driving records.

The NRMA is also calling on the taxi industry to abolish its five per cent card payment surcharge and review its “draconian” leasing and network fees currently forced on individual drivers.