30 September 2015
Consumer advocacy group CHOICE has welcomed the ACT Government’s decision to legalise ride-sharing services such as UberX by bringing them under regulation as of October 30 this year.
The decision follows an investigation by CHOICE last week comparing UberX with taxis that found the ride-sharing service to be safe, reliable and 9 times out of ten cheaper than taking a taxi by up to 40%.
“This is a victory for common sense and it will inject some much-needed competition into the point-to-point passenger market in the ACT,” says CHOICE Director of Campaigns and Communications, Matt Levey.
“These reforms will ideally offer more choices for consumers when trying to get from A to B which are safe and competitive.
"We hope other jurisdictions will follow suit to rapidly legalise innovation and not outlaw competition,” says Mr Levey.
The ACT is the first jurisdiction in Australia to regulate the controversial ride-sharing service, UberX, rather than crackdown on it as we’ve seen elsewhere.
Earlier this week, Roads and Maritime Services in NSW issued 40 suspension notices to owners of vehicles involved in ridesharing services, for breaches of the Passenger Transport Act.
“The new regulations will mean that the ACT is the first capital in the world to introduce a framework for ridesharing to operate legally before such services have even started operating,” Mr Levey says.
Under the changes, rideshare drivers will need to receive accreditation (like taxi drivers), which will involve criminal and driving history checks. Vehicles will also need to be checked for safety and be fully insured.
Ride-sharing services won’t be able to be hailed off the street and the booking apps will have to provide a fare range before the booking is confirmed. The legislation will also prevent ride-sharing services from instigating surge pricing during a formally declared emergency.
“To reduce costs for taxis, licence fees will be halved as of October 30, and halved again a year later,” Mr Levey says.