RACQ urges Queensland to legalise ride-sharing services

ARIANA PANETTIERE

Uber is an app-based service connecting customers with drivers.

Uber is an app-based service connecting customers with drivers. Source: Creative Commons

The RACQ has called on the Queensland Government to enable Uber and other ride-sharing services to legally co-exist with the taxi industry.

This comes as Uber and other ride-sharing services will be legally able to enter the Canberra market from October 30 after reforms to ACT legislation.

In a press release, RACQ’s Executive General Manager Advocacy Paul Turner has urged the State Government to deregulate underground ridesharing services.

“Making companies like Uber illegal obviously isn’t working,” Mr Turner said.

“Queenslanders are voting with their wallet and using them anyway, so we need to make sure they can do so safely, within the framework of the law,” he said.

Mr Turner said competition was good for consumers in reducing costs for the existing taxi industry, ensuring they remained competitive.

“RACQ research shows 80 per cent of Queenslanders believe they should have the right to utilise both rideshare and taxi services should they choose,” he said.

“Politicians of all stripes and levels of government have been urging motorists to carpool for years, and now we have a genuine enabler on the table, it’s time they took a leading role in fixing this issue.”

Taxi licence owner Joseph Ragusa said until Uber complies with the same safety rules and regulations that apply to taxi drivers, it is not a level playing field.

“At the moment we have a regulated transport industry where both taxis and limousine licenses have been regulated by government bodies. To operate in Queensland, you need special license plates which can set you back anything between $500,000 to $100,000. Then you have these players, like the Ubers that basically operate scot free,” Mr Ragusa said.

Mr Ragusa has worked in the taxi industry for over 2 decades and says it’s not as profitable anymore.

“I don’t mind competition, competition is good but operating expenses are too high, so taxi’s can’t afford to slash fares,” he said.

“Taxis are definitely getting hit the hardest. They’re doing everything by the books and another player in the market is taking business away.”

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