Uber legalised in Queensland
On Monday 5 September 2016, the Queensland Government legalised ride-sharing apps, like Uber, in Queensland.
The decision comes after the State Government commissioned an independent review of taxi, limousine and ride-share services in October 2015 and the Opportunities for Personalised Transport Taskforce delivered its much anticipated final report at the end of July 2016.
Importantly, the Taskforce recommended regulation of ride-sharing in Queensland as part of a five-year strategic plan.
The Taskforce’s final report revealed the following key points for the ongoing regulation of both taxi and ride-sharing services:
- $60 million in transitional assistance will be provided to the taxi industry to help taxi licence owners adjust to a more competitive market;
- Taxis will continue to have exclusive access to the rank and hail service, whereas, ride-sharing services cannot collect customers from taxi ranks, or be hailed off the street;
- Maximum fare limits for booked hire services have been removed;
- A new licence category will be created for ride-sharing services;
- Ride-sharing services will now have to pass minimum government safety checks; and
- Existing ride-sharing drivers must obtain a Taxi Driver Authorisation by 1 November 2016. From that date, all new ride-sharing drivers will be required to successfully apply for a Booked Hire/Taxi Driver Authorisation before operating.
The Queensland Government envisages that the level of regulation of ride-sharing apps will progressively increase to create a level playing field with their taxi competitors. Current subsidies being paid by Uber to Uber drivers appear unsustainable with Uber's financial results for the six months to 30 June 2016 amounting to a more than $1.27 billion loss world wide according to Bloomberg.
The reforms aim to increase passenger safety and ensure that all operators are adhering to the new rules for licencing of both ride-sharing drivers and the taxi industry. The Government has clearly chosen that regulating Uber is more likely to level the playing field than not.
The Opportunities for Personalised Transport Taskforce’s strategic plan involves a staged roll out of the new regulations over the next five years.
Should you have any questions as to how this new legal reform might affect you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Litigation + Dispute Resolution team.