David Nankervis, The Advertiser
December 10, 2016 10:07pm
ILLEGAL rideshare service operator UberX is encouraging drivers without cars to use rental vehicles as passenger demands ramp up for the festive season.
Hundreds of drivers are already operating UberX services and the move to rental cars is the latest expansion in the controversial rideshare service, which is operating outside State Government regulations.
An Uber spokesman said there were already numerous “specialist’’ rental car providers as well as “more established’’ rental companies across the country that were “tailoring offers for rideshare drivers”.
“Rental and lease vehicles can help those without the means to buy a new car get on the road and start earning flexible income,’’ he said. While Uber advises drivers of the rental option, it is not ¬financially involved in the transaction between a driver and the rental firm.
Rideshare Car Rental at Ascot Park advertises “affordable car hire for Uber drivers with rates starting at $179 a week with unlimited kilometres”.
Taxi Council SA president Jim Triantafyllou said the use of rental cars “adds yet another dimension to the already alarming safety concerns’’.
“Would you pay to get in a car with an inexperienced, unaccredited driver who is unfamiliar with the vehicle they are in command of?’’ he said.
“That’s not to mention the potential issues in relation to insurance.”
Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan said passengers wanted to know the cars they travelled in were safe and drivers were “fit and proper persons’’.
He said if rental vehicles were used for rideshare operations “the driver and car will need to be appropriately accredited’’ with the Transport Department.
The revelations come as research shows South Australians are less likely to use the rideshare service than commuters in any other mainland state. Only 5 per cent of SA survey respondents had used Uber in the past three months, compared with the 16 per cent national average.
The Uber spokesman said its services had been operating for longer interstate, which accounted for the low patronage here.