Rideshare operator Uber X is expanding its South Australia services

http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/rideshare-operator-uber-x-is-expanding-its-sa-services-with-the-online-company-launching-a-new-product-tailored-to-help-people-with-accessibility-needs/news-story/2d3bd9a185ff45e29a0fad463c2c2f55

Rideshare operator Uber X is expanding its South Australia services, with the online company launching a new product tailored to help people with accessibility needs

February 16, 2017 8:32pm

Taxi Council SA says Uber X passengers are running a risk travelling on an illegal passenger service.

ILLEGAL rideshare operator Uber X is expanding services amid claims tens of thousands of South Australians are already signed up to its app booking system.

The controversial online company on Friday launches a new product — uberASSIST — tailored to help people with “different accessibility needs’’ to travel around the city.

The move comes as Uber said 80,000 of its SA members had taken at least one trip with the passenger services since November, proving ridesharing was “a safe, reliable and affordable way to get around Adelaide’’.

Uber General Manager for South Australia Tom White said uberASSIST had already proven popular with thousands of customers across Australia.

He said more than 100 local Uber X drivers had undergone training to provide the new service, which was expected to boost the number of people using the app-based operator.

“We’re pleased to give more transport choice to those who need an extra helping hand getting around Adelaide,” Mr White said.

“In preparing for this launch, we’ve seen more than 100 top-rated Uber driver-partners undertake third-party training developed by the Australian Network on Disability.

“This will ensure driver-partners have the right knowledge and skills to help members of the community with different accessibility needs get from A to B.’’

Mr White said uberASSIST has been launched with the support of Life Without Barriers, an organisation working to support thousands of people with disability, as well as seniors.

Life Without Barriers spokesman Chris Chippendale said uberASSIST was “a great example of businesses developing innovative ideas to give people with disability greater choice and control in their day-to-day activities.’’

“It will mean that people who require additional physical support have more opportunities to access suitable transport to assist with their involvement in the community, and for some people it will help increase their independence,’’ he said.

“This type of customer-centred community support is integral to what Life Without Barriers strives to achieve, and we believe it will have a positive impact on people in the region.”

Taxi Council SA President Jim Triantafyllou said Uber X passengers were running a risk traveling on an illegal passenger service, as the rideshare app booking service had not been approved by the State Government.

“As a legitimate and regulated transport service to the South Australian community, the taxi industry is facing unfair competition because Uber continues to operate illegally,” he said.

“There has clearly been a loss of business to the taxi industry, which underpins the urgent need for government action.

 “How can anyone condone the loss of income from a legitimate industry, complying with all the rules, to an illegal operator?”