Queensland hits Uber drivers with more charges, stricter conditions

Jessica Marszalek, The Courier-Mail

March 10, 2017 12:30am

UBER drivers will pay a $237 annual licence fee, be forced to take out special insurance, get their cars safety-checked and install reflective signs on their vehicles.

Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey has announced a second round of reforms for rideshare services, and hardship payments for taxis and limousines, that yesterday angered both Uber and the taxi industry.

Key reforms include introducing a new annual licence fee for ride-booking operators that Uber spokesman Mike Scott described as a “new fee on everyday Queenslanders”.

New safety measures include requirements to carry reflective signs on front and rear windscreens advertising a car is an Uber vehicle and follow driver fatigue management plans.

Vehicles will undergo safety checks when licensed, and will have to take out a new class of compulsory third party insurance that is yet to be calculated by the Motor Accident Insurance Commission.

And $27 million in hardship payments will soon open for taxi and limousine owners and operators.

Uber thinks the new measures go too far, the taxi industry thinks they don’t go far enough.

Mr Bailey said the changes were about making things fairer for all operators and increaing safety and choice for passengers.

But Uber spokesman Mike Scott said the licensing fees didn’t help create safety improvements, consumer benefits or new jobs.

“We’re disappointed to see the government propose new fees on everyday Queenslanders looking to access flexible work,” he said.

Taxi Council chief executive Benjamin Wash said the proposed new laws didn’t level the playing field.

“This proposed legislation has been written to advantage rideshare operators — who have flouted the law and attempted to avoid tax and regulatory requirements — over law abiding small businesses operators who make up Queensland’s taxi industry,” he said.

The Opposition said it would consider the new laws and consult with industry.