Exclusive — Miles Kemp, The Advertiser
August 16, 2017 9:25pm
Hundreds of dodgy UberX drivers fined
MOST of the UberX fleet of 600 cars is operating illegally, with an unapproved safety station clearing the vehicles for the road.
An investigation by The Advertiser has revealed UberX has been using a safety checking firm that is not one of those approved by the Transport Department, which is RAA and Rightway Automotive.
Responding to a taxi industry complaint that UberX was using 600 drivers, but only some had officially approved safety-checked vehicles, a company spokesman said: “All UberX driver-partner vehicles have passed a safety inspection by an independent third party vehicle inspector”.
But the company named by Uber is not approved under strict government rules.
The Uber spokesman could not say how many vehicles had been given approved safety checks, but The Advertiser understands many have been rushed through this week after conflict erupted at Adelaide Airport last week, and the number now stands at 100.
The revelations come as the Taxi Council of South Australia meets with Adelaide Airport on Thursday to check on the progress of conditions drivers sought and were granted after the introduction of UberX to the airport last week.
There were angry scenes last Thursday as cabbies blockaded the airport and demanded equal treatment for the global ride-sharing giant.
Taxi Council of South Australia President Jim Triantafyllou warned checks not done by an approved safety inspector could be substandard and the State Government would not know.
“Is this checking being done with the same scrutiny as is done for taxi vehicles, or is it some bastardised system they are using?’’ he said.
Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan said the entire UberX fleet could have been approved for the road over the past four months using approved safety checks since the company had agreed to comply with South Australian laws.
He said in March, Uber had agreed to have its vehicles approved at an authorised inspection station.
“It is disappointing that only a small number of Uber vehicles have gone through the inspection system,’’ he said.
“Both authorised inspection stations have capacity to inspect approximately 100 cars a day, there has been ample opportunity for the entire UberX fleet to be inspected and cleared to operate.’’
UberX had claimed only 55 vehicles per week could be processed at the two inspection stations.
Taxi owner of 26 years, Tony Campestre, used the Uber-approved checking station to compare the rigour it applied to private ride-sharing cars with that used by the RAA and Rightway Automotive.
“They took 10 minutes and my new taxis, brand new, take 45 minutes to pass a brand-new car and on a hoist,’’ he said.
The Advertiser has not named the checking station because it is approved for standard vehicle safety inspections and also operates interstate, but is not approved for ride-sharing safety check approvals.