HAYLEY SORENSEN, NT News
September 17, 2017 8:51am
THE Northern Territory Government remains locked in a stalemate with
Uber and other ridesharing companies with no sign of a compromise.
Bringing Uber to the Territory was a key election promise from Labor —
in opposition, now-Chief Minister Michael Gunner even took part in a
campaign stunt which saw him deliver ice cream to Darwin residents
alongside the ridesharing service.
But the relationship has since turned frosty, with both sides refusing
to budge on proposed changes to the regulatory framework needed to allow
the company to operate here.
In April, Deputy Chief Minister Nicole Manison announced a suite of
reforms — worked through with a steering committee which included
representatives from Uber — which was intended to open the market to
ridesharing. Those changes were supposed to come into effect this year,
but have been put on hold indefinitely until an operator agrees to set
up in the NT.
Uber spokesman Mike Scott said the proposed model, which would cost
drivers close to $600 to get on the road, more than in most other
jurisdictions, presented “excessive barriers” to potential drivers.
“We’ve been consistent in our position that ridesharing will only work
in the NT if licensing and accreditation for drivers is both affordable
and efficient,” he said.
“We know Territorians are looking for more transport choice, and we
remain open to working with the NT Government.”
Uber has taken particular exception to the proposed $1 ride levy, which
the Government wants to put in place to plug the revenue gap from
planned reductions to taxi licence fees.
Ms Manison said Labor was still committed to bringing ridesharing to the
NT, but indicated the government was unwilling to give in to Uber.
“We believe the regulatory model promotes a fair go for passengers,
drivers and operators,” she said.