NORTHERN TERRITORY Taxi drivers already feeling the heat after Uber’s Darwin launch

WILL ZWAR, NT News
TAXI drivers want to remind Top End ride sharers that they are still in town providing their service.
Uber’s launch has already affected local cab drivers but it isn’t the competition they’re concerned with.
Darwin Radio Taxis driver George Papantonakis has been driving his taxi for 30 years and said rules and regulations needed to be fairer to keep taxis on the roads.
“Uber’s wanting to start up – fair enough, we’re not scared of competition, we love competition, but do it legally and give everybody a fair go,” he said.
“What we need is to be on an equal level playing field with Uber. The Government’s not doing that.”
But commercially it has also taken a toll on taxi drivers, who need the public’s support to get through the initial stages of the Uber launch.
“We are down on our takings, but we’re going to get through it because we are a resilient mob up here,” Mr Papantonakis said.
“We are going to persevere, as long as the public and the customers out there give us a chance to provide a service.”
Mr Papantonakis said the registration fee was a big drawcard for drivers to work through Uber, but it didn’t create a fair system.
“They’ve got a lower commercial licence fee – we need that same fee,” he said.
“At the moment we’re paying $5000 per year, and they are paying $300 a year.
“If they drop it down to $300 we will comply and work much better – at the moment we are unfairly damaged by the Government.”
Uber has only been active in Darwin since August 29 and already has at least 50 drivers on Darwin roads.

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