The taxi industry will face increased competition from Friday, as new laws to regulate controversial ride-sharing service Uber came into effect.
Despite strong opposition taxi drivers, including violent protests, two Australian states have, or plan to, legalise for the service.
The law came into effect in the ACT on Friday, while Tasmania recently announced an intention to embrace and take advantage of sharing-economy businesses such as Uber.
ACT chief minister Andrew Barr told The Canberra Times prospective drivers in the ACT had shown “significant interest”, and that details would be collected from Uber once the laws were implemented.
They required drivers to pass police, health and vehicle checks, and have insurance.
Mr Barr said it would increase competition in the private transport market and by the ride-sharing company’s own estimates that could be up to 35 per cent.
Uber is a growing service, which now operates in almost 60 countries. It allows members of the public to book transport in Uber member vehicles using a smartphone app. No money changes hands – it’s paid for over the internet.
Taxi operators loathe Uber, accusing it of taking their business while not having to pay the same fees or meet the same standards.
Tasmanian premier Will Hodgman will outline how the state plans to embrace and take advantage of sharing-economy businesses such as Uber.
The ride-sharing service is soon to debut in the southern state.
But before it does, Mr Hodgman will on Friday give a State of the State address to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, laying out his legislative agenda.
“My government’s choice is to embrace the change, to manage the challenges it presents, but seize the opportunities too,” the premier said.
He said the government had legislation “in relation to transport services within the sharing economy”, ready to be tabled in 2016.