Ride-sharing platform UberX was legalised in NSW on Thursday afternoon making it the second Australian state to do so after the ACT.
The Baird government also rolled out a compensation plan for taxi drivers which is understood to include payments of $20,000 as drivers will see the price of their plates drop dramatically.
‘Customers, taxi and hire car operators, drivers and new entrants have all made clear they want change and today we are making it happen,’ Transport Minister Andrew Constance said on Thursday.
Traditional taxis will still have exclusive rights to the airport, taxi ranks, and to pick up passengers straight off the street.
‘These reforms are expected to blow the doors of innovation wide open for ‘booked’ services, where customers can track their driver, provide direct feedback, hold them more accountable and choose from accessible price points,’ Mr Constance said.
‘All up the reform package equates to $30 million each year in reduced regulatory costs for the industry.
‘By taking regulatory and cost pressure off the industry and unlocking more point to point services, we expect to create hundreds of new jobs over the next few years,’ Mr Constance added.
The changes mean ride-sharing drivers will have to cover more costs associated with licences, training, and undergo more vigorous security checks.
The announcement also repealed more than 50 taxi and hire car regulations.
David Rohrsheim, General Manager of Uber ANZ, applauded the NSW government’s decision to introduce ridesharing regulations.
‘This important step forward is an incredible reflection of the way Sydneysiders have embraced ridesharing over the past 18 months,’ he said in a statement.
‘Thanks to the support of half a million Sydney uberX riders and over 5,500 driver-partners, the Government has recognised your right to choose how you get around your city and to access flexible work that fits around your life.’
‘We applaud the Government’s leadership in listening to the people of New South Wales and embracing the future,’ he said.
.Ridesharing is not only revolutionising the transportation status quo but also helping make Sydney a more economically vibrant, better connected and more sustainable city,’ Mr Rohrsheim added.
Currently NSW has almost 7100 taxi driver plates, which have been sharply declining in value in recent years.
Taxi’s exclusive rights over Sydney airport will continue, as UberX does not allow users to request vehicles from any airport in the Australian cities it operates in as drivers have not paid a licence fee for picking up.
An Uber spokesman told Daily Mail Australia earlier this year the policy was in keeping with rules such as that of Sydney’s airport that ride sharing was not allowed.
However, Uber users can be dropped off at the airports, and Uber Black vehicles – different to UberX – can pick up. They can do so because they are licenced differently.