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Ridesharing: Legal from 30 Oct. in ACT

HerCanberra Team

The ACT is Australia’s first jurisdiction to regulate ridesharing, and Canberra will be the first capital in the world to enable ridesharing to operate legally.

As a result, Uber and other ridesharing businesses will be able to legally enter the Canberra market from 30 October 2015. The ACT Government regulatory reforms will give Canberrans access to safe, flexible and affordable ridesharing services, while also reducing costs for taxi drivers, owners and passengers.

Ridesharing in the ACT will allow accredited drivers to carry passengers through services such as Uber.

This will improve travel options for Canberrans, reduce fares for the community through competition, and drive further innovation in the demand responsive transport industry.

We asked Canberra women in early August how they felt about the possibility of ridesharing coming to Canberra. The response was mostly positive, with some trepidation as to the regulations.

The landmark reforms, an Australian first and innovative in a global context, will be delivered in two stages.

The first stage will allow the regulated entry of ridesharing into the Canberra market, and deliver an immediate reduction of fees for taxis and hire cars, from 30 October. The second stage will include a customised CTP and property insurance regime for rideshare activity and further reductions in regulatory burdens for taxis.

Ridesharing vehicles and drivers will undergo accreditation and registration, including criminal and driving history checks – just like taxi drivers. Vehicles must be checked for safety, and rideshare will be fully insured, ensuring safety for passengers, drivers and the community.

The ACT Government recognises that new business models may put pressure on Canberra’s existing taxi drivers and owners.

That’s why from 30 October the Government will reduce costs for drivers and owners of taxis, halving taxi licence lease fees in 2016 and halving them again in 2017.  Annual licence fees for hire cars will also be significantly reduced.

These reforms champion innovation and help taxi and hire car services remain sustainable and important modes of travel in the Territory. Canberra’s taxi drivers will have access to multiple modes of business, from traditional rank-and-hail work to ridesharing and third-party taxi booking apps.

This will increase productivity and income streams for drivers while providing a consistent and high-quality on-demand transport service for Canberrans.

The Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Transport Reform, Shane Rattenbury, said that taxi industry reform is part of broader reform to public transport, with benefits to the economy, the community and the environment.

“Public transport is an integral part of any city. These reforms are a win for Canberrans and those travelling to the Territory, improving access to diverse transport options and competitive pricing,” Minister Rattenbury said.

“Taxis and other demand-responsive transport options are important for accessibility and social equity, and are often relied on by those with special transport needs.”

“These reforms do not change the current arrangements – the wheelchair accessible taxi service booking system and the Taxi Subsidy Scheme are unchanged.”

 

More information on the Taxi Industry Innovation Reforms, including public submissions received as part of the community consultation, will be available from 11:00am today. Visit: www.act.gov.au/taxi-industry-reforms.

 

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