From January next year Uber drivers will need to hold a taxi licence, under new regulations introduced on Sunday.
Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey made the announcement in a statement on Sunday. Other changes affecting Uber and any other booked hire service will include improved signage and security in vehicles. A new class of compulsory third-party insurance for booked hire and limousines will also be needed.
“If operators, licence holders, drivers, or any parties in the industry fail to adhere to the new regulatory requirements, we will act swiftly to revoke licences or issue financial penalties as appropriate,” Minister Bailey said in the statement.
Applications opened on the weekend, and ride-hailing drivers need to secure a licence by January 15.
“This allows us to ensure all parties are fit and proper to provide services that are of the high standard that Queenslanders expect when using a taxi or ride-booking service,” Bailey said.
Uber is currently on the defensive in a number of markets worldwide as traditional taxi services lobby governments for tougher regulations. The company’s new chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, is flying to London this week to negotiate a deal that prevents Uber from being banned in the city, which is its largest European market.
In Queensland, the new regulations could be seen as something like mission creep in regard to requirements for drivers; over the past year and a half these have included criminal-history checks, increased signage, GST requirements, vehicle safety inspections and driver-authorisation applications.