Uber has been getting you around Sydney since late 2012, but its cheapest option, UberX, has been technically illegal. Until today.
Following months of lobbying and protests by taxi companies and the industry's governing body, the Baird government has decided to legalise the competitor-service, and will announce a compensation package for taxi licence-holders. The taxi industry's argument centered around the unfairness of UberX drivers not needing to pay for taxi licenses or registration because they drove their own cars. There were safety concerns too; but the NSW government will now regulate the service. Whereas previously Uber had its own in-house safety checks, UberX drivers will pay licence fees, and must ensure their vehicles meet safety requirements.
As reported by Sydney Morning Herald, NSW cabinet has approved a compensation package and will reduce regulatory costs for traditional cab drivers, including payments of up to $20,000 for the 6000 drivers who own perpetual taxi license plates. This follows the ACT’s legalisation of ride-sharing services, including UberX, in October.