Uber rejects safety concerns in letter to Transport Ministers

Uber says car-sharing service creates jobs

Uber's mobile app.

Uber's mobile app.

Uber has written to the Transport Ministers of Australia talking up the economic and community benefits of its taxi-hailing app amid state government attempts to regulate its car-sharing service UberX.

Earlier this week, Victoria’s Taxi Services Commission issued a cease-and-desist letter for the UberX service for safety reasons because the service does not require drivers to be accredited. Queensland and New South Wales have also taken action against UberX.

The service has also attracted complaints in several other cities, including recently San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Today's letter coincides with the Australian Transport Ministers' annual meeting.

“Thousands of new jobs have been created in the past two years, with 1100 new ridesharing partner drivers joining the Uber platform every month across Australia,” Uber said in the letter.

“With underemployment one of the biggest challenges facing the Australian economy, Uber provides opportunities for people to supplement their incomes to support their families.”

UberX drivers in Sydney typically work 20 hours per week and earn $2500 per month, it said.

“Uber’s flexibility means partner drivers are fitting the hours that they drive on Uber around their lives and families.”

By promoting car sharing and carpooling, Uber reduces the number of cars on the road and filling up car parks, Uber added.

To the safety concerns, Uber responded that all Uber partner drivers are required to pass a criminal background and driving history review.

“From request to drop-off, the entire Uber experience is geared towards ensuring reliability and safety,” said Uber. “Upon requesting a ride, our technology provides the rider with their driver’s name, photograph, licence plate, vehicle type, and a contact number.”

UberX trips are covered by a US$5 million contingency liability cover as well as the driver’s own full insurance policies.

A feedback system that requires riders and drivers to rate each other ensures high service quality, and the cashless nature of Uber prevents theft, it said.

Adam Bender covers telco and enterprise tech issues for Computerworld and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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