Government threatens legal action for Sydney UberX drivers
UberX drivers in Sydney are now being issued with warning letters from the government threatening legal action and significant fines if they continue to drive for the ridesharing service.
After facing resistance at home in San Francisco and an angry backlash from taxi drivers in Paris, UberX is facing stronger opposition in Australia as drivers for the ridesharing service are issued with official warnings from the government.
Drivers found offering ridesharing services through UberX in the state of Victoria have already been hit with AU$1,700 fines ($1,587, £935) by the Victorian Taxi Services Commission; now New South Wales UberX drivers are facing the same treatment.
One Sydney UberX driver took to the Whirlpool online forum to share a letter sent by Roads and Maritime Services, a division of the NSW Government Transport department.
In the letter, signed by RMS Manager of Public Vehicle Investigations Tracey Lane, the driver is warned that "The Uber X services are provided by unauthorised drivers in unaccredited and unlicensed vehicles" and that UberX contravenes the state's Passenger Transport Act.
"Roads and Maritme is in receipt of information that you may be operating a public passenger service without the appropriate authorisation, accreditation and licence," the letter read.
"Roads and Maritime view matters of this nature very seriously. You are advised that legal action may be taken against any person found to be illegally providing public passenger services."
The letter then includes an excerpt of the Passenger Transport Act 1990, which lists the "maximum penalty" for persons found carrying on a private hire vehicle service without accreditation or licence as AU$110,000 ($102,667, £60,527).
It's not the first time Uber has come under fire from Australian authorities.
The chair of the state-operated Victorian Taxi Services Commission has previously taken to radio to warn UberX Melbourne drivers that "repeat offenders" found using the service will be prosecuted. In addition to initial AU$1,700 fines, drivers caught more than once also face fines of up to AU$8,000, while magistrates have the "discretion to record a criminal conviction against the driver's name".