New South Wales Roads and Maritime Services has issued 40 suspension notices to the registered owners of vehicles that have been "involved in ride-sharing services."
The suspensions targeted UberX drivers. UberX is the ride-sharing arm of the popular Uber hire car and taxi service. UberX allows for private car owners to offer rides for a fee, one that is usually lower than traditional taxi costs.
The service has attracted more than its fair share of controversy with traditional taxi council groups suggesting that there are potential safety risks associated with using UberX. Both the Victorian and New South Wales State Governments have come out against the ridesharing service, saying itcovering the provision of taxi and private hire car services.
Roads and Maritime has previously taken 24 UberX drivers to court over Taxi Act breaches, but was later forced to drop the charges due to "evidentiary issues" in the end of July. At the time the NSW Government said it would continue to crack down on the ride-sharing service.
The latest suspension notices will take effect from midnight September 30. In a media statement, Roads and Maritime director of safety and compliance Peter Wells said: "If a suspended vehicle is found on the road after 1 October, the vehicle is deemed unregistered and uninsured, with penalties of AU$637 for each offence, increasing to around AU$2,200 if heard in court."
An Uber spokeperson said that the service was "shocked" by the suspensions and called on the NSW government to "put sensible ridesharing regulations in place as quickly as possible."
Referencing the recent dropping of charges against UberX drivers, the spokeperson said that the service was investigating its legal options in regard to the suspensions.
"Roads and Maritime Services did not appear to show these drivers any due process and we are reviewing the legal options to reverse this decision."