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Canberra to legalise ride-sharing services as UberX cruises into town

Canberra and the rest of the ACT will introduce a system of legislation and accreditation for ride-sharing services such as UberX, heralding a shake-up of the traditional taxi system.


The Australian Capital Territory this week will formally announce a number of changes to its transport network legislation creating a legal framework for ride-sharing apps, such as UberX, to operate.

The Canberra Times reports that the changes will be announced on Wednesday by Chief Minister Andrew Barr and Greens Minister Shane Rattenbury and will be part of a broader review of the ACT taxi industry.

This is in sharp contrast to the NSW Government which just this week issued 40 license suspensions to UberX drivers via the Roads and Maritime Services.

The move comes as UberX prepares to begin offering its services in Canberra at the end of October. 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.

In order to keep the taxi industry competitive, the ACT Government will lower the annual taxi license fee from AU$20,000 to AU$5,000 by 2017. Hire car licence fees will also drop from AU$4,600 to AU$100. UberX drivers will need to pass an accreditation which will cost AU$50 per person, as well paying a licence fees of AU$100 a year or AU$400 for five years.

Uber responded to the news with considerable jubilation, saying in a blog post that the company was "thrilled" by ACT Government's decision and hoped that it would "lead the way for other State and Territory Governments to follow suit."

Uber was contacted for comment regarding the requirement for UberX drivers to pass an accreditation a course but had not responded at the time of writing.

Canberra will be the first Australian city to open its roads to ride-sharing drivers and the first capital city in the world to do so.