New taxi service in Australia

A new phone app has recently launched in Australia, allowing regular people to become self-employed taxi drivers. The new service called Uber is available free to the public via smartphone Apps and allows people seeking an inexpensive transport service to request a pickup from their current location. There are many potential advantages to this service, both for people wishing to make some money by driving, and to customers. Perhaps the biggest advantage will be the affordability of the service, with fares generally costing 50 per cent of what they would in a standard taxi. But is the service safe?

The requirements to become a driver for Uber are relatively relaxed. You must be at least 24 years old, have an Australian drivers license, comprehensive insurance, a car which is in excellent condition and less than 9 years old, and most importantly, no criminal record.

A feature of the service that promotes safety and reliability is the ratings system, requesting a rating out of 5 stars after every trip and a comment, if necessary. All of a driver’s former ratings are available online and you can select which driver you would like based on their previous ratings and comments, a feature which is not available with licensed taxi drivers.

Concerns are being raised about the relaxed screening process to become a driver and what would happen in the unfortunate circumstance where a customer was injured during a fare. Uber has responded to this by stating that the service is “backed by third-party liability insurance up to $US5 million per incident”.

The service has been available in the USA for some time and has generally been quite successful. However, it has however been outlawed in some states due to its lack of regulation and safety concerns.

You can get the Uber app now on Google Play or iTunes.

What do you think of this new service? Do you think taxi driving should be left to the professionals, or would you use Uber and take advantage of half price fares?

Written by ryanbo