NSW Begins Fining UberX Drivers

The NSW government has begun cracking down on the “ride-sharing” component of the smartphone app Uber by issuing $2500 fines and threatening legal action against motorists who offer the service…

In a letter sent to an unidentified Sydney Uber driver and posted on the broadband forum Whirlpool, Roads and Maritime Services says it is in receipt of information that the driver “may be operating a public passenger service without the appropriate authorisation, accreditation and license”. Roads and Maritime Services confirmed to Fairfax Media that the letter was genuine.

“The information indicates that you obtain requests for travel through the low cost Uber X option on the Uber Australia Pty Ltd phone application,” the letter states. “The Uber X services are provided by unauthorised drivers in unaccredited and unlicensed vehicles.”

It goes on to say that Roads and Maritime Services views matters of this nature “very seriously” and quotes the Passenger Transport Act, which says fines of up to $121,000 can be issued.

“You are advised that legal action may be taken against any person found to be illegally providing public passenger services,” it says. “You are warned that if you are detected offering public passenger services in breach of the Act, then this will result in prosecution action.”

In a statement, a Roads and Maritime Services spokeswoman said motorists providing Uber ride-sharing services were “acting illegally” under the Passenger Transport Act and risked penalties.

“Investigations have determined while Uber is not breaching the Passenger Transport Act 1990 by offering the service, motorists transporting passengers for a fare are,” the spokeswoman said.

Ouch.

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