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WA MPs condemn ride-share company Uber

Daniel Mercer stating in The West Australian on Thursday, 20 September 2018 makes it clear that State Government MPs have torn strips off ride-sharing company Uber, labelling it a “cheat” and a “law breaker” ahead of moves to legalise its operations in WA.

With the Lower House set to vote on the Government’s “on-demand transport” reforms this week, Labor MPs used a debate on Tuesday night to condemn the US company that prompted the shake-up.

Girrawheen MLA Margaret Quirk accused Uber and companies like it of callousness, saying they thumbed their nose at laws and “expect to get off scot-free”.

Under the Government’s plans, it will impose a levy on all taxi and on-demand transport rides taken in the city to fund a buyback for taxi plate owners who have been hurt by the arrival of Uber.

The levy will apply at a rate of 10 per cent of “total fare revenue”.

Uber had proposed a lower, 5 per cent levy as an alternative, however Transport Minister Rita Saffioti rejected the idea.

“The other thing I want to put on record is that disrupters like Uber are cheats and lawbreakers and it should not be able to benefit,” Ms Quirk told Parliament.

“It is important, for example, that the levy is applied across the board. It is just not on for it to disrupt the industry and then to expect to get off scot-free.

“I think that is an issue.”

Janine Freeman, the Labor MP for Mirrabooka, claimed Uber did not care about its drivers or passengers and was motivated purely by profit.

“Uber has no interest whatso-ever in its drivers,” she said.

“Frankly, I do not think it has much interest in its passengers.

“Uber will hit up people for extra payments if they drive in high-demand periods and passengers have to accept that.

“I think we have to see Uber for what it is, and that is an organisation that simply does not want to service our community.

“It just wants to profit from our community.”

An Uber spokeswoman defended the company’s practices and reputation, saying that drivers and consumers were choosing to use the service.

“More than 500,000 West Australians have embraced ride-sharing with Uber as a reliable and affordable way to get around,” the spokeswoman said.

“We have worked with Governments across Australia, including recently the WA Government on the development of reforms to on-demand transport that recognise ride-sharing as a key part of the transport mix and help get more people into fewer cars.

“We want driver partners to be successful when using the Uber app which is why we are investing in innovations to encourage more riders to choose the app, and proactively share information about when and where the best times to drive are.”


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