February 10, 2017 5:00am
A FAR Northern politician says Uber is welcome in Cairns – but only on the same level playing field as the taxi industry.
The controversial ridesharing service has been urging its users to get in touch with local MPs to convince them not to support Katter’s Australia Party and One Nation’s plans to outlaw the service.
The Palaszczuk Government legalised ride-sharing services, such as Uber last year, despite strong opposition from the taxi industry.
Cairns MP Rob Pyne, who has previously supported a crackdown on Uber, said he was happy for the company to come to the city, but only on a “level playing field” as Cairns Taxis.
“They can pay for their plates, they can pay to put cameras in their vehicles,” he said.
“They can make sure they have been tested for Blue Cards and all of those regulatory requirements that taxis comply with.”
Uber has been advertising on its website for Cairns drivers, however the independent Member for Cairns cautioned those wanting to be employed by the transport provider.
“I know some people think this is an employment opportunity for them, but I think people need to look at what’s happened in other areas, where they’ve tried to make a living working for Uber, only to find out they were taken advantage of and getting paid $4 an hour.”
An Uber spokesman said ridesharing had been a “game-changer” in the state’s southeast, providing more transport choice for 580,000 Queenslanders and flexible income-earning opportunities for 9000 driver-partners.
“We want to ensure the benefits of competition and increased transport choice can also flow to North Queensland communities,” he said.
“That’s why we’re asking thousands of Cairns locals, who have already signed up to ride or drive with Uber, to tell their politicians how they feel about proposals that would prevent ridesharing from coming to the region.”
Uber previously tested the local market in 2015, delivering ice cream “on demand” to Cairns users as part of a worldwide publicity stunt.