NSW taskforce to examine Uber-style ridesharing apps

Taskforce will work with transport industry to look at competition in the market

An independent taskforce has been set up by the New South Wales government to look at the future of ridesharing apps, taxis and hire cars in the state.

NSW minister for transport and infrastructure Andrew Constance said the taskforce will work with customers, the taxi industry, hire companies and other stakeholders to look at competition in the market and the impact of emerging technologies.

“The taxi and point to point transport industry is changing rapidly and so are our customers’ expectations,” he said in a statement.

“We know cities around the world are grappling with these changes and in particular, the introduction of new unregulated ridesharing apps. I have made it a priority to get to the bottom of these issues, no matter how complex.”

The NSW government has asked the taskforce to consider the impact of changes to regulation on existing investors and, if necessary, make recommendations on a possible adjustment package. This would include an anti-gaming clause to prevent manipulation of the transport licensing system.

The taskforce will also look at services available for people with disabilities and other groups who rely on community transport and taxis.

NSW residents are invited to make submissions to the taskforce. People can register their interest in making a submission by emailing pointtopoint@transport.nsw.gov.au

The taskforce will report back its recommendations to the NSW government in October.

Uber Australia general manager David Rohrsheim said the establishment of the taskforce is a victory for "competition, consumers and choice."

"Hundreds of thousands of Sydneysiders now rely on Uber ridesharing as a safe, reliable and affordable way to get around their city."

According to Rohrsheim, the ridesharing company will be actively involved in the process.

"We’re calling on riders and drivers to make their voice heard, and ensure that the [NSW] government knows that ridesharing is here to stay."

Earlier this month, NSW Labor leader Luke Foley indicated that he would introduce a private member’s bill later this year to regulate Uber-style ridesharing services in the state.

In the lead up to the NSW state election, Uber encouraged its customers.

Last year police raided Uber's NSW offices and the company has faced fines in multiple states.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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