Ridesharing - Don't be Conned

15 July 2015 | NSW Taxi Council

Many taxi drivers are being approached to drive for ridesharing organisations. There have been texts and e-mails from ridesharing firms promising money and fortunes to be made; all sounding too good to be true. Don’t be fooled – it is too good to be true.

Reported rideshare driver earnings don't take into consideration the cost of fuel, vehicle wear and tear and hours worked. Rideshare drivers are also now required to register for and pay GST and may be subject to further regulation in future. Rideshare companies often encourage professional drivers onto their platform with a short-term sweetener, but the reality is that they also cut fares permanently for drivers with no right to challenge.

Rideshare companies think that practically anyone can do the job of a professional driver.

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Let’s look at the facts.

Ridesharing services that promote public passenger services for fares without the proper licences and accreditation are illegal. This has been made clear by the NSW Government through a statement attached below. Under law, you must be licenced and accredited to provide public passenger services. To operate outside the law can attract fines up to $110,000 and suspension of licence!

Illegal ridesharing is not car-pooling. Car-pooling is a group of friends and/or colleagues who are heading in the same direction, travelling in the same car and agreeing to share the cost of fuel. The recent promotions being sent to taxi drivers are for public passenger transport services for fares in private vehicles by private drivers, which is illegal.

As an "independent contractor" with a rideshare company, you have no rights and, as is happening in the US, the company decides when it wants to cut driver pay and by how much - in some cases up to 30% effective immediately.

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Illegal Ridesharing Services Take Away Your Livelihood

People providing illegal ridesharing services are taking away your legitimate fares.  You work hard to become a professional taxi driver and go through rigorous compliance checks and training. Illegal ridesharing services undermine professional taxi services and take the fares you would otherwise earn. 

The Insurance Council of Australia has warned that as a rideshare driver, you're likely to be underinsured or not covered at all in the event of accident or injury 

What is the Government Doing About Illegal Ridesharing?

The NSW Government through Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) is continuing to crack down on illegal ridesharing services. 

Currently, drivers caught providing illegal rideshare services in NSW and Victoria are facing prosecution in court, subject to the aforementioned $110,000 fines as well as suspension of licence.

Don’t be tempted otherwise you too will be caught.

What is the NSW Taxi Council Doing About Illegal Ridesharing Services?

The Taxi Council have been very active in all forms of media, i.e. radio, television, newspapers, and social media ensuring that the general public and the Government are aware of the risks of using illegal ridesharing services.

We are in ongoing contact with the RMS and alerting them to any reports that we have on illegal ridesharing activities.

We are writing to and meeting with Government representatives to help make them aware of this issue and problems illegal ridesharing services create for the public and the taxi industry.

In short we are asking the Government to uphold the law and apply it equally to all members of the public.

Good Service to the Public is Critical

Keeping our customers happy through good service is essential. Getting into a non-accredited car with an unauthorised driver is not appealing to the vast majority of the travelling public. People understand the need to have a well managed and well regulated taxi industry.

Don’t let your customers be tempted to use illegal ridesharing services due to poor customer service. We must all work hard to keep our customers happy.

Read the NSW Government statement confirming that ridesharing is illegal.