Northern Territory is the last place in Australia to make ridesharing legal. The government announced proposed regulations in April 2017. Uber was critical, saying the barriers for entry are too high for most drivers, who only work part time.
The new regulations will come into effect at the end of 2017 and include:
- Criminal history check for drivers and vehicle inspections
- Vehicle licence fee of $300 for Uber cars
- Reduced annual fee for Darwin taxi licence of $5,000 from $20,240 (down 75%)
- $1 levy on all Uber and taxi rides.
The purpose of the levy is to pay for the $4 million cost of the new scheme and to continue the taxi subsidy scheme for people with disabilities. It is the fourth state or territory in Australia to introduce this levy.
Uber recently advertised for drivers in the NT, as well as throughout Australia. The company claims this does not imply it accepts the regulations being proposed. Moreover, Uber is known for being heavy handed in its demands.
Half of Australian Uber drivers work 10 hours or less a week. Under the regulations, Uber says it would cost $600 to put them on the road, “much more” than in the ACT, NSW, Tasmania or Victoria.
Darwin Airport recently announced its masterplan for the next 20 years, which includes support for ridesharing services.
So it seems inevitable that ridesharing will begin this year in the NT.