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Calls for urgent Uber review after London ban

The Australian [23/9/2017] — London’s decision to ban Uber has sparked calls for an audit of the ride sharing service in Australia, with the Transport Workers Union calling on federal and state governments to probe the Silicon Valley tech giant.

On Friday Transport for London cited “a lack of corporate responsibility” and said Uber could undermine public safety and security, declaring it won’t issue Uber a new licence when its current one expires September 30.

TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon said on Monday he will write to state and federal transport ministers to seek a nationwide audit of Uber, co-ordinated by the Council of Australian Governments.

“We want Uber to continue operating in Australia, but only if it can meet community expectations about safety and fairness, both for drivers and consumers,” Mr Sheldon said.

Meanwhile the Australian lobby group Ride Share Drivers United this week endorsed local Uber rival GoCatch, after it increased base rates for drivers, following a RSDU strike.

GoCatch is effectively Uber’s only competition in Australia, and was launched here in 2011 before Uber had arrived. It allows customers to book and pay for taxi rides with a mobile app.

“GoCatch has, within days of RSDU strike announcement, increased their base rates to sustainable levels, equally and Australia-wide, responding to drivers’ concerns and becoming the first Australian platform that abandoned Uber exploitative business model and gave their drivers the tools to earn more while making better business decisions,” RSDU head ‘Max B’ said in an emailed statement.

“GoCatch are an Aussie company, they pay their own share of GST and charge drivers only 15 per cent commission (as opposed to Uber’s exorbitant 25 per cent commission). Furthermore, GoCatch recently introduced a new feature in their app which gives the drivers a fare cost estimate before driving to the passenger pick up point. This new addition together with GoCatch excellent new sustainable base rates clearly put GoCatch as the best partner when it comes to rideshare operators in Australia.

The lobby group boss said GoCatch does not use ‘unfair’ dynamic surge pricing, and the group is recommending GoCatch to all its drivers.

“We will not tolerate Uber exploitative conduct in this country and will continue to work hard on ensuring Australian fair work standards are respected and met by all operators.”

Uber was contacted for comment.   [click here to read the full article]

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