blog If you’ve been following the ongoing war between ride-sharing service Uber and Australia’s state governments, you’ve probably gotten the vibe by now that things are getting quite nasty. In Queensland, Uber is fighting a battle in the trenches against inspectors by blocking them from booking its services. And now in Victoria, it has emerged that the company is taking a heavy toll in terms of fine. The Age reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):
“Victoria’s Taxi Services Commission said it had issued 355 infringement notices, with fines totalling approximately $594,000 to “persons operating without the appropriate accreditation and using an unlicensed vehicle in connection with the uberX service”.”
To my mind, this action by Uber is something akin to corporate heroism. Its customers want to use its services, and so it is continuing to provide services that customers want, despite the fact that the Victorian Government is essentially trying to shut it down at the moment.
There is some validity to the argument that Uber is flaunting the law in Victoria and other states by continuing to provide services that are non-compliant. But it’s also true that the company cannot merely stand still and wait for two years while state governments get their regulatory house in order.
It’s good to see fast-moving innovators like Uber continuing to push the boundaries and force governments into improving the law to deal with new technologies. At the end of the day, Australia wants ride-sharing services to exist because they are a useful innovation. Victoria and other states can either follow the sensible ACT Government approach and regulate this kind of service in a health manner… or continue to face the embarrassment of Uber defying the law.