NO GREEN LIGHT

UBER NOT DRIV­ING OUR WAY JUST YET BUT THE COM­PANY IS NOT RUL­ING OUT EX­PAND­ING TO SHEP­PAR­TON

Shepparton News - - FRONT PAGE - By BAR­CLAY WHITE

Ride-shar­ing ser­vice Uber has moved fur­ther into re­gional Vic­to­ria, but Shep­par­ton ap­pears to be out of the com­pany’s cur­rent plans.

The Cal­i­for­nian ride-shar­ing com­pany an­nounced ear­lier this week that it would ex­pand into Bendigo and Bal­larat by the end of Oc­to­ber.

The ser­vice cur­rently op­er­ates through­out Mel­bourne as well as the re­gional hubs of Gee­long and Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula.

When con­tacted by The News, an Uber spokesper­son did not rule out an even­tual ex­pan­sion into Shep­par­ton, but said there were no ‘‘cur­rent plans’’ for any move.

‘‘We’ll con­tinue closely mon­i­tor­ing de­mand for ride-shar­ing in a range of re­gional com­mu­ni­ties across Vic­to­ria,’’ the spokesper­son said.

Greater Shep­par­ton Taxis di­rec­tor Rick Madg­wick did not expect Uber to set up shop lo­cally any time soon.

‘‘I think Shep­par­ton would have to have well over 100 000 peo­ple for them to move in . . . ,’’ Mr Madg­wick said.

‘‘And we al­ready have two taxi net­works in Shep­par­ton, it would be very hard for a third to kick off.’’

Cur­rently Uber in Aus­tralia op­er­ates in cities and ar­eas with pop­u­la­tions around or above 100 000 peo­ple, with the ex­cep­tion of By­ron Bay, which has a small pop­u­la­tion but a large inf lux of tourists through­out the year.

Mr Madg­wick is an out­spo­ken critic of Uber, which he de­scribed as an il­le­gal op­er­a­tion that de­stroyed the liveli­hoods of le­git­i­mate busi­nesses.

‘‘Com­pe­ti­tion is good, but they should have to abide by the same terms and con­di­tions that I do, and clearly they do not,’’ he said.

The ride-shar­ing ser­vice has been op­er­at­ing il­le­gally in Vic­to­ria since it launched in Mel­bourne in 2013, but a re­cent bill that passed the up­per house will le­galise Uber and other ride-shar­ing al­ter­na­tives.

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