NO GREEN LIGHT
UBER NOT DRIVING OUR WAY JUST YET BUT THE COMPANY IS NOT RULING OUT EXPANDING TO SHEPPARTON
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.