Driv­ers de­mand their fare share

Cockburn Gazette - - PERTH TAXI DEBATE -

FOR Man­durah Uber driver Michael Kim­ber it’s not just driv­ing a car, it’s re­ward­ing work.

Mr Kim­ber has been an Uber driver for just over two years and said he would not drive a taxi if the ser­vice was banned.

“Driv­ing an Uber is re­ward­ing work. You work your own hours and meet heaps of in­ter­est­ing peo­ple; it’s fun,” he said.

“It is cheap, re­li­able and safe.

“Peo­ple of­ten say they usu­ally drive to the pub or out to din­ner and have drinks, then drive home.

“Now they’re not be­cause it’s cheap to just Uber it.”

Mr Kim­ber said all Uber driv­ers had to go through the same checks as taxi work­ers.

“Po­lice clear­ance, taxi li­cence ve­hi­cle in­spec­tions by Main Roads, in­sur­ance and more,” he said.

“If you owned a shop for eight years and they built a shop­ping cen­tre across the road, is the gov­ern­ment go­ing to buy you out be­cause of your loss of cus­tomers? No, they won’t.”

Mr Kim­ber said the app had not changed much since he joined.

“It is a lot stricter on cars and driv­ers,” he said.

“For ex­am­ple, the driver app uses face-recog­nis­ing soft­ware to ac­ti­vate; if it’s not you, it won’t ac­ti­vate.”

The Ravenswood res­i­dent said he got nice feed­back from his cus­tomers.

“All the time from the peo­ple of Man­durah,” he said.

“I think they are very happy Uber is in town.” PERTH taxi driver Hieu Tran would be ly­ing if he said the in­tro­duc­tion of ride-share op­er­a­tors had not taken its toll on him and his fam­ily.

But for the for­mer elec­tronic tech­ni­cian’s wife and daugh­ter, he said he would have taken his own life.

“I work more than 14 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said.

“Some­times I would like to com­mit sui­cide but I don’t want to leave the (fi­nan­cial) mess for my wife to fix.”

Com­mu­nity News spoke to the Beech­boro fa­ther out­side Perth train sta­tion af­ter a class ac­tion was launched by thou­sands of taxi driv­ers against rideshare gi­ant Uber.

He said Uber started in Perth a year af­ter he took out a big loan to buy a $300,000 taxi li­cence.

The Viet­nam refugee had started in the in­dus­try as a driver about 15 years ago to earn ex­tra money.

“The in­come was good, so I bought a plate as an in­vest­ment for re­tire­ment and leased the taxi out,” he said.

Mr Tran said as a driver he could no longer af­ford the rank fee to be part of a taxi group.

He also had re­ported to the Depart­ment of Trans­port over­seas driv­ers he claimed were abus­ing their work visas by work­ing more hours a week than their al­lowed 20.

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