Drivers demand their fare share
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.