Uber behind transport jobs growth
UBER’S surging popularity is behind the dramatic growth of the transport sector in Greater Hobart.
That is the view of demographer Bernard Salt, who has outlined his findings in research commissioned by the Mer
cury for its Future Tasmania series.
Mr Salt found there had been a 23 per cent increase in the transport, postal and warehousing sector in Hobart in the 2017-18 financial year.
This compared to a national growth rate of 17 per cent in the same time.
“Australians have embraced Uber,’’ Mr Salt said.
“That next generation has seen it as convenient and are very comfortable in that space, using an app and jumping in and effectively sharing a car.
“There is also the argument that people find it a great way to earn extra income, so it’s something that can be worked as a side hustle.”
Mr Salt predicted the rate of growth to steady.
“It’s coming off a low base,’’ he said.
“It’s certainly carved out a niche in the Australian market and yet again it shows Hobart and Tasmania is on board.”
Uber started in Australia in 2012 and launched in Hobart four years later.
Meanwhile, food delivery service Uber Eats launched in Hobart last year.
Tasmania’s first Uber driver was Hans Willink, whose very first ride was state Premier Will Hodgman, in December 2016.
Mr Willink, a former Army logistics officer, IT consultant and frequent political candidate, told the Mercury yesterday he turned to Uber as part of a pre-retirement transition.
“Initially, it was reasonably lucrative,’’ the 61-year-old said.
But he said there were now many more Uber drivers on the roads.
Mr Willink, who drives most days, said he had heard “anecdotally” there were between 500 and 600 drivers in the Hobart area.
“They may not all be active but, as most people would be aware, they are on virtually every street corner, and you only have to wait a minute or two in Hobart to catch an Uber,’’ he said.
“The flip side to that is the work is sparser and much harder to get from a driver’s perspective.”
Mr Willink said he enjoyed the work and meeting new people.
“It’s like going to a party and meeting a bunch of people, just without the alcohol,’’ he said.
Uber would not confirm how many drivers it had on its books in Tasmania.