REGULATING NON-TRADITIONAL TRANSPORT IN THE AGE OF UBER
On 1 February 2018, the Point to Point Transport (Taxis and Hire Vehicles) Act 2016 (NSW) will commence. In addition to regulating the taxi industry, the Act aims to tackle the increasingly popular ride-sharing industry, with services such as "Uber" becoming popularised.
The worldwide emergence of these quasi-taxi services has created a confusion amongst law-makers and lawyers alike, with profound questions as to the regulation of the industry and the proper designation of the paid drivers (whether as contractors or employees) raising eyebrows.
The Act aims to address some of those issues, providing much needed regulation to the growing industry. Part 2, titled "safety of services" requires drivers to eliminate risks for passengers, so far as is reasonably practicable, or otherwise minimise them.
The Act also leaves open the prospect of requiring through "safety standards" for drivers and booking services, such as mandatory licences, qualifications and fitness/medical reporting etc. It remains to be seen whether the government will ultimately avail itself of that potential.
What remains clear is that non-traditional transportation, such as ride-sharing systems, continues to present a challenge for lawmakers. Although the law has been slow to adapt and accept these 21st century alternatives, the Point to Point Transport (Taxis and Hire Vehicles) Act 2016 (NSW) is an attempt to do precisely that.
The full text of the legislation can be found here: https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/act/2016/34/full
Written by Joe Pokoney