An UberX driver in Victoria has been fined $900 after being found guilty of driving a hire care without a licence or proper registration.
The year-long test case against the ride sharing service now has the potential to affect a dozen other drivers facing similar charges
Fairfax Media reports Nathan Brenner was found guilty on two of three charges in the Melbourne Magistrates Court. The third charge was struck out as a duplication. No conviction was recorded. His lawyer plans to appeal the verdict.
But the decision effectively declares UberX as illegal in Victoria at a time when Canberra has just legalised Uber and the NSW government is believed to be heading in the same direction.
While Roads & Maritime Services in New South Wales launched prosecutions against UberX drivers earlier this year, they were withdrawn in July as the Baird government asked an independent panel to review public transport options amid the growing popularity of ridesharing.
Victoria also had a ministerial forum which was favourable towards Uber’s arrival, but the government has yet to respond to the recommendations put to the minister.
The Taxi Services Commission launched legal action against 13 drivers last year, alleging they were operating a commercial passenger vehicle without a licence undercover operation and Brenner was chosen as a test case.
In a statement issued to Business Insider, Uber said it was disappointed with the ruling and will continue to support Brenner as he appeals this decision.
“We will also continue to support the 6,000 uberX driver partners in Victoria who are providing a service that has been chosen by half a million people in Melbourne and Geelong. It is important to acknowledge that this matter is related to one individual and the unique circumstances of his case. Uber will continue to operate in Victoria,” the company said.
“This should be a policy decision for Government not a matter for the courts. Government needs to quickly create a regulatory framework for ridesharing rather than wasting further taxpayer money targeting everyday Victorians through the courts.”
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