South Australia’s taxi industry isn’t happy with the new Uber laws

Photo: Robert Prezioso/ Getty Images.

The South Australian government announced new rules today to legalise Uber and other ride sharing services as part of it.

But the local taxi industry isn’t happy about the changes, with Chris Cudsi, general manager of Australia’s biggest fleet, 13CABS, slamming the new laws.

“The assertion from Premier Jay Weatherill that the reforms offer a level playing field is completely unfounded,” Cudsi said.

“Instead we are seeing less regulation for ridesharing and a minimal shift in regulation applied to taxis.

“The government is essentially crippling local business and providing unfair advantages to a multinational player with questionable taxation practices.”

Gudsi said regulation of taxi fares still applies, but not for rideshare pricing. Training and licensing costs will also be less for rideshare drivers, he added.

As part of the new changes, the state’s 1137 taxi licence plate holders will each receive $30,000 by the state government, funded by a extra $1 levy on all taxi and ride share fares.

On top of that, taxi fares will increase across the board from July 1, as well as a further 20% tariff on Friday and Saturday nights.

Rules have also been relaxed around what cars can be used as cabs, to include smaller four door models such as the Toyota Corolla or Hyundai i30, bringing down vehicle costs.

New licences will be frozen over the next five years and taxi drivers will still have exclusive rights to hail passengers and use ranks, while Uber drivers won’t be allowed at airports.

While the details have yet to be revealed, it will also be much more costly and take longer for a ride-share driver to be accredited than in other states.

The South Australian compensation deal is 50% more generous than the New South Wales offer, which is paying taxi plate owners $20,000, capped at two plates per person. NSW is spending $250 million on industry restructing, also funded by a $1 levy on all taxi and ride sharing fares.

It is also much easier and cheaper for ride sharing drivers to get accredited in NSW, with just a $45 fee and a few days to process after security and car checks.

South Australia’s new ride sharing rules will come into play on July 1.