As popular ride-sharing business Uber continues to grow rapidly throughout Australia, one Sydney hire car owner has decided to fight back, taking the law into his own hands by making legal citizen’s arrests against UberX drivers.
Hire car owner Russell Howarth, who attempted to “arrest” a male UberX driver in central Sydney last week, said he’s carried out a slew of citizen’s arrests on other drivers after being fed up by the state’s inability to stop the innovative new competitor’s operations, the SMH reported.’
Despite the NSW government’s position that UberX services – drivers providing taxi services using private vehicles – are illegal and threatening drivers with fines and court action, the company continues to expand, adding 1100 new Australian drivers in the past month.
Howarth, who last month told Gizmodo Australia this “isn’t a stunt” said he’s already made eight arrests which are legal under NSW law.
The driver who Howarth tried to apprehend began work with UberX four months ago when he was between jobs.
“I got sick and tired of going for interviews. Everybody said I’m over 50, I’m unemployable,” he said.
“I was just joking with my kids about that – dad’s unemployable – and then I saw an ad on Facebook.”
The taxi and hire car industry is banding together to take action against the likes of UberX, with drivers using messenger app ‘Telegram’ to discuss ways in which to deter ride-sharing drivers.
“My suggestion is throwing eggs at all UberX,” one driver said over the weekend. “If every cabbies carry two eggs on their shift and whenever we see them throw it.”
Fairfax Media reported other drivers were sharing driver’s license plate numbers, planning boycotts at Sydney Airport and penning protest letters.
Australian Taxi Driver Association president Michael Jools said there’s a “huge” amount of anger and concern emerging within the taxi driver community.
“You have all these guys ready to take up arms – almost in a literal sense,” Jools said.
In an emailed statement Uber said:
“UberX partners are providing safe, reliable transportation. The government is yet to set any standards for ride-sharing. We’re calling on governments to remove this ambiguity around how people can share rides in their own personal cars.”