It's a very reliable rumour...
WA Government to prosecute 37 Uber drivers
THE State Government is pushing ahead with court proceedings to prosecute 37 Uber drivers despite new laws to legalise the rideshare scheme coming into effect this week.
Last Wednesday, an Uber driver was ordered to pay $14,000 in court costs and fined $400 after failing to a produce taxi licence.
The driver was also handed a suspended conviction for the offence, which dates back to February last year.
Uber Perth general manager Tom White would not comment on whether the company funded the driver's court costs and fine, but said he would support him if he chose to appeal.
"As new regulations that recognise ridesharing finally come into effect in our state next week, it would be very surprising if the Government chose to waste even more taxpayer money targeting everyday West Australians through the courts," he said.
The remaining 37 outstanding prosecutions also relate to rideshare drivers who were unable to produce documents authorising the use of their vehicle as a taxi when requested by police.
According to the Department of Transport, the official charge is "failing to comply with a lawful requirement of an authorised officer" under the Taxi Act 1994.
A Department of Transport spokeswoman welcomed the court decision and said the department would continue to "monitor and investigate unlicensed transport operators".
She also warned "the appropriate actions will be taken" if there is sufficient evidence of an offence.
Laws introducing reforms such as new rideshare licences and reduced taxi licence fees start tomorrow.
Transport Minister Dean Nalder has also flagged introducing a $1 a trip levy for rideshare customers to compensate taxi plate owners whose business suffered with the introduction of Uber.
But a recent study carried out by Lonergan Research shows 73 per cent of West Australians are against a $1 levy to subsidise taxi losses.
According to the study survey, about 56 per cent of West Australians surveyed for the study said taxi plate owners should not be compensated at all.
Mr White said the State Government's transport reforms were supposed to open up more affordable transport choices and economic opportunity.
"We believe that when transport is made as affordable as possible, people will choose new ways to get around their cities, including leaving their own cars at home, and we will continue to advocate for our riders and driver-partners to government."