Recently, the NSW Point to Point Transport Commission audit found that Uber failed to inform the regulator of more than 500 serious incidents over 18 months. These incidents included sexual assaults and crashes that resulted in hospitalisation. This is a systematic safety failure.
Uber has been fined over $200,000 for failing to meet legislated safety requirements.
Rod Barton MP has been the lone voice in the Victorian parliament in warning of the gig economy, in particular, multi-national corporations like Uber who export up to 30% of their revenue overseas and into the pockets of Silicon Valley billionaires.
Uber has been the trojan horse for the gig economy. We are now seeing the consequences of this as more gig businesses are taking hold. We now have Amazon Flex, a service likened to the Uber exploitative workers model in the courier industry where workers are given a 4-hour block to deliver a set of packages. They must cover the cost of the vehicle, petrol, insurance, and superannuation themselves. This service, like Uber, is said to offer ‘flexibility’, yet drivers feel the pressure that they will be terminated from the app if they refuse to work unrealistic deadlines.
Barton believes the NSW Commission audit of Uber is incredibly damning. This is not a mere clerical error. Uber has the resources to abide by safety requirements, conduct internal reviews and ensure that they are operating within the law, yet they choose not to.
While the NSW regulator is holding Uber to account for their non-compliance and has issued $200,000 in fines, the Victorian regulator, the CPVV have extended the Multi-Purpose Taxi Program (MPTP) to Uber. The question must be asked, is Uber a fit and proper entity to be operating in this market? This allows Uber to offer government subsidised rides to Victoria’s most vulnerable while having no requirements to install tamper-proof cameras and other safety measures in the vehicle, as is required for all taxis.
NSW Labor’s gig economy spokesperson Daniel Mookhey told the Sydney Morning Herald in response to the safety audit that, ‘If we can’t trust Uber to operate safely, the government shouldn’t let Uber operate.’ Barton certainly agrees.
Barton calls on the Victorian Transport Minister Ben Carroll to conduct an immediate safety audit on all rideshare operators, especially Uber, given their form.
Safety should not be negotiable.
Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Metropolitan and the Leader of the Transport Matters Party Rod Barton MP:
“You would have to be incredibly naïve to think that Uber is behaving any differently in Victoria compared to how they have in New South Wales.”
“This NSW safety audit of Uber shows just how complacent the Victorian regulator is when it comes to passenger safety. I have seen no evidence that suggests the CPVV have conducted a safety audit on rideshare operators in Victoria to this extent.”
“Sexual assaults have occurred during Uber rides and yet Uber has not reported these serious incidences to authorities. How can we trust them to do right by Victoria’s most vulnerable?”
Media contact: Norm Dunn, Chief of Staff Rod Barton MP, 0438 175 113 Norm.firstname.lastname@example.org