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500 Northern Rivers locals sign up to be Uber drivers

Taxi drivers have been concerned about the legalisation of Uber.
Taxi drivers have been concerned about the legalisation of Uber. Amber Macpherson and Meghan Kidd

RIDESHARING service Uber has announced it will launch its uberX service in Byron Bay, Ballina and Lismore next week.

Already 500 local residents have signed up to become an Uber driver-partner.

Legalised in NSW this year, Uber has spruiked the fact that it can offer local residents a safe, affordable and reliable way to get from A to B, as well as the opportunity to share rides to earn some extra cash.

From 12pm on Thursday 27 October local residents and visitors will be able to download the Uber app.

With unemployment well above the state average on the North Coast, ridesharing could potentially offer locals extra income. Opportunistic locals, for example, could earn extra cash driving the hoards of Byron Bay festival goers in peak periods.

However, according to Michael Kilpatrick, chairman of Lismore Taxis, said the ride share economy is unlikely to upset most local licensed taxi operators in regional NSW, particularly in Lismore.

"Lismore is an over-serviced area. Our response times are one of the best in the state. We have got it all fairly well covered," he said.

"I don't see Uber taking off in Lismore but it could in tourist areas during peak periods," he said.

"It's caused issues in Sydney. During the siege, Uber drivers were charging $100 to take people out of the CBD. But Lismore is a different atmosphere. But doesn't mean they won't try."

Big in Byron

Henry Greenacre, General Manager, Uber NSW, focused on Uber's potential in Byron Bay.

"The local area historically was under-served by traditional forms of transport, and the local population swelling with hundreds and thousands of visitors during the summer months, ridesharing will help alleviate pressure on the existing transport network and offer a more affordable and reliable way to get around the local area.

"We have also seen across many regional communities that having access to safe, reliable and affordable transport lowers the incidence of drink driving and alcohol related incidents - issues that are particularly felt in communities in the Byron Bay region," he said.

"We believe that ridesharing will be a positive for residents and the local economy, and will contribute to making the Byron Bay area a more livable, economically vibrant and better connected place to be," he said," he said.

Want to share rides?

If you are 21+, have a NSW Driver's Licence and access to a car that is 2007 or newer, you can sign up to drive with Uber. Visit our website at byron.ubermovement.com for more details.



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