North Coast Uber drivers 'blatantly' breaking the law

CHEEKY Uber drivers using the Byron Bay taxi rank or picking up passengers who hail them in the street are blatantly breaking the law, according to a Byron Bay rival company of the US dotcom.

Local company GoByron says Queensland-based Uber drivers making cross-border trips to cash in on the weekend demand for "ridesharing" are also operating illegally unless they have a NSW drivers' licence.

"Even if a car is registered in Queensland, it can't pick up someone in Byron and take them to Queensland (unless) they have a NSW driver's licence or drivers' authority," GoByron's Matthew Dokter said.

Mr Dokter said ridesharing had been stuck in legal limbo for some time but that changed in December when the NSW Government moved to legalise it.

However, drivers must meet several requirements to be eligible, including having appropriate insurance, licences, and criminal and medical checks.

It is also illegal for rideshare drivers to either use taxi ranks or be hailed on the street - they can only legally be booked through a ridesharing app.

GoByron recently launched its own custom app in an effort to tap into the growing demand for Uber-style services, both from drivers and riders.

The company also rebranded itself, combining two longstanding companies including Byron Bay Taxis and Byron Bay Limousines plus its new ridesharing service under one banner.

Mr Dokter welcomed the advent of ridesharing but said it needed to be done properly.

"The difference between us and Uber.... is they let you know what you need to do legally, but they don't follow up," he said.

"What we do is walk our candidates through that process. The whole process to get them actually qualified is about a month."

Mr Dokter also argued that Uber also didn't provide a safety net for drivers.

"With Uber, there is no one tracking that person. If that passenger or that driver was in trouble, there is no call to come to that person's aid," he said.

"We have 30 cars on the road, and dispatch knows where each one is, and they are all connected, they have a two-way system.

"We know where every one of our cars are... if someone needs help you'll have vehicles at your location within minutes."

Uber and the RMS have been contacted for comment.



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