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Melbourne Uber Drivers Slapped With $1700 Fines; Service Shuts Down 255

beaverdownunder (1822050) writes "Victoria Australia's Taxi Directorate has begun a crackdown on Melbourne Uber drivers, fining them $1700 each for operating a taxi service illegally, with total fines apparently equalling over $50000. In response, Uber has shut down its Melbourne service, and has refused to comment on whether its drivers will be compensated, since Uber told them they were providing a legal service. (Fined Uber drivers could take the company to the state's consumer tribunal: stay tuned!) Uber is set to meet with the Directorate next week but it is likely the demands the Directorate will place on Uber drivers, such as mandatory criminal record checks, vehicle inspections and insurance, will make the service in Melbourne unviable. Meanwhile, the New South Wales government is awaiting a report to determine if Uber drivers operating in that state are doing so illegally, warning that drivers could face substantial fines if they are found to have been operating in breach of the law. In South Australia, it doesn't even appear Uber will get off the ground — the state has made it clear that those who operate as an Uber driver will be driving without being covered by the state's mandatory insurance coverage, essentially de-registering their vehicle and making them liable for fines and license suspension."
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Melbourne Uber Drivers Slapped With $1700 Fines; Service Shuts Down

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  • Enough warning? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by axlash ( 960838 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @09:45AM (#46948547)

    I wonder if the directorate gave the drivers enough of a heads up before the crackdown; if not, that would seem a rather harsh move.

  • Protectionism (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08, 2014 @09:53AM (#46948623)

    Once again, big business and government combine to profit at the expense of individuals.

    Nobody asked me if I wanted to pay for all the red tape surrounding taxi services. If I want to take an informed risk, I should be allowed to have that opportunity.

  • by jittles ( 1613415 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @10:44AM (#46949131)

    Libertarian chooses unregulated cab. Said unregulated cab hits pedestrian. Insurance company of unregulated cab says 'your policy is for personal use only, we are not paying'. Who pays for pedestrian's injuries, the libertarian?

    Why should he? Not like he was driving, nor is the car his property. In the case you describe, the driver is at fault, not the passenger.

    Or are you of the opinion that if you get a ride with a (soon-to-be ex-)friend, and he hits someone, and turns out to have no insurance, that YOU are liable for the injuries?

    That depends. I know someone who sued a passenger in a car for negligence. In this case, the passenger was stone cold sober and let his friend drive him around after having a few too many drinks (blood alcohol more than 3x the legal limit). The driver ran a red light and almost killed my acquaintance. The driver was uninsured and had no assets. The passenger, on the other hand, was insured and had plenty of real world assets. The passenger was at the bar with the driver when they got drunk. The passenger knew the driver was drunk and still let them drive them both around. I can understand someone wanting to hold the passenger accountable for his inaction. In fact, the passenger was held liable. So perhaps the Uber passenger could be liable for the actions of an uninsured driver.

  • Re:Death sentence (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @10:47AM (#46949161) Homepage Journal

    In one of our most crime-riddled cities, we engage in the practice of slugging. This amounts to carpooling without speaking: a slug gets into your car and rides along the way, no conversation, no compensation, because you're going the way they want to go.

    Mostly, this has lower risks than taking a taxi. I don't understand why; more rapes, assaults, and robberies happen in bona-fide taxi service. This offends the rational senses.

  • by bws111 ( 1216812 ) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @11:21AM (#46949577)

    Answer the question: who pays to cover the pedestrian? One option is the driver. Of course, if the driver has little assets (and chances are he would not be driving a cab if he was rich), he can't pay. The only other person involved in this wonderful libertarian world would be the passenger. But, of course, HE couldn't be expected to pay. So that leaves only two choices: either the pedestrian himself is responsible for all his bills (including loss of income, etc), or all of society pays (either through the goverment, or through higher insurance rates for everyone). And if random people and/or all of society are going to have to cover the cost of damage inflicted by a cab driver, then all of society damn well has a right to insist, through (gasp) regulations, that the driver of a cab must demonstrate the financial wherewithall to pay for damage he potentially causes (usually by purchasing insurance).

    Your 'friend' example is stupid, because drivers ARE required to carry insurance. If they don't have insurance, society covers the cost, but the driver has violated a law.

  • Re:Death sentence (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08, 2014 @12:12PM (#46950161)

    Criminal record check is completely unnecessary.

    So.. you would have no problem with not knowing that the person who is "giving you a ride" was twice convicted of rape, and spent some time in the hokey for kidnapping?

    Has he been deemed fit to re-enter society, and is there a record of our transaction? If you think this man is still a danger then your problem is really with the criminal justice system.

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