Ride-sharing services like UberX are no longer exclusively for outlaws and devil-may-care renegades following a Baird government decision to legalise them.
Yes, regular law-abiding folk can now choose the taxi alternative without fear of reprisal from overzealous law enforcement.
Perhaps anticipating that the move would leave some screaming "Oh, won’t somebody think of the taxi drivers," the government’s decision includes a compensation package for around 6,000 owners of taxi licence plates in perpetuity, including payments of $20,000.
According to Fairfax Media, the transfer value of a taxi licence plummeting by 25 per cent in the last month to $228,500 – following a high of $425,000 in late 2011 – as Uber has expanded its operations.
The government’s move will make life a little harder for wannabe ride-sharing drivers by forcing them to pay licence fees to operate, as well as ensuring that their vehicles must reach safety requirements.
There are concerns that these licence fees will discourage drivers from operating, as well as driving up the cost of ride-sharing services for passengers – the comparatively low cost of UberX is a big part of its appeal.
While premier Mike Baird has said he wants to create a "level playing field," the new legislation risks undermining what has made UberX so popular in the first place.