Caveat Emptor, “let buyer beware”

Rod Barton MP

Rod Barton MP is urging those who are thinking of using Uber as part of the Multi-Purpose Taxi Program (MPTP) to be cautious.

Those using Uber may be subject to surge pricing. Surge pricing exploits demand by charging passengers multiple times the usual fare. Surge pricing often makes Uber fares far in excess of what a taxi fare would be.

We have seen this time and time again. If a train station is closed, it has been reported that Uber has charged $120 for a 7-kilometre ride. This pricing system is in place to ensure that rides always go to those who can afford to pay. If you cannot afford the fare, Uber expects you to wait.

There are no warnings on the Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria website of Uber’s surge pricing policy.

This is a huge leap from the pricing system in place for taxis. The Essential Services Commission determines maximum taxi fares, meaning you can rest assured you will not be taken advantage of.

Not only does surge pricing exploit demand to the detriment of passengers, but Ubers are not required to have basic safety features in place. While taxis are required to have fixed tamper proof security cameras and a tamper-proof GPS system only accessible to police and the regulator, Uber is not required to have any such features. This means that Uber drivers can simply turn off the Uber app to stop tracking and no video footage is available to hold drivers accountable to their actions.

Barton encourages anyone who is considering using an Uber as part of the MPTP to think carefully. This is a huge multi-national company from Silicon Valley that takes up to 30% of all fare revenue offshore.

Buyers Beware, Caveat Emptor. When booking a ride through the MPTP program on Uber make sure you know how much you’re paying.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Metropolitan and the Leader of the Transport Matters Party Rod Barton MP:

“I think Uber has shown they are not always a good corporate citizen. I am deeply concerned about the lack of safety protections in place as well as surge pricing that can cause significant financial distress.”

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