Uber Mandurah looks to job creation, but taxi industry fearful

A Mandurah mum who drives for Uber has welcomed the company’s fresh push in the region, but a local taxi company is raising fears jobs could go if residents use the popular ride sharing app.

Debbie Stewart, who goes by the moniker Uber Mum, said she had been driving for Uber for 18 months and chose to drive with the company because it gave her the ability to work only the hours she wanted to work.

The flexibility also gave her the ability to start a businesses designing websites around her Uber hours.

“I’m a single mum, so being able to work around child schedules and not having to pay day care is obviously an advantage,” Ms Stewart said.

She said working for Uber also helped her avoid the dreaded commute to an office.

“I’m fitting my life into my own schedule, it’s that simple,” she said.

“I can just walk up to my driveway, and I’m at work. Simple.”

Ms Stewart said she didn’t have much sympathy for businesses that didn’t keep up with technology.

“When technology advances, if you don't keep on top of that you get left behind,” she said.

“Technology is changing every minute, you need to keep up with it.”

On the hustings: Uber is running a booth at the new Mandurah Forum for the next few weeks, seeking drivers and user for its ride sharing app. Photo: Nathan Hondros.

On the hustings: Uber is running a booth at the new Mandurah Forum for the next few weeks, seeking drivers and user for its ride sharing app. Photo: Nathan Hondros.

But Mandurah Taxis business manager Julie Murray warned her business, which had been operating in Mandurah since 1959, could be forced to close its doors.

She said Uber was jeopardising Mandurah Taxis, which “pays rates, taxes and provides employment for approximately 100 local residents”.

“It will be very difficult for disabled and elderly passengers who rely on Mandurah Taxis for their daily transport once we are gone,” she said.

“They don't have access to smart phones and credit cards and Uber is not interested in picking them up.”

Dawesville MP Zak Kirkup said he had been lobbying Uber for improved services to Mandurah and Dawesville.

“It means more local jobs and better access to a service that by and large is well supported within the community,” he said.

“We want more people in Mandurah who aren’t working nine to five jobs for whatever reason to have the opportunity to become an Uber driver.”

Mr Kirkup said the service would be an addition to the existing transport mix.

“It’s not going to replace public transport, it’s not going to replace taxis, it’s going to offer another alternative for people to get around and to me, more choice can only be a good thing, especially when it comes to transport.”

This story Uber looks to job creation, but industry fearful first appeared on Mandurah Mail.

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