Ride share transport and the Uber class action settlement

Carroll & O'Dea


Established over 120 years ago, Carroll & O’Dea Lawyers offers expert advice and strong advocacy for clients. With a commitment to high-level service and legal expertise in all areas, they blend tradition with modern skills.
Looks at recent class action against Uber & explores factors contributing to emergence of more ride share regulations.
Australia Transport
To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.

The rise of ride share transport has completely transformed the way we move from one place to another, both in Australia and around the world. Ride share services including Uber, Lyft, and Ola disrupted the traditional taxi industry and provided us with more options for convenient and affordable transportation. However, the rapid growth also raises important questions regarding regulation and oversight. This article will look at the recently settled class action commenced against Uber by participants in the taxi, hire car, limousine, and charter vehicle industry and explore various factors contributing to the rise of ride share transport and regulations required to ensure safety, fairness, and sustainability in Australia.

The rise of ride share transport

A primary driver in the increased popularity of ride share transport is the convenience it offers a consumer. With the tap of a button on your smartphone we can quickly request a ride to our desired location, eliminating the need to wait for a taxi or rely on a public transport schedule. The on-demand service has significantly improved mobility for many of us, especially those living or working in areas with limited transport options. These new services also provided additional opportunities for people to participate in the 'gig economy'.

Ride share services initially provided a more cost-effective alternative to traditional taxis. The pricing transparency and competitive rates offered by companies like Uber and Lyft made ridesharing an attractive option for those of us conscious of their budget. The ability to split fares among multiple passengers has also reduced the financial burden of transport for many who use the services.

The application of technological advancements including GPS tracking, real time updates, and cashless payment systems enhanced the overall user experience, making it easier and safer for us to use these services. The integration of features like driver ratings and reviews has also fostered accountability and trust, thus increasing the popularity of ride sharing.

But what about regulation?

Uber has arguably been the most controversial ride share service when it entered the Australian market offering a new service of ride sharing in about August 2012.

While ride share transport has brought undeniable benefits, it has also presented regulatory challenges, particularly in ensuring passenger safety, fair competition, and driver rights.

Uber class action

A class action was filed in 2019 on behalf of more than 8,000 taxi and hire car owners and drivers against Uber who said that they had been impacted by the company's alleged "illegal entry" into the Australian market.

The plaintiffs have agreed to a $271.8 million settlement to compensate taxi and hire car drivers, operators, and licence holders. It is the fifth largest class action settlement in Australian legal history. The settlement has now been approved by the Supreme Court of Victoria.

There were two components to the class action. The first class action was brought by Nicos Andrianakis who was a taxi driver, operator and owner in Melbourne and commenced the claim on his own behalf and on behalf of all other taxi and hire car/limousine/charter vehicle driver, operators and licence owners as well as taxi network service providers in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.

The second class action was an action brought on behalf of persons who as at 19 June 2023 held a claim that vested in or was assigned, devolved or transferred to them from a person who would otherwise have been a group member in the first class action, or were the beneficiary of a trust whose trustee had been deregistered and so that trustee could not bring a claim against Uber in the first class action.

The plaintiffs in both components of the class actions alleged that Uber engaged in the tort of "conspiracy by unlawful means," causing the group members to suffer a loss of value of taxi and hire car licences and loss of income. Uber settled the proceedings without admission of liability.

This case is another example of how the emergence of early disruptors in the so called gig economy is having impacts down the line as regulators and courts grapple with determining the impacts on existing providers and how the best interests of all stakeholders are properly balanced moving forward.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

See More Popular Content From

Mondaq uses cookies on this website. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies as set out in our Privacy Policy.

Learn More