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Ridesharing Legal in South Australia


The South Australian government announced in April 2016 that it would become the latest region to legalize ride share services such as UberX from the 1st of July, 2016.  Following in the footsteps of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and New South Wales (NSW) governments who legalized ride sharing in September 2015 and December 2015 respectively, the South Australian authorities have resolved to carry out this transition in a way that favors taxi drivers.

South Australians will presumably help pay for the scheme by handing over a levy of A$1 per ride in taxis and rideshare services as a form of compensation. In a statement by the State Premier, Jay Weatherill, he stated clearly that, “Our reforms deliver a genuine level playing field between taxis, chauffeur vehicles and new entrants like Uber.Uber in South Australia” This will pave the way for Uber in South Australia and help it launch other services designed to meet the needs of Australians.

The South Australian government has insisted on some regulatory payments and expensive regulatory reference checks which will make Uber drivers’ onboarding process a little more burdensome. Tom White, General Manager of Uber Adelaide said: “We will review the detail of the government’s proposal and decide whether or not we launch UberX in South Australia… We hope the government will consider the removal of arbitrary red tape, including unnecessary costs or time delays, which would prevent South Australians from being able to access flexible work when they need it… South Australians who need access to flexible paid work should be able to do so without paying hundreds of dollars in fees or waiting months for their application to be processed.”

Driving for a rideshare service in South Australia is certainly not looking cheap if Uber launches in line with the present conditions presented to them. Let’s look at the following analysis:

  • A driver who already has a car registered in South Australia is obliged to pay for additional compulsory third party insurance at a cost of A$269,
  • an additional lifetime support levy of $77 and a vehicle accreditation fee of A$85.
  • They are also required to pay for a “working with children clearance and national criminal history” check through the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion, which has been reported to cost about A$101.75 and a medical and eyesight certificate.

This would mean that drivers would have spent at least A$532.75 before they even start driving for Uber.

Although it is not any easier or cheaper in Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and New South Wales (NSW), it certainly is not as expensive as driving for Uber in South Australia. In ACT, drivers must pay for a Public Vehicle Driver Authority Card at $100 per year, a police character check at A$45 and a driver history check for A$23.80. In NSW, you will have to apply for private hire vehicle accreditation which will cost A$45, the NSW Roads. Prior to filling an application, drivers must have obtained a National Criminal History Record Check, which can cost around A$49.50.


Uber in South Australia

Despite the cost implications stated above, Uber launched in Adelaide in May 2016 by offering free rides to passengers. Uber’s Tom White claimed that during the period of free rides, “thousands” of South Australians had taken up a free ride over the past few weeks, with “hundreds” of locals signing on as drivers.” He also stated: “What we’re doing is demonstrating that those benefits can be opened up to the community without there being burdensome and costly process involved.”

Uber also registered no intent to collect the $1 levy proposed by the South Australian government. While other new entrants like Go Catch were “working closely with the DPTI on the implementation and collection of the levy”, Uber has remained mute on the subject. On this issue, Uber vaguely states “We will continue to work with Government to make sure consumers and new industry participants are not made to foot the bill for compensation that, frankly, is not in any way warranted.”

In my opinion, I think Uber would rather find a way to negotiate better deals with the South Australian government than to give in to these costly requirements. South Australian ridesharing regulations do not currently favor Uber services which promise comfort, affordability and seamlessness. 


Nice to Know

If you want to become a driver or partner for Uber in South Australia, please know that you will be expending a certain amount of money to pay for gas and other costs like car maintenance, insurance costs, car depreciation, and uber royalties.

If you are looking to do proper due diligence before acquiring a car and want to assess the profitability of Uber as a business whether as a one man business (a sole Uber driver), or as an Entrepreneur with multiple Uber cars in his/her fleet, then download our Uber kit at the top right of the linked page.


This sums up everything you need to know to get started as a driver with Uber in South Australia. While there are a few steps you will need to take before you get started, it is not a difficult process.


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