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Uber logs 20,000 trips in its first month in Canberra

Uber has logged 20,000 trips in its first month in the ACT, prompting the ride-sharing business to label Canberra its fastest growing Australian market. 

Since being welcomed by Chief Minister Andrew Barr on October 30, the company has signed up 350 drivers in the ACT and carried about 10,000 passengers. Uber's own data showed most drivers work part-time and drive about 19 hours per week, earning more than $30 per hour in fares.

A spokesman said 95 per cent of trips in Canberra had resulted in a four or five star rating for the driver, the highest average rating of any Australian city.

The median time from rider request to pick up was 3.1 minutes and the company said more than a third of trips were requested between 6pm and 3am on Friday and Saturday nights.

A map of all pick up requests shows Canberra's city, inner-north and inner-south were the most popular for ride-sharing passengers, while Uber was also busy servicing areas around the Tuggeranong, Belconnen, Woden and Gungahlin town centres.

The Canberra Taxi Industry Association and taxi provider Aerial Capital Group said they would not discuss any drop off in patronage since regulation allowed ride-sharing to operate in the ACT. 


Uber's Canberra city lead, Alex Calder, said the company was pleased at the number of drivers signing up, despite reports of some passengers struggling to book a car in Canberra. 

"Overwhelmingly, the majority of our trips have been fulfilled and that's been a reflection of the huge interest from drivers in getting out on the platform to earn income," Mr Calder said. 

"We expect to continue growing at a similar rate [in Canberra]. We are adding thousands of new riders every week and are continuing to push hard to add as many drivers on the platform to take care of demand." 

He said Canberra's peak demand periods were unlike other Australian cities, including parliamentary sitting weeks and university semesters.

The company has welcomed other Australian jurisdictions following the ACT's lead in regulating ride-sharing services alongside existing service providers such as taxis and hire cars. The NSW government last week indicated Uber drivers would be required to pay licence fees and taxi licence plate owners could be paid compensation as new competition is introduced in that state.

"We are definitely pleased that other jurisdictions are taking the lead set by the ACT," Mr Calder said.

"Obviously the Chief Minister and the rest of the ACT government are to be commended on being innovative and setting the standard in Australia for what a government can do when they put forward innovation."

Separately on Monday, Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury said ACTION's special late night bus service will begin Christmas services on December 5 and will drop revellers off at the bus stop nearest to their home, across Canberra's suburbs.
Buses will run from midnight to 3.45am on December 4-5, 11-12 and 18-19, as well as New Year's Eve, departing from the City Bus Station's platform 7. Passengers will be charged $5 cash and can't use MyWay smart cards. 

"I encourage Canberrans to leave the car at home this year for their festive celebrations and let Nightrider be your designated driver home," Mr Rattenbury said. 


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