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Uber settles for $178 million with Australian taxi drivers

Evermile and Uber form delivery partnership
Evermile and Uber form delivery partnership

In a landmark settlement, Uber agreed to pay $178 million to end a legal feud between Australian taxi and hire car drivers. The case has been ongoing since 2019 when Maurice Blackburn Lawyers filed the class action on behalf of over 8,000 taxi drivers.

The drivers turned to the Supreme Court of Victoria over Uber’s impact on traditional taxi services, stating that the ridesharing company “aggressively” entered the Australian market. 

‘Staring down a global giant’

As reported by the Associated Press (AP,) the case’s principal lawyer, Michael Donelly, says Uber had consistently attempted to avoid compensating traditional taxi drivers over the years. 

“On the courtroom steps and after years of refusing to do the right thing by those we say they harmed, Uber has blinked, and thousands of everyday Australians joined together to stare down a global giant,” Donelly says.

This is one of the largest class action settlements in Australia’s history and signals a shift towards resolving “legacy issues” within the evolving point-to-point transport industry, Uber said in a statement.

Highlighting the case’s success, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers celebrated the outcome on LinkedIn, stating: “This case succeeded where others have failed. We’re proud that thousands of people put their faith in us to deliver this outcome, and to hold Uber to account.”

Uber’s response to the settlement

Meanwhile, Uber said when it was founded more than a decade ago, “ridesharing regulations did not exist anywhere in the world, let alone Australia. Today is different, and Uber is now regulated in every state and territory across Australia.”

Since the industry has grown over the years, ridesharing in Australia has brought “greater choice and improved experiences for consumers as well as new earnings opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Australian workers,” Uber said. 

The ridesharing company said it has since “made significant contributions to various state-level taxi compensation schemes” over the past six years. Uber’s statement does not cite examples of these contributions.

What does this mean for drivers?

As per the Annexure A notice sent by the Supreme Court of Victoria in August 2023, drivers who are part of the class action had to register before the trial to be eligible to receive compensation. 

Drivers may be eligible if they were employed in the taxi and hire car industries during the following periods: 

  • Victoria: April 1, 2014 to August 23, 2017.
  • New South Wales: April 7, 2014 to December 18, 2015.
  • Queensland: April 17, 2014 to September 5, 2016.
  • Western Australia: October 10, 2014 to July 4, 2016.

This includes taxi license holders, taxi operators, taxi drivers, network service providers, hire car license holders, hire car operators, and hire car drivers. 

In an unrelated case, Uber was fined $412,500 in October 2023 for breaching Australian spam laws. An investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found that Uber sent over two million marketing emails to customers in a single day.

READ MORE HERE: Uber fined $412,500 for breaching spam laws in Australia

About the author

Cheryl has contributed to various international publications, with a fervor for data and technology. She explores the intersection of emerging tech trends with logistics, focusing on how digital innovations are reshaping industries on a global scale. When she's not dissecting the latest developments in AI-driven innovation and digital solutions, Cheryl can be found gaming, kickboxing, or navigating the novel niches of consumer gadgetry.

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