Back in 2018, regional cities like Shepparton and Wagga Wagga got Uber, but similarly sized Albury Wodonga missed out. It seems Albury Wodonga got caught up in the issue of state-based red tape.
Ride sharing services have been controversial, mainly because Taxi company’s are scared of competition that offers a better passenger experience.
Thankfully things are about to change, with Uber recently announcing the service was going NSW-wide, which includes Albury.
Now here’s the tricky part, only drivers with NSW driver’s licenses can sign up as drivers (I live in VIC, so sorry, no Model 3 Uber for now).
If you’re a passenger, you may book an Uber after a night out in Albury (NSW), but want a ride home to Wodonga (VIC). This means Uber drivers would then have to drive back to Albury with an empty vehicle, rather than pickup another potential ride from Wodonga back to Albury.
This is exactly where state legislation differences make absolutely no sense. It’s fine if you’re in Sydney or Melbourne, these cross-state border issues don’t impact your life, but for those of us who do live on the border, its a massive issue.
From March 3rd, people anywhere in NSW can sign-up to drive Uber using the app or website. From April (next month) they’ll be turning on the Uber app across every square metre of NSW (including Albury).
At 801,150 km², this makes it one of the largest geographic areas anywhere in the world for Uber. Plans to bring Uber to regional NSW have been brought forward in an effort to help fire and drought-affected regions get back on their feet.
Uber says they’ve heard loud and clear from locals in Jindabyne to Moruya to Armidale and right across the state, that they want Uber. As soon as you use the service, you understand why its better than Taxis in almost every single way.
Firstly the mandate of new vehicles means you’ll be getting into a modern, well maintained vehicle and with driver ratings on the line, it’s sure to be clean and smell nice. Contrast this with some pretty sketchy old Falcons tha are pushing 500,000km on the clock.
The experience of booking an Uber is also far superior. Once signed up, you simply enter your destination and get a fare estimate immediately. There’s no booking fee in sight and certainly no phone calls to an unnecessary operator. Once you accept, you get live updates about how long your driver is away.
When I use Uber in Melbourne, Sydney or even cities internationally, I’ve always had a great experience. The driver’s follow the most efficient route, as provided by Google Maps inside the Uber Driver app. The one time my driver took a wrong exit, he submitted the fault and I got the refund, completely hassle free.
This brings us to the payment side of things. Having provided your credit card details on sign up (there’s never a time you’re not paying for a ride), you simply get in and get out when using Uber, no in-vehicle transactions and certainly no cash. This makes it safer for everyone.
A few steps out of the Uber and you’ll feel your phone vibrate with a new email notification, detailing the cost of the trip you just took, it really is so simple.
Uber says own data shows domestic and international tourists love Uber. In fact overseas visitors from more than 80 countries regularly use the Uber app to get around Australia – both in cities and further afield. I’d definitely expect those people who fly in to Albury Airport will be ordering an Uber as soon as they can.
The price of a Taxi from the Airport to Wodonga has substantially increased over the last few years. The last time I took a Taxi on the 11 minute, 10.6km journey, it cost me $45.00 and I was asked if I wanted to take the freeway (many minutes faster, so only a question if you’re attempting not take the freeway in the hope of increasing the fare).
Uber is growing in popularity with the first 2 months of 2020 seeing tens of thousands of domestic tourists, from 35 places around Australia, used the Uber app to get around the parts of regional NSW that already had Uber.
With NSW now covered by Uber, ridesharing is expected to help drive income for other local businesses as tourists get around to the fantastic restaurants, wineries and pubs that regional NSW has to offer.
A key focus of ours will be making sure the app is ready to go live for communities along the NSW South Coast (all the way to the Victorian border) – ahead of the busy domestic tourism season in April, when families travel over the Easter long weekend and school holidays. The South Coast is one of the state’s top 3 regions for domestic tourism, and was one of the areas hardest hit by this summer’s bushfires.
If you live anywhere in regional and rural NSW, and are interested in signing up to drive with Uber, the process is straightforward and cost-effective.
Find out more here.