The biggest misconceptions according to a local Uber driver
SINCE Cameron Thomas moved to Hervey Bay with his family from Brisbane more than five years ago, he hasn't looked back.
This love for the region is behind the 37-year-old's decision to be one of the city's first Uber drivers.
Mr Thomas runs his own online business as well as working part time in town which is why the flexibility of Uber appealed to him.
"It gives the flexibility to work around my eBay business, my family time and my leisure time,” he said.
"I think it is great for the community, the prices are fair and the drivers are local so the majority of the money spent is reinvested into the region.
"There are a lot of positives and I get to be my own boss in a lot of ways.”
Uber, which links drivers to customers through a ride-sharing app, is a cashless service rivalling the taxi industry in major metropolitan centres.
As part of a regional expansion, the controversial company launched in the region at 3pm yesterday.
Drivers like Mr Thomas, who have already gone through the registration process, became driving pioneers for the auspicious event taking home 75 per cent of trip charges.
"I have used Uber in Brisbane before and I have found it very convenient,” Mr Thomas said.
"It's great because on the app you can see where the drivers are and it gives you an estimated time until they arrive.
"You just pin point where want to go hit 'ready now' button and the driver turns up and away you go.”
Mr Thomas wanted to dispel misconceptions the public might have with the service.
"Safety to me is paramount,” he said.
"To become a driver I had to have a criminal history check, our vehicles are inspected every 12 months, and we also have a medical examination to get drivers authorisation.
"To get the authorisation they do a traffic check on your previous driver experience and Uber themselves do a criminal history check.
"You aren't just getting in any old car with a person with any old criminal history.”
Mr Thomas explained the process to become an affiliated Uber driver was a simple one and took almost a month.
"I've found my dealing with the company really good,” he said.
"I have had multiple phone calls from Uber customer service throughout the process of setting up, four or five phone calls initiated by Uber to see how we are going.
"The constantly asked me if I needed help or had questions which I thought was great.”
For a car to be eligible to be used as an Uber vehicle it cannot be more than 10-years-old, Mr Thomas said his car had to pass the same certificate of inspection as taxis do.
"I'm a little nervous but mostly excited,” he said.
"It is good to get out and meet new people. I think this is great for a side hustle, I won't be doing it full time but part time it is good.
"I think it is a benefit for everyone more to have a more affordable Uber service.
"At the end of the day we are local too. I would recommend others to do it. It isn't for everyone, you certainly have to be flexible.”
Mr Thomas said only time would tell how business goes in Hervey Bay.
"It is amazing what you can do with technology now,” he said.
"This is a sign of growth for Hervey Bay for a company like Uber to come here. It is positive because it will benefit locals to tourists and backpackers on a budget.”
Taxi Council Queensland chief executive officer Blair Davies previously told the Chronicle taxi prices supported higher insurance fees than Uber, better security and were in line with government-set tariffs.
"You will find that although at a standard rate Uber is cheaper, surge pricing in Uber means taxis then become cheaper,” he said.
When the Chronicle tried to order an Uber yesterday afternoon 'no cars were available'.