Taxi or Uber? A funny thing happened on the way to the Charity Challenge Gala Dinner last Saturday night. My husband and I, in our best Hawaiian themed dress, flagged down a passing cab. My husband, who will talk to anyone about anything, made the comment to the taxi driver that we had been about to get an Uber when he came along. Our driver then unleashed a torrent of complaint about Ubers and told us (amongst other things) that, if we were injured in an Uber, we wouldn’t be covered for any harm done to us. Luckily the traffic was bad and I had plenty of time to set him straight.

The Greenslip product is the same regardless of whether you are driving a Mini or a Mercedes, a Vespa or a Volvo, a Bus or a Truck, an Uber or a Taxi. The Greenslip policy is set out in the Motor Accident Injuries Act and, put simply, covers your vehicle for injuries your driving causes to you and other people. What benefits or compensation to be paid is defined in the legislation and in the common law and is not dependent on what sort of vehicle caused the injury. Even if the vehicle that caused your accident and your injury is not insured, benefits and compensation can still be paid.

What will vary is the cost to the owner of the vehicle of purchasing the Greenslip product and in that regard the type of vehicle, the age of the vehicle and its driver/owner, the number of accidents and so on are relevant. There used to be a huge disparity between the price of a Greenslip for a taxi (commercial vehicle) and a Uber (private vehicle) and it was this that prompted our taxi driver’s response on Saturday night. He said he paid $6,000 for his Greenslip and that Uber drivers pay $500.

Ride sharing operators like Uber drivers pay an annual Greenslip premium like all other private passenger vehicles. But from 1 April 2018 there is a per-kilometer charge for Greenslip insurance imposed on an Uber fare at the rate of 10 cents / km for journeys starting in metropolitan areas and 6.6 cents / km if the journey starts in a rural location.

Our taxi driver did not understand what the Greenslip covered and was unaware of the changes to ride-share Greenslip costs. He was also completely unaware of SIRA and what it does and sadly, ignorant of the work of Victor Dominello in this area. At least today there is one taxi driver who knows a lot more about the CTP scheme operating in NSW and who is leading it.

Written by Belinda Cassidy

Belinda Cassidy holds the position of Special Counsel at Stacks Goudkamp. She had previously held the position of Principal Claims Assessor at the State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) for 18 years, and currently holds an appointment as a Claims Assessor under the Motor Accidents Compensation Act.