Drivers 'pumped' as Uber announces Sunshine Coast rides
UBER's decision to move to the Sunshine Coast will be welcome news for hundreds of Sunshine Coast Uber "driver-partners" who have been commuting to Brisbane to work until now.
University student Marné Prinsloo (pictured) has lived in Nambour for 12 years after he moved from South Africa with his family.
Mr Prinsloo has a degree in science and is about to complete a second degree in medical laboratory science.
For the past two months he has worked as an Uber driver in Brisbane on his weekends, supplementing the wage he earns as a laboratory assistant with his takings.
"I started because I wanted to pay off some loans," he said.
"Then I started to earn quite a bit of money, and now I'm quite happy with it."
Uber took 20% of the fare and managed the app-based booking system, while drivers pocketed the remaining 80%, he said.
A device on his dashboard shows him how much each passenger pays and how much he profits, but no cash changes hands as payments are made through the UberX app.
Drivers are not employed by Uber, but contracted by them.
They drive their own cars, which have to meet safety standards and are installed with cameras, but have no safety barriers.
Mr Prinsloo said he wasn't worried about safety, partly because the UberX app allowed passengers to be rated as well as drivers.
"I'm originally from South Africa, and Australia is the safest place I've ever been," he said.
He said the camera on his dashboard was "good enough" security for him.
Asked whether he felt ethically compromised, knowing his trips took away from taxi drivers who had higher costs and less freedom than Uber drivers, he said it didn't work to compare taxis with ridesharing.
"Taking people in my car, they're (passengers) just like friends," he said.
"They're uni students, professionals, pretty much anyone who knows how to use a phone."
The 25-year-old was happy with Uber's decision to allow driver-partners to take passengers on the Sunshine Coast as it meant less commuting.