A rideshare company looking to launch in the Northern Territory says the age requirement for cars has been a barrier to finding drivers.
Dozens of women expressed interest in driving for all-female operator Shebah in January but the company’s plans to launch are yet to be realised.
CEO Georgina McEnroe told 9NEWS the biggest barrier for potential drivers was the requirement for rideshare cars to be no older than nine years.
“There’s no age limit to vehicles in Victoria, it’s just about having a road worthy car,” Ms McEnroe said.
“It’s particularly hard for women who only want to drive very casually.
“They often just want to be topping up the income on a Friday night or a Saturday night when the kids are asleep, their partner is at home and they think, ‘I’ll go out and bring a few girls home from the pub safely’.”
The age limit also applies to the taxi industry, which the Northern Territory government claims creates a level playing field.
“Hi Oscar has demonstrated it’s possible to set up in the NT,” a spokeswoman told 9NEWS.
“Our model is fair for customers and providers.”
Ms McEnroe said she understood the government’s motivations but felt it was a protectionist approach.
“I don’t understand why people who have an 11-year-old Prius sitting in their driveway shouldn’t be using that to make money,” she said.
“I just think a blunt age limit, without having further requirements, is a bit prohibitive and it does seem to be keeping the taxi industry intact.”
Hi Oscar now has 43 drivers making up to 500 trips per week and the company expects to finally have full-time drivers by the dry season.
“The issue that we’ve got is, because everyone is part time, during the day when they’re working the numbers drop down,” CEO Daniel Broughton said.
“When we have more drivers coming on full-time that’ll give us that better coverage especially across the early part of the week.”
Ms McEnroe remains determined to launch Shebah in Darwin and is now offering an incentive for women to sign up as drivers.
“Once they’ve taken their first trip, we’ll put $500 into their bank account if they refer someone,” she said.
Shebah is hopeful of launching by the end of May. (By Rosanna Kingsun, 9news.com.au)