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Uber riders 'up by 500pc' after taxi protest

Yesterday's taxi strike and Uber's offer of a free ride for new users led to a 500 per cent increase in sign ups compared to the average day, the controversial ride sharing company claims.

About 300 taxi drivers took their cars off the streets for more than three hours yesterday to protest the Government's failure to regulate Uber.

Taxi drivers blockaded the forecourt at Parliament House.

Uber claims there was a 500 per cent increase in sign ups yesterday

This morning, Uber issued a statement claiming its new user sign ups jumped 500 per cent yesterday. A spokeswoman refused to say how many people that figure represented.

"Yesterday we were humbled to see such a tremendous outpouring of support for Uber in Perth," Uber Perth general manager Simon Rossi said.

"It was also wonderful to see so many people who were new to Uber sign up to the platform to experience the superior service for themselves.

"In the past 24 hours alone, we have seen a 500 per cent increase in new riders signing up to Uber in Perth - all of them getting a free first ride on us.

WA Transport Minister Dean Nalder said he regarded Uber as a
WA Transport Minister Dean Nalder said he regarded Uber as a

WA Transport Minister Dean Nalder said he regarded Uber as a "dispatch service".

"The people of Perth are voting with their feet. They are choosing safe, reliable and affordable transport. They are choosing flexible work that fits around their lives and provides much needed extra income. They are choosing Uber.

"We welcome Minister Nalder's comments that he is considering policy options for integrating new technology and service delivery models in to the regulatory framework and look forward to working with his team to getting those changes in place as soon as possible."

The State Government's position on UberX is that it is illegal. While Uber says its drivers go through criminal background checks and obtain necessary extensions to their drivers' licenses, UberX cars are not licensed to provide taxi services and do not include safety features, such as cameras, mandated in Perth taxis.

Mr Nalder says he regards Uber as a "dispatch service", akin to Swan Taxis and Black and White cabs and has promised a green paper by June to explore a restructuring of the taxi industry.