Uber denies regional expansion claims

UBER has denied taxi industry claims made to a parliamentary committee that the ride-sharing company is planning on expanding to Toowoomba, Rockhampton, Gladstone and Mackay.

Speaking before the Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee Gold Coast taxi company First Class director Shane Smith said Uber had made a major dent in his business and believed it would do the same when it spread to other regional towns.

Mr Smith said Uber had expressed an interest in setting up operations in Cairns, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Mackay and Toowoomba.

But an Uber representative told APN Newsdesk there were "no plans" to expand to those areas. The company expanded to the Sunshine Coast last month.

The committee is examining legislation which Katter's Australian Party MP Rob Katter  has introduced which would introduce double demerit points for "illegal taxi services".

Uber denies it is a taxi service - stating ridesharing is distinct from taxis just as commercial limousines are considered different.

Uber public policy director Brad Kitschke was not asked in the committee if the company was looking to expand into regional Queensland.

The taxi industry supports the bill, while Uber and the RACQ opposed it in the hearing.

RACQ general manager advocacy Paul Turner said the organisation believed demerit points should be used for road safety and not as a "commercial penalty".

Yellow Cabs general manager Bill Parker  said he expected Uber would eventually expand to all regional towns and areas.