DEPUTY mayor Bobby Bourke has called on the Bathurst business community and residents to throw their support behind local taxi drivers ahead of the planned introduction of Uber to the city.
Uber announced on Monday that Bathurst was one of six regional cities in NSW slated for a roll-out of the ride-sharing service in time for summer.
The news sparked a mixed response, with some residents welcoming a new public transport option while others raised concerns over the impact it could have on the city's taxi industry.
READ MORE: Uber in Bathurst: The community reacts
But Cr Bourke was clear about where he stood on the issue, saying the imminent arrival of Uber was “not fantastic at all”.
He said he would like to see Bathurst Regional Council and the Bathurst Business Chamber come out in support of the local taxi industry.
“There’s a long tradition of taxis in Bathurst and these are local businesses who are already doing it tough with their plates worth maybe half what they used to be worth,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s fair that a fly-by-nighter like Uber can come in and make it even harder for them.”
Meanwhile, Uber head of cities across Australia and New Zealand, Natalie Malligan, said a final starting date in Bathurst would be decided once the company had monitored interest from potential local drivers.
Residents wishing to register their interest in becoming an Uber driver can do so at the company website now.
Ms Malligan said there was no cost to register with Uber, but would-be drivers did have to pay for a driving record history from the RMS, a vehicle inspection and background check from the police.
AN online poll on the Western Advocate website has found strong support Uber in Bathurst.
Almost 400 people had voted in the poll by Tuesday afternoon, with 60 per cent responding that they would use Uber, 32 per cent saying they wouldn’t and eight per cent saying they would “wait and see”.