Ride-share service Uber is coming - again - to the Lithgow region.
This is following a delay in March which saw the original rollout postponed due to covid-19 travel restrictions.
With said restrictions easing, and with a renewed push to support domestic travel, Uber has announced a rollout to regional NSW on Friday, 26 June.
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For the Mid-Western Region, this rollout doesn't only include Lithgow either. In any town in NSW someone can open the app and if there is a driver available they will be able to book it. This opens the door for drivers in Portland, hartley and other regional areas.
"Over the first two months of 2020, tens of thousands of domestic tourists from 35 places around Australia, used the Uber app to get around the parts of regional NSW we already cover. So we know the demand from tourists to explore our regional areas with Uber is there," said an Uber spokesperson
"And with drivers across regional NSW already expressing interest in driving with Uber before COVID-19 got in the way, we're more excited than ever to bring flexible, on-demand transport to the entire state."
Starting today, potential drivers can sign-up in the Uber app, then on Friday, 26 June, Uber says the switch will be flicked to allow drivers to start accepting customers.
Uber said this will make NSW one of the largest geographic areas they serve anywhere in the world.
"Research shows that two in five Australians are planning to travel within their own state in the next two months increasing to almost two thirds within the next six months. Our hope is that with restrictions lifting we'll see a real renaissance in domestic tourism, and I applaud Uber for doing everything they can to help that vision become a reality," Margy Osmond, CEO of the Tourism and Transport Forum said.
Are you eligible?
There are a list of requirements the company needs you to fulfill before being allowed on the platform.
You must first be 21-years-old or older. You must hold an unrestricted NSW licence and have held a full Australian licence for at least 12 months in the last 2 years and be able to provide documents to prove it and also prove you have a right to work in Australia.
Your car must have four doors, be a 2010 model or newer, be in good driving condition with no cosmetic damage and be ANCAP 5-Star rated, or fall under the Uber vehicle exemption policy.
If you tick all those boxes you're pretty much good to go. Sign up requires you to upload your driver's licence and your car will need to have an annual eCheck (pink slip) registration - even if it is less than 5 years old.
The company is already operating in Bathurst and Orange.
Uber's first regional NSW location was Newcastle in 2016.
It was then launched in Bathurst, Orange, Wagga Wagga, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Tamworth in 2018.
What about Uber Eats?
When the pandemic hit, right across Australia, savvy businesses were quick to embrace delivery for services that previously didn't offer it.
The Lithgow Mercury reached out to the company to ask if the rollout of Uber includes other areas in the Lithgow region and if the rollout means Uber Eats could come too.
"We're turning the Uber service area on from border to border. In literally every square metre of NSW riders will be able to look at the app and if there is a driver in that area, they'll be able to get a trip," Dom Taylor, General Manager of Uber Australia said.
"While I don't run the Eats business, we do see that where rides goes, Eats often follows if there's demand from the local community."
What do you think?
Is Uber coming to Lithgow a good thing or would you rather it stay away?