Hundreds of Uber drivers ready to roll in Cairns
A packed function room at the Reef Casino has today marked the official start of driver 'training' for Uber devotees in Cairns ahead of the on-road launch on 16 March.
Uber Queensland general manager Sam Bool told eager attendees at today's information sessions that the demand for the ride-sharing service had grown to such a high point the time was right to launch the service in the Tropical North.
Mr Bool also today revealed the company was in talks with Cairns Airport to secure an exclusive Uber pick-up zone, in line with a similar recent move at Brisbane Airport.
Tech guru and Precendence co-founder Nicky Jurd attended today's information sessions and described the mood in the room as "upbeat and positive."
"The vibe was upbeat and positive, people definitely want Uber to come and have been holding out for it," Ms Jurd told TropicNow.
"The ages of attendees was very mixed, and I was surprised that quite a few older people were looking at being a driver.
"They were really happy with the flexibility of the working arrangement. A few had been out of work for a while and were happy that this opportunity would mean paying their bills."
Ms Jurd said the Uber experience was incredibly convenient for riders.
"You get to see exactly how far away the driver is before pickup, so the waiting time is much less frustrating than a taxi," she said.
"It's also completely cashless — your credit card is charged by Uber, and the driver never had access to those details.
"All drivers now go through a rigorous process for approval too. Their car needs to have a current safety certificate, and as a driver they need to hold a Driver Authorisation from QLD Department of Transport which includes a criminal background check and medical soundness to drive.
"I think the introduction of Uber in Cairns will provide positive benefits for the city."