Mandurah’s ‘UBER mum’ revved up over ride-sharing ban at new stadium

Transport dispute: Mandurah's 'UBER Mum' Debbie Stewart says patrons should have the freedom of choice to take a ride-sharing service to the events. Photo: Supplied.
Transport dispute: Mandurah's 'UBER Mum' Debbie Stewart says patrons should have the freedom of choice to take a ride-sharing service to the events. Photo: Supplied.

A recent decision by the state government to exclude ride-sharing and private charter companies from access to the new Perth stadium has drawn criticism from Mandurah’s ‘UBER mum’, who was at the forefront of promoting the popular app in the region.

Debbie Stewart, who has been driving with UBER in the Peel since its launch, called on the government to recognise the “freedom of choice” for commuters.

On Saturday, it was revealed ride-sharing drivers would be barred from using the only taxi rank at the stadium and roads around it would be closed to passenger drop offs on event days.

“I have been driving UBER for two years, and constantly receive compliments about the service for its convenience, reliability and cost effectiveness – it seems unfair that there won’t be a choice anymore,” Ms Stewart said.

“Public transport from Mandurah Station to the new stadium takes at least 95 minutes each way and I just can’t imagine people wanting to take that much time before and after an event to travel, even if the cost is included in their ticket.”

The stadium has a dedicated train station and bus services for general attendance but no major carpark – only premium ticket holders will be able to bring their own rides – making public transport and taxis the only sure way to get to and from the area for most people.

'UBER Mum' Debbie Stewart at the launch of the ride-sharing service in Mandurah. Photo: Nathan Hondros.

'UBER Mum' Debbie Stewart at the launch of the ride-sharing service in Mandurah. Photo: Nathan Hondros.

Transport minister Rita Saffioti said before Christmas patrons would need a “game plan” for how they will get to and from events at the stadium, emphasising the public transport options and that the price of admission includes transport.

Despite the restrictions on ride sharing, a spokesman for UBER said it was still keen to give stadium attendees access to all transportation options.

“We’re always looking to find ways to enhance urban mobility in Perth and are keen to help ensure that attendees can get a ride to and from the Stadium at the push of a button,” he said.

The government expects a 60,000 capacity crowd at the new Perth Stadium. Photo: WA Government.

The government expects a 60,000 capacity crowd at the new Perth Stadium. Photo: WA Government.

“We're ready to work with VenuesLive so that they can provide their customers with all available transportation options.”

Ms Stewart said ride-sharing already had a “bumpy road” in WA and foresaw problems with the arrangement.

“People will just book an UBER to an address close to the venue and then have to wait for a taxi, meaning they are lingering in suburban areas,” she said.

“Not to mention what will happen after an event, when people need to get home.”

– with WAtoday