Ask LH: Is Uber Black A Legit Chauffeuring Service?

Hey Lifehacker, I'm a heavy Uber user (2-3 times a day) but I use the Black service of hire cars (HC plated). Are these cars in the same legal grey/black area that UberX is? Or are they somehow legal/insured because they're HC cars and limousine services doing work on the side? Thanks, Uber Confused

Image: Michael Coghlan

Dear UC,

Uber's no stranger to controversy when it comes to legal grey areas around its service, and in some ways uses this as part of its disruption strategy.

The one area where it's entirely legally clear, however, is in any car that carries HC plates. The HC designation is for Hire Cars, although the exact designation varies in some sates.

These are vehicles specifically registered for the purpose of being hired. They're typically luxury vehicles. They're not entitled to do straight roadside flagfall style pickups in the way that taxis are, but otherwise they are operating entirely legally as hire vehicles.

As such, Uber Black sits nicely within the legal constructs for hiring a vehicle and they're most certainly insured because that's part of the HC registration process.

Cheers Lifehacker

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    Not sure how much the black service costs but there are specific rules in some states like Western Australia:

    Small Charter Vehicles must satisfy certain criteria to gain a Small Charter licence. These vehicles:

    A two-tier fare structure applies:
    * With up to 5 passenger seats must charge at least an hourly rate of $60.00 with a minimum charge of $60.00 per charter trip.
    * With more than 5 passenger seats must charge at least an hourly rate of $85.00 for the first two hours and $60.00 for each additional hour with a minimum charge of $85.00 per charter trip.

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