Rideshare company Uber has denied it is looking to launch in Bendigo despite advertising for local drivers.
Advertisements posted on several job search websites since Wednesday indicate Uber is seeking “hundreds of driver partners” in the area.
The job sites also host call-outs for drivers in Ballarat and the Central Goldfields region.
But an Uber spokesman denied the company had any immediate plans to expand into central Victoria.
“We would like to launch in more regional centres but we are waiting on a regulatory response from government," the spokesman said.
The service remains illegal in Victoria, but late last week public transport minister and member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan announced she had struck a deal with Sex Party MP Fiona Patten to regulate ridesharing across the state.
“Providing for rideshare services raises a number of complex and interrelated issues regarding passenger safety, equity for the existing industry and access for people with a disability, among others,” Ms Allan said in a statement in June.
But issues of safety and equity were among Uber’s reasons for reaching into regional Victoria.
“We do know regional communities are suffering from underemployment and unemployment and believe they would benefit from having the economic opportunities that ridesharing brings,” its spokesman said.
The online advertisement guarantees drivers the chance to earn $30 per hour during the 80 busiest hours of the week, and claims some drivers regularly earn as much as $3,000 each week in fares.
The spokesman also said Uber’s service had the potential to lower drink driving, an issue he said was “particularly felt in regional communities”.
Uber’s maneuvering in Bendigo comes after the city’s traditional taxi service was given the green light to extend its peak fare hours last week.
The Essential Service Commission granted taxi operators the chance to charge peak fares between 7pm and 6am on Fridays and Saturdays, and add a $4.20 surcharge after 7pm on public holiday eves.
The Bendigo Taxi Co-operative was contacted for comment about Uber and price changes.