An Uber driver says he has lodged a deprivation of liberty complaint with police, claiming he was forced to drive on a footpath after taxis blocked him from entering an inner Brisbane street.
The latest stoush between the taxi industry and ride-share operators emerged when vision of Max Foley’s unorthodox exit from Warner Street in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley party precinct hit social media on Sunday.
Mr Foley, 24, told the ABC he was blocked for up to 12 minutes by up to five taxi drivers after entering a private driveway to pick up a customer early on Sunday morning.
“I asked all of them to move, both out my window and asked the [taxi marshall] in the orange for them to move — they just scoffed at me and refused,” he said.
“They were making a lot of noise and recording it and I think my passenger was feeling a bit threatened.”
‘He’s got the shoe on the wrong foot’
But Queensland Taxi Council chief executive Blair Davies disputed Mr Foley’s account of the incident, saying it was a “convenient excuse” when the video clearly showed the driver was breaking road rules.
“This whole area is a taxi rank. The Uber driver, I don’t know what he was doing picking up a passenger in that space, but whatever it is he shouldn’t be driving down the footpath,” he said.
Mr Davies said a taxi marshall had been “clipped” by the Uber vehicle and had also lodged a complaint with police.
“If anyone’s the victim here, it’s the taxi industry and taxi people, and for the Uber driver to say that he’s the victim, well he’s got the shoe on the wrong foot,” Mr Davies said.
Mr Foley said the claim he made contact with anyone was “ridiculous” and he had driven down the footpath “at a crawl” after his customer agreed it was the best course.
Video obtained by the ABC shows Mr Foley asking his customer to “just hold up the phone and record them [the taxi drivers]”.
In the video, Mr Foley then said: “I think I’ll hook up here, to be honest, and just drive on the footpath.”
He said CCTV footage would back his version of events, which began when “very quickly three or four cabs purposely parked me in”.
“I was probably there for eight or 10 or 12 minutes, trying to get the taxis to move.”
Mr Foley said he had previously been subjected to hostile treatment from taxi drivers in the three and a half years he had been an Uber driver.
The taxi industry has voiced ongoing frustration at the encroachment of Uber on their livelihoods and the taxi council objected to the State Government’s move to make Uber a legal competitor to taxis in 2016.
“I have had taxi drivers key my car, purposely reverse into it, urinate on my tyre. It’s the behaviour that I get working for Uber in Fortitude Valley quite often,” Mr Foley said.
A spokesman for Queensland police said they were still investigating the incident.