Uber has shaken up the taxi industry both in Australia and abroad, with airports and government bodies struggling to keep up with regulations.
We thought we’d give you an overview of the Uber services and options at airports when travelling within Australia.
There are substantial cost savings of around 20-30% to be made when choosing an UberX over a taxi, with the more passengers riding obviously reducing the individual cost. Public transport usually still is the cheapest option for solo travellers, however.
Uber and the wider ridesharing industry are governed by state/territory-based legislation, so that is why there are discrepancies in access between cities.
What kind of Uber services are offered in Australia?
There are currently four types of Uber services you can request in Australia. From cheapest to most expensive, here they are:
- UberX: the low-cost option, with up to four seats in cars manufactured from 2000 onwards, e.g. Toyota Prius, Honda Accord
- UberBLACK: a step up from UberX, in registered premium black cars, e.g. BMW 5 Series, Jaguar XF
- UberSUV: up to six seats in a 4WD or minivan, e.g. Toyota Prado, Jeep Grand Cherokee
- UberLUX: roughly double the price of UberBLACK, the most expensive Uber service in luxury cars, e.g. Mercedes S-Class, Rolls Royce
Getting dropped off at the airport
As long as Uber operates in the city where the airport you are going to is, then there are no restrictions on passengers getting dropped off at Departures.
Having said that, Tasmania and the Northern Territory are the two states/territories in Australia which Uber is banned, so Uber is not an option for Hobart or Darwin Airports (or smaller airports such as Alice Springs or Launceston for that matter).
Getting picked up at the airport
After a rough start in NSW, Uber now enjoys its most liberal environment in Australia there, with Sydney Airport even having designated pick-up zones for ridesharing at T1 International and T2/T3 Domestic (from 19 July). Just follow the signs from Arrivals.
In the cost comparison below, public transport wins when a solo traveller is involved, but Uber becomes the cheapest option when 2-3+ travellers are using the service, with a taxi unsurprisingly the most expensive option.
|UberX||Taxi (average)||Public transport (with Opal card)|
|Sydney CBD||$30-38||$38||$16 (train)|
|Manly||$55-72||$82||$23 (train + ferry)|
Canberra Airport also has a nifty waiting lounge and a dedicated pick-up area for Uber on the other side, with a ride to the city centre costing $16-23.
Brisbane, Perth & Gold Coast
At these three airports, there are no designated pick-up zones for ridesharing, but rules allow for Uber to pick up from Arrivals.
Here are the average fares from the airport to the CBD:
- Brisbane: $23-31
- Perth: $25-34
- Gold Coast (to Surfers Paradise): $34-45
Melbourne & Adelaide
Melbourne Tullamarine and Adelaide Airports forbid UberXs from picking up passengers, with the more expensive UberBLACK allowed to operate as they are registered and licenced cars.
A ride from Tullamarine to the CBD will set you back $89-115, whilst a ride from Adelaide Airport to the CBD costs around $50.
UberX is allowed to operate from Avalon Airport, with a ride to Melbourne’s CBD priced at $63-74.
Earning points with rideshare and car booking services
Be sure to read our comparison guide for earning points with rideshare and car booking services to learn how you can earn Qantas Frequent Flyer and SPG points on Uber rides.
As the legislation environment surrounding the sharing economy is changing rapidly, please share in the comments if you are aware of any changes to the information in this article.