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Uber dodging Brisbane transport inspectors

Over 1200 Uber drivers in Queensland have been fined, as the state government cracks down on the ride-sharing service.

Uber has "thwarted" government attempts to crack down on the ride-sharing app, as "illegal" drivers escape detection.

It comes as taxi drivers' tempers flared at a protest against Uber outside Queensland State Parliament yesterday.

State Government transport inspectors have slapped Uber drivers with 1286 fines for operating as an illegal taxi service. But a top transport department boss told a Government committee the technology start-up was outmanoeuvring inspectors.

We have been thwarted in our compliance

Department of Transport and Main Roads acting director (taxi and limousines) Noela Cerutti said inspectors had been using the Uber app to book a car, then fining the driver, but the company had adopted technology to recognise SIM cards and handsets making the bookings and were blocking known inspectors.

"We've gone through hundreds of phones trying to catch the next driver doing the wrong thing," she told the Infrastructure and Planning and Natural Resources Committee.

"We have been thwarted in our compliance."

Ms Cerutti said inspectors were continuing to take action against Uber.

While 1286 fines issued against drivers have been paid, 189 were challenged.

The committee was told as a company Uber was not illegal, but drivers picking up fares and acting as an unlicensed taxi was unlawful.

An Uber spokesman said no court had declared the operation an "illegal taxi service".

"Nobody should be penalised for providing safe and reliable rides in their own car, in their own city," he said.

Shortly after the hearing, about 250 taxi drivers gathered to demand more action.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad was shouted down as she said digital disruption was impacting many industries, not just taxis.

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