Uber

Man Attempts Citizen's Arrest of Australia UberX Driver

|

Scroonshot from Taxi Driver

The battle against app-based ride sharing has taken an unusual turn, with an Australian limo driver attempting to place an UberX driver under citizen's arrest. The man at the center of the affair is Russel Howarth, a Sydney–based limo driver who has begun a one-man vigilante campaign against UberX, despite using Uber to arrange his own passenger bookings.

Howarth has created a website and Twitter account, @ArrestingUber, to protest the existence of UberX, a lower-cost service that was introduced in Sydney in April. He claims that UberX drivers are operating outside the law and decided on Thursday to take enforcement into his own hands.

Gizmodo Australia reports:

Police told us this afternoon that at approximately 4pm AEDT, a man made a booking through a car sharing service, and during the travel accused the driver of being unlicensed while also driving an unregistered vehicle.

Police added that after the accusation was made, the passenger requested to be taken to Newtown Police Station. Upon arrival the passenger requested that the driver accompany him inside.

The UberX driver was promptly released after checks revealed he was properly licensed and was diving a registered vehicle. But police were less than pleased with Howarth's vigilantism, as he quickly discovered:

"[When I went to the station today] the police advised me I had no right to perform a citizen's arrest. They then threatened to arrest me if I didn't drop the action…"

Uber has dismissed the event as a "publicity stunt." However, this Travis Bickle wannabe has stated that he intends to continue harassing UberX drivers as they attempt to make an honest living for themselves and their families:

"I'm going to continue to arrest UberX drivers until the Government gets serious about regulations…It isn't a stunt. This is just a warm-up. I will be doing this every day."

Perhaps if he put as much effort into serving his customers, he wouldn't feel the need to act out crime fighting fantasies. Then again, this is a reminder of how far people will go to protect their monopoly privileges.

Advertisement

NEXT: Hong Kong Police Battle Thousands of Protesters

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. It’s like a little kid on the playground trying to officiate other kids’ games, and throwing tantrums when they don’t comply.

    1. Except that he wants to grind the other children under the wheels of the state.

  2. Refresh my memory about the CCW regs in Oz. I’m just thinking about what would happen in, say, Baltimore if some smart-ass cab driver started trying to screw around with other drivers’ paychecks.

    1. Can’t carry in Oz, AFAIK, and you damn near can’t carry in Baltimore, either(MD is may issue, with emphasis on the may; they almost never issue them).

      1. *and by “them” I mean permits…

        1. Yup. A jewlery courier who has been robbed ten times and put in the hospital one of those times couldn’t get a permit. At the time the state police Captain in charge of issuing CCW permits was a paid consultant to Sarah Brady.

          But that was not deemed a conflict of interest.

      2. Carry nothing. Try to just possess a handgun in Australia.

        From the wiki on Aussie Gun Laws, and we know they’re never wrong.

        Category H: Handguns including air pistols and deactivated handguns. Neither SA nor WA require deactivated handguns to be regarded as handguns after deactivation…This class is available to target shooters and certain security guards where your job requires possession of a firearm. To be eligible for a Category H firearm, a target shooter must serve a probationary period of 12 months the first 6 months using club handguns, then in the remainder of the last 6 month probationary license, an application may be made, permit to acquire for one air pistol OR one rimfire pistol. A minimum number of matches yearly to retain each category of handgun and be a financial member of an approved Pistol Club. [2]

        1. Missed the link to the wiki

    2. Unless you’re a police officer or security guard, Sydney residents must be unarmed at all times. You can carry a knife if you have a “reasonable excuse” for which personal protection is explicitly excluded as a potential excuse. The Chances any given Sydney resident is armed with a firearm are less than zero.

      1. The Chances any given Sydney resident is legally armed with a firearm are less than zero.

        FTFY.

  3. This is hilarious because Wednesday’s new South Park was about just this, and they had the Mimsy character constantly saying stuff like “duh, maybe you should serve your customers better in the market instead of trying to get the government to take them out for you”. Good stuff.

    1. I saw that and about spit out my beer,Timmy!

    2. Shut up, Mimsy!

      /Russel Howarth

      1. Nathan and Mimsy reminded me of this.

        1. Yeah, good call. I think SP is deliberately evoking some of the old cartoon “Of Mice and Men” relationships, like Rocky and Muggsy.

  4. Perhaps if he put as much effort into serving his customers, he wouldn’t feel the need to act out crime fighting fantasies. Then again, this is a reminder of how far people will go to protect their monopoly privileges.

    Most people like this don’t even realize their state granted privilege. They truly believe in their own righteousness.

    The proper response should be:
    Bring it on motherfucker!

  5. Wow, way to go there, Ned Kelly! I hope word spreads about this cat, but not in the way he hopes. Hey, let’s all leave some Yelp reviews about how his limo reeks of booze and urine and is covered with burnt tin foil. That ought to drive up his bookings.

  6. 4pm AEDT? What the hell weird thing is that?

    1. Australian Eastern Daylight Time? Just a guess…

    2. Sounds like one of those medical alert services.

  7. “[When I went to the station today] the police advised me I had no right to perform a citizen’s arrest. They then threatened to arrest me if I didn’t drop the action?”

    “I’m going to continue to arrest UberX drivers until the Government gets serious about regulations?It isn’t a stunt. This is just a warm-up. I will be doing this every day.

    ‘Dis gonna be good. Someone needs to start following this guy around with a camera so the lulz can be recorded. The police are just as protective of their fiefdom as this guy is.

    1. “Fiefdom” is surely the right word, since this is like some post-modern version of medieval squabbles over ecclesiastical jurisdiction. My guess is he gets the Becket treatment from the King’s Men.

      1. +1 Turbulent Priest

      2. “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome limo driver?!?”

        1. Dude, give me some New York tips.

          1. Yeah I heard about that earlier. Totally mystifying, I don’t get it at all. I mean, it’s good for the Jets, so that’s cool, but why would Carroll do this? There has to be something behind the scenes.

            1. Harvin’s barely played because of injuries. Maybe Carroll is willing to let go of a really good but unreliable player in order to score a still pretty good but reliable player.

  8. Do they have pepper spray down under? Because i think that guy would get a serious whiff of it if he tried this trick in most parts of America.

    1. Do they have pepper spray down under?

      Nope, even more illegal than firearms. The only state that “permits” its possession is South Australia under “lawful excuse” (which is eerily similar to the kind of language used for firearms regulation, translation: probably next to impossible for the peasants to possess and carry).

  9. Good thinking, Russel! That turned out so much better than making your business model, pricing, and dispatch practices more competitive, huh? Just harass and intimidate people who are competing successfully against you. So much easier.

    Overentitled asshole.

    1. His mistake is doing it himself, i.e., being poor and overentitled. He needs lawyers and lobbyists (lawbyists?) to do it for him…

  10. Get $20 off your first ride with uber. Use code 8cnlw

  11. Why doesn’t this asshole just become a Uber driver and make some money for himself?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.