9 January, 2016. 11:20
CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | Contact
After working forty years as a registered Brisbane cab driver, Thomas Ivanovic says he is “bloody offended” that he was unfairly denied an Uber licence purely because of his criminal record.
“Everyone’s been banging on about this Uber shit. They reckon you get paid more and it’s better hours… I thought I’d jump ship,” says the 65-year-old Moorooka local.
However, Mr Ivanovic says representatives of the multi-national tech start-up were quick to inform him that he was in “no way eligible” to join their ranks as a driver – Not even halfway through his initial screening.
“Some 24-year-old smartarse at the front office reckons I’m not up to it because I’ve been locked up a few times. I nearly punched him in the fuckin’ teeth,”
While Mr Ivanovic admits to the fact that he may have brushed the wrong side of the law “a couple of times” in his lifetime, he also says that shouldn’t be an issue that is taken into consideration when applying for a job as driver.
“I’ve only been in the drunk tank six or so times in me life. That’s not that bad. Plus I haven’t been in the pen since I was thirty-odd,”
“I still know every fuckin’ shortcut in this city. I’ll even run red lights if I know there aren’t any cameras,”
“I don’t know why my criminal record is anyone’s business except mine,”
In a political showdown between traditional taxi companies and the innovative new ride-sharing platform of Uber, it seems Mr Ivanovic epitomises the differences between the two services.
With a lengthy wrap-sheet that includes seven counts of grievous bodily harm, three instances of drunk driving, two counts of public urination and a “handful of AVOs” and one conviction for armed robbery, drivers like Thomas Ivanovic are being filtered out of the rapidly changing ride-sharing market.
“Mate, It’s not like I root my passengers… Unless they want me to,”
“I’m a gentlemen when I’m on the job, actually,”
“I never ask questions, and I only ever smoke durries if the passengers can’t speak english,”
“In fact I spend most of the time talking to my mates on the phone,”
Despite what he calls “blatant discrimination towards the old school” – Mr Ivanovic says that he isn’t overly concerned about having to continue driving for a Government-sanction taxi service.
“It’s not too bad, I spose. There’s plenty of cash jobs in it. Sometimes I don’t even turn the metre on,”
“Plus I can pick and choose who I decided to pick up. If they are only travelling a couple suburbs, I just tell them to get fucked,”