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W W W . E C H O . N E T. A U /

S O A P - B OX


Last week an Uber driver ran over my daughter. She only gave the driver one star. Zero stars and ‘Driver ran me over’ wasn’t an option. It happened like this: my 19-year-old daughter used the peer-to-peer Uber service to meet friends at Trivia at an inner-city Melbourne pub. When getting out of the Uber, she walked behind the vehicle to cross the road and the car backed into her, knocking her to the ground. It happened really quickly, and before she knew it she was under the back of the vehicle, managing to bang on it with her hand as she went down to alert the driver. In the process of falling under the vehicle she injured her foot. The driver got out of his car to check she was okay. Having just been hit by a car my daughter pulled herself up and started moving across the road. The driver took this to mean that she was fine and left. My daughter then collapsed crying onto the footpath unable to move. She was taken to hospital where she was assessed and treated for a broken foot. That’s about the most eventful Trivia night she’ll ever go to. She may require surgery. We’ll find out next week. She is now in pain, may have ongoing issues with her mobility, and can’t work thanks to an injury incurred by a driver working for a company who claim no responsibility for such an incident. You see, Uber is just a ride-sharing app. When you use Uber you are only using their app. I guess if the app backed into you they would be responsible. When you use Uber you are riding in a person’s own vehicle, not a commercially registered and insured one. That’s part of the reason that Uber rides are cheaper: you pay less for more risk. There is no phone number to ring Uber once you have been run over. You have to go in to your profile and make a comment on your trip, like ‘Driver ran me over’. Uber then promises to be in contact. And they do make contact. Eventually. When my daughter got hit by the Uber she rang me on the way to the hospital to tell me what happened. I told her that after the hospital she needed to make a police report. She needed the driver details. I assumed that as she has used an Uber that they still exist in the app trip history. When she’s at the hospital she rang me and told me only the driver’s first name was there. The registration of his car, which was available while waiting for the ride, had disappeared. Once he pulled away from the kerb where my daughter later fell in agony, his registration details vanished into the Uber accountability abyss. When Uber finally contacted my daughter they wouldn’t provide driver details. So I got her to forward the number that they contacted her on. This is not a number you would find with any Google search. It’s a number for drivers only. I persist pushing numbers until I get a human. I’m angry. Really, really angry. I say, ‘An Uber driver ran over my daughter’. The operator says, ‘I am sorry that happened to her’. He says it with the same tone you’d use when commiserating with someone who left their phone on the back seat. Or dropped their coffee. ‘I am sorry to hear that happened to her’ has that tone people use when they do Non-Violent Communication classes and learn how to deflect anger by directing it it back on the complainant. It’s not an apology. It’s a standard corporate deflection of blame and culpability. I am informed that owing to ‘privacy’ regulations Uber cannot release driver information without the driver’s consent. Without the driver details my daughter can’t complete her police report. The faceless robots at Uber tell us that by law my daughter should have got the details at the scene of the accident. Hmm, maybe when her head was under the number plate she should have got on to Snapchat? Instagrammed the shit out of his muffler? Days later Uber relented, admitting that owing to the seriousness of the incident, here are the driver’s registration details! There’s a reason that taxi fares are higher than Uber fares: taxis are a regulated and heavily insured industry. While Uber means you can estimate your car arrival times, routes, and streamline payment, it has the lightest form of consumer protection. But hey, on the upside you can use your app to watch your Uber back over you. Until it drives off, never to be seen again.

32 July 25, 2018 The Byron Shire Echo


CHOIR OF ORIGIN The country’s two weirdest men’s choirs, The Spooky Men’s Chorale and Mullum’s own Dustyesky, are going beard to beard. It’s battle of the baritones. Harmonies of the Hombres! The Spookys – as thunderous as a herd of wildebeest, as sly as a wagonload of Spike Milligans, and as sonorous as a cloister of monks, the Spooky Men’s Chorale are the gift that keeps on giving. They emerged blithering and blinking-eyed from the Blue Mountains of NSW seventeen years ago and armed with no more than their voices, a nice line in deadpan, and an ill-matched set of hats, and have been gleefully disturbing audiences throughout Australia, NZ and the UK ever since. As we all know, the secret of Dustyesky is lost in the misty undergrowth of famous Mullumgrad hinterland. Like the recipe for gherkin liqueur, the magic of their music lies in the heart of all of us but never one man alone. Come listen and believe. Your heart will soar. You will smile and cry. For sure. As rough as a sawmiller’s beard, as gentle as his touch, Dustyesky is elusive

yet eternal. Like the wind of the Siberian steppes, they will blow within you forever. Featuring a full set from each choir and some battling hi-jinx to delight the new and the diehard fans. A neverto-be-repeated event. Until the next time. Saturday 11 August at Mullum Civic Hall at 8pm with tix on

MUSICIANS PARTY AT MARTY’S AT CABBA Singer/songwriter Stephen Lovelight has pulled a group of his musician friends together to play a gig at one of their favourite little venues on the coast: Marty’s at Caba, a pizza and tapas restaurant in Cabarita Beach. The proprietors, Wendy and Marty Waters, have operated in the area for more than thirty years and have always offered live music for their patrons. Venues like Martys – intimate and cosy – are an opportunity for musicians to ply their craft and hone their skills. If you are relying on music alone to pay your way in this world you have to have a few strings to your guitar, so to speak. ‘I have a particular passion for Mississippi Delta blues – that just doesn’t work in some venues, but in a restaurant atmosphere it goes down really well. I am grateful for a restaurant that dares to brave the expense of adding live music to what they offer so I can play what really moves me – play with my heart, quietly crafting a soothing ambience in the background for diners. Running a restaurant is fraught with so many obstacles – just staying afloat is success in hospitality. Wendy and Marty work so hard; they barely take time for themselves. Their day off is spent ordering and prepping for the next six days they operate, on five of which they offer live music. It’s impressive and Dave Murray, a local legend of a musician, and I got together and thought we’d put together a gesture of gratitude. Every musician approached about playing free didn’t hesitate. Everyone is grateful for what Marty and Wendy have cultivated over the years,’ says Stephen.

Byron Shire Echo archives:

The Byron Shire Echo – Issue 33.07 – July 25, 2018  

Free, independent weekly newspaper from the Byron Shire in northern NSW, Australia.

The Byron Shire Echo – Issue 33.07 – July 25, 2018  

Free, independent weekly newspaper from the Byron Shire in northern NSW, Australia.