Car seats and Uber, the law and in practice.
There are often many questions from both drivers and passengers surrounding whether taking your children in an Uber is legal, only slightly less confusion than with taxis.
In Western Australia, properly licenced Taxis, Charter Vehicles and Busses are exempt from requiring child restraints under a police enforced regulation in the Road Traffic Act (2000).
234. 13) The driver of a taxi, bus or omnibus is exempt from [the regulations regarding child restraints] in relation to a passenger if —
(a) there is no suitable child restraint available in the taxi, bus or omnibus for the passenger; and
(b) if the taxi, bus or omnibus has 2 or more rows of seats — the passenger is not in the front row of seats.
This rule then allows children under 2 to sit on their parents lap and children over 2 to sit in a regular seat with a seatbelt next to an adult, although a child may still travel unaccompanied as well.
It was widely circulated in the early stages of Uber that it was illegal to take unrestrained children into an Uber, which was absolutely correct. Until July 4th 2016, there was no licence available to drivers wishing to participate in ridesharing. From then up until November 2017, Uber did not force drivers to have an Omnibus licence (nor did it force them to have an ABN), so there was no guarantee that you would receive an Uber driver that was licenced and therefore exempt. Now Uber does require drivers to have the Omnibus licence to gain access to the platform, so from a legal side it is permissible.
However, in discussions with other Uber drivers it does seem that Uber distances itself from drivers questions whether they should take children or not. As per this response given to an Uber driver, they would suggest not taking children without car seats - perhaps to remove their own liability in the case of an accident.
Ultimately, you are not going to be in trouble with the law if you choose Uber to take your children unrestrained. Obviously at FamilyCab we would recommend against it, if not just for safety reasons then for our reliability and suitability in transporting large families with lots of luggage!