scUber, Uber’s submarine tours scam exposed

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Most of us have recently seen on TV, newspapers or social media an article on a new Uber promotion called scUber.

Uber claims that its riders will be able to experience a “rideshare submarine” on Australia’s Heron Island. A rideshare submarine is one that co-incidentally goes in a circle around an island in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. An island located 80 kilometres from the nearest town on the mainland of Australia. Perfect for sharing indeed.

So let’s address the facts by undertaking some simple digging. Something that we would have expected Tourism Queensland to complete in their due diligence responsibilities as a Government funded Tourism organisation.

Tourism Queensland page for scUber.

*Uber states that its riders in the 2 selected areas have the opportunity to request a scUber ride directly in the Uber app between the 27th of May and the 18th of June 2019.

*Just 13 actual days are available for riders to share in this once in a lifetime experience.

*With just four days notice from the start of the promotion to its kick off.

*Uber riders will need an eye watering $3k per couple.

It is almost incredulous to see how anyone that just happens to be a tourist in Gladstone Queensland, a port town with very little tourism or in the Cairns area where most visitors would already have their reef activities well and truly booked and pre-planned ahead of time would have the free time and money for this promotion.

So the rider will need to do as follows; wake up ready to rock at 07:30 when the App will make the trip available. Then select the Barrier Reef as their destination in the Uber app.

The rider will then wait up to an hour for a call from an Uber staff member to advise that they have been successful.

It is worth noting here that this flies in the face of Uber’s long held claim that they are an App and just an intermediary and provide no actual services like taxis, helicopters and submarines. They simply can’t just be an intermediary if one of their staff is co-ordinating any part of the process. They are a de facto tourism operator and as such they must be responsible for all aspects of this trip. It is provided by them, clearly has their brand logo on the product, is coordinated by them and booked through their app.

As per Uber’s normal operating procedure they don’t own or operate any physical element of this trip. Despite Uber’s logo being emblazoned all over the submarine. They don’t own it, operate it or warrant its safety. So who actually operates the vehicle, helicopter and submarine portions of this amazing “rideshare” experience?

Well the car transfers are easy to work out, they will be handled by an Uber driver. Meaning if the potential scUber customer(s) are VERY lucky, they will get one of the few Uber drivers (Only 10%) who have not lied to their own insurance company that they are driving their own vehicle commercially, thus eliminating any insurance coverage not already eliminated by Uber’s fraudulent customer agreement for Australia.

*The Uber customer agreement is virtually a carbon copy of the same agreement the company uses for the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, India, South Africa, Spain, Portugal and every other country the company operates in.

The Helicopter will be provided by Nautilus Aviation and the Submarine by Aquatica Submarines.

It would appear that the bona fides of Nautilus Aviation are all above board.

It is actually quite confusing why Nautilus Aviation is even involved with this venture given the poor vetting and insurance aspects of the other providers involved.

So that leaves us with Aquatica Submarines. Who is this listed as a “third party provider” in this process. Are they a registered Australian company ? Are they insured to provide these submarine services and are they registered with the Australian Tax Office for GST purposes ?

It seems not. A search of the A.S.I.C. website shows no listing for Aquatica Submarines. There is no business name for this company in Australia and their Facebook page shows they are a Canadian manufacturer of these recreational style submarines.

Is anyone really going to try to book this experience through the app in the hope they may be the lucky ones ?

This is typical of Uber and their puppy, kitten and ice cream style brand marketing with little or no real substance just any thing to make the brand shine. An experience that is almost impossible to actually book, a prize that is almost impossible to win and a period of 13 days to access a promotion that garnered worldwide attention as some amazing opportunity to view the amazing Great Barrier Reef. Once again brand marketing par excellence Uber style. The reality is very different.


From Ubers Disclaimer, terms and conditions for scUber:

“The scUber experience is strictly limited and available for a limited time only. A scUber request can only be made using the Uber app on or after 7.30am on specified dates (set out below), for travel on the same date. A successful scUber request will be confirmed no later than 8:30am on the date it was requested and all riders must be available to commence travel by 9am on the same day. Uber does not guarantee availability of scUber rides. Each scUber trip is priced at $3000 for two riders. Where only one rider can attend, the full cost of the scUber trip remains due and payable. All passengers must be at least 18 years old and satisfy certain physical and legal requirements. Please note, Uber is not a submarine operator and all scUber rides will be operated by Aquatica Submarines. The specified dates for each of the participating geographical area are as follows:
Gladstone – 27th May, 28th May, 30th May, 31 May, 2nd June, 3rd June;
Port Douglas, Palm Cove and Cairns – 9th June, 11th June, 12th June, 14th June, 15th June, 17th June, 18th June. ”

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