While Wollongong appears on the Uber app and website, the ridersharer is not driving around the streets of the city.
But it does appear to be feeling out the region.
The Uber app gives the impression things are already up and running.
It shows a map of Wollongong, with the customer’s location, and will ask where they want to go.
Only then is the customer told “unfortunately Uber is currently unavailable in your area”.
The website will offer the customer a fare estimate in Wollongong, only to state “we’re unable to provide a fare estimate for that trip”.
There have also been rumours Uber is on the cusp of operating in the Illawarra but a company spokesman scotched that idea.
.. we have no current launch plans for Wollongong- Uber spokesman
“While we have no current launch plans for Wollongong, we're keeping a close eye on demand for ridesharing from both riders and driver-partners across NSW,” the spokesman said.
It is understood the company has included Wollongong on the app as a way of gauging interest in the region.
That way Uber can tell whether there’s enough demand for their service in the region.
Similarly it is believed Uber has opened expressions of interest in being a driver in the Illawarra, as a way of assessing the potential of the market.
The Wollongong taxi industry has claimed Uber won’t come to the region because, with free transport alternatives like the Gong Shuttle and various courtesy buses, there is barely enough business for the taxi drivers.
The Uber spokesman did not respond to questions about whether the customer base was too small for Uber to bother with Wollongong.
“In other regional areas, we have seen ridesharing help take pressure off existing transport networks, offering locals a safe, affordable and reliable way to get around the area,” he said.
The closest Uber has come to operating in the Illawarra was when it spend a day delivering ice cream in July 2015.
Since then, the company has consistently said they had “no plans” to start up in the Illawarra.