I’ve have mixed emotions about this. If Uber’s introduction to the Victorian market has been anything like over here, I’m not surprised that taxi owners/drivers feel hard done by. Taxi plates purchased from the government cost $300k at one point and those investing had what they thought was an industry protected by strict transport laws. On the other hand, the service offered by the taxi industry has been questionable at best for a long time and it was inevitable that the industry would be disrupted.
I’m a little conflicted tbh. Taxi service has been shonky and awful for decades, and putting all your retirement cash into a single asset is beyond dumb, but part of the reason über is able to undercut taxis on price is by bypassing all sorts of security, employment, etc regulations that taxis have to abide by, and which are in place for damn good reasons.
That’s true but this was an investment in a business regulated by the government. Uber comes along and the government allows it to disrupt its own transport sector because its convenient. Managing the number of plates has always been a challenge for government. Too few plates and the public get sh*tty. Too many plates and the drivers spew because their income and investment is devalued.
Former premier C Barnett said of Uber’s intrusion at the time, “people like it, I’m not going to stand in the way”. Well the public likes cocaine too but I didn’t see him allowing a private entrepreneur to disrupt the regulated pharmaceutical industry.
It’s not quite so simple as screw the taxi industry IMO
I have no sympathy for the taxi industry, been rubbish for years
I have no sympathy for the investors who own 5 or 6 licences and have never driven taxi in their life
I have sympathy for the taxi driver who has worked in the industry for a few years, taken a mortgage out to finally buy his own taxi to make a living out of and is now left with a mortgage of $400k and a licence worth nothing.
The taxi industry needed to have a good look at itself no doubt about it but its not fair to allow Uber to circumvent the rules, regulations and costs that taxis are burdened by resulting in Uber gaining a huge market advantage. Technology has allowed ride-sharing to become a thing and unfortunately this impacts the small business taxi owner but the government isn’t helping by letting Uber do what it wants.
Yep, there are some areas of Uber that need to be better regulated, as Icey and HM mentioned above. Anecdotally, the drivers I’ve spoken to (all of them, I’m a latte sipping, leftie SJW from the inner suburbs), are happy with how Uber treats them. There’s a lot of former cabbies who are making more from Ubering than from cabbing.
Uber is filling a hole and it’s legal and above board, mainly because the governments in most states dropped the ball, either directly in their regulating handling of the taxi industry, or in related areas such as public transport, road infrastructure and the like. Taxi regulatory boards also seem to be a law unto themselves and in no way help the perception of their industry and its members.
As a user, I find Uber to provide the better service by the length of Flemington straight. Quicker, cleaner, friendlier, cheaper, easier to book, easier to pay.
Uber is doing taxi better than taxis do, that’s for sure. But the government has stitched up plate holders badly. And Uber or not, a taxi industry is still required for the foreseeable future. You can’t totally rely on a private company to provide a required service. Uber could change the rules at any time resulting in drivers telling them to get f*cked.
Private companies provide public transport, hospitals, energy, water, air travel… the list goes on.
FWIW, though, I agree they shouldn’t. Well, maybe air travel.
Anyone who purchased a plate from the government 2-5 years ago may have a case, but anyone who purchased one recently is not an astute investor and shouldn’t be eligible for sympathy or recompense in my view.
There’s a reason industry and capital recently shied away from the Libs idea to build a coal-fired generator in SA, this is no different.
All true but taxi plate owners aren’t sophisticated investors like energy companies and the like. Most of them are just mum + dad investors who wouldn’t have the where-withal to understand future market trends. A lot of them are new arrivals who have borrowed lots of money to buy into a sector that is, or was guaranteed by the government. They’ve been let down badly and there have been suicides or here because of it.
Industries get disrupted all the time. My tape deck became redundant within 18 months of CD’s becoming the preferred audio format. My CD player now collects dust due MP3 becoming the preferred format and so on. What’s different about the taxi business is that the government made the rules, sold licences to operate for lots of money then allowed an outside organisation to compete with the legal government regulated businesses without restrictions. That’s what’s different here and the plate owner deserve compensation in my view.