There's a brewing battle between taxi companies and Uber, the latter of which is gaining more and more popularity each day — and NSW Transport Minister and Deputy Leader Gladys Berejiklian has drawn a line in the sand. Though the line seems to have more to do with what Uber calls itself than what it does.
Unsurprisingly, taxi companies aren't happy with Uber. The app traditionally allows passengers to rate their taxi drivers, and pay via credit card through the app, avoiding extra fees. But its new service allows anyone over the age of 24 without a criminal history to give someone else a ride — severely undercutting taxis in the process.
When prompted by 2GB's Ben Fordham, Minister Berejiklian wasn't ready to take a side on the matter — acknowledging both that technological innovation should be encouraged in the marketplace, and consumers need to be protected by regulation.
You can listen to the interview here, and enjoy Fordham pronouncing the app "yoober".
The long and short of it seems to be that while an official "taxi" service has regulations, there aren't any rules against just plain giving someone a ride. And Uber has been careful to not attach the word "taxi" to this new ridesharing initiative.
With more taxi licenses on the road than ever, having a cabbie complain to me about the lack of fares has become a fairly regular thing. Then again, maybe it's always been that way. I'm always a fan of disruptive technology in the free market, but due the taxi companies have a point? Does this need more regulation? Is there anything Gladys Berejiklian should be doing about this?