GoCatch have launched GoCar, "the country’s first locally-owned ride-sharing service", in Sydney.
The service is available through the regular GoCatch app, and aims to "offer passengers and drivers new levels of choice and usher in an alternative to the unpopular surge fare pricing, favoured by other operators."
GoCatch said in a statement "GoCar aims to improve the ride-sharing experience for both passengers and drivers, providing much-‐needed choice and convenience.
"Passengers will no longer be subject to pricing that changes constantly due to demand. GoCatch’s fleet of drivers will operate cars that are less than 9 years old and meet GoCatch’s strict quality criteria."
GoCatch CEO Ned Moorfield says it’s all about providing more options.
"Uber has had a grip on the market for long enough. Having a locally-owned Australian made ride-sharing platform will provide much needed choice and competition and hopefully, prevent issues such as the New Year’s Eve horror stories of riders unknowingly spending hundreds of dollars to get home because of surge pricing," said Moorfield.
"Instead of a US-based platform that is unable to accept the ruling of the ATO on GST, we will also make it easy for drivers to operate legally and effectively whilst paying our fair share of taxes. There will not be any restrictions from our end for drivers who would like to utilise more than one ride-‐sharing platform to earn additional income."
NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello welcomed the arrival of a local ride-sharing alternative.
"The NSW Government supports innovative business models that offer greater choice for consumers and promote competition. Last year we moved to legalise ridesharing services and it is pleasing to see new players, such as GoCatch, entering the market following that decision," said The Hon. Victor Michael Dominello, MP.
More than 350,000 Australians have downloaded the GoCatch app nationwide since its inception in 2011. GoCatch now processes over 100,000 taxi bookings a month, with more than 35,000 registered taxi drivers using the platform. Moorfield says the launch of GoCar will also create additional opportunities for the taxi industry.
"Ride-sharing coexists with traditional taxis and in fact, research shows the growth of ride-sharing results in more customers for everyone. Street hails are still very popular, particularly in large cities like Sydney and Melbourne and will continue to support our existing base of taxi drivers whilst also expanding our service offering into ride-sharing," added Moorfield.
GoCatch says GoCar will provide "competitive pricing for both drivers and passengers."
Fares are priced based on set peak and off-peak rates based on time of day and day of week, with peak hour covering morning commute hours Monday to Friday and evenings, into the early mornings on weekend.
Fares will be 20 to 30 per cent cheaper than a taxi off-peak and 10 to 15 per cent cheaper than a taxi peak.
Drivers are charged a 15 per cent commission versus Uber’s 20 per cent, and earn at least 10 per cent more on each job compared with Uber, GoCatch has revealed.
GoCar will initially be available in Sydney, servicing the Inner West, Eastern Suburbs and Sydney CBD, with more locations to be announced.
A new GoCar Driver Centre is also now open at 187 Concord Rd, in North Strathfield in Sydney’s western suburbs, to begin processing driver applications, training drivers, and assessing vehicles.
The process of accrediting GoCar drivers includes verifying the driver’s age and eligibility, vehicle ownership, registration, insurance and maintenance, a check of the applicant’s driving record and criminal history and a visual inspection of each vehicle.