Any further regulation of rider sharing companies would only benefit taxi owners. (Pic: Laura Dale)
Any further regulation of rider sharing companies would only benefit taxi owners. (Pic: Laura Dale)

Ride-sharing services don’t need more regulations

I DON'T care if I never have to catch another cab again.

Sure, I've had the odd pleasant experience, like meeting the cabbie who was almost as passionate about Delta Goodrem as me, or the other guy who decorated his cab with glow sticks for New Year's Eve.

But for the most part my hundreds, possibly thousands, of journeys in cabs over the years have fluctuated between mediocre and downright horrific.

Like the time I was groped by a cabbie under the guise of him pretending to help me with my bag. I was out of the cab at the time so I couldn't get his cab number and was so horrified at what had happened I just grabbed my stuff and ran.

Unfortunately, because I hailed the cab and didn't order it there was no record of who the creep was so he was let off scott free to continue abusing other passengers willy nilly.

Or the time I was yelled at because my fare was not very long.

I was on crutches at the time and explained I couldn't get there by walking and even after I offered to pay a minimum fare of $10 for his trouble he still proceeded to berate my fare as a "waste of time".

Or that other time when a cabbie asked me if I had a boyfriend - I said "yes" even though I didn't because I was uncomfortable with his increasingly invasive questions.

His response? "I bet you have a lot of boyfriends."

There’s a reason so few people want to catch taxis and cabs. (Pic: Marc Robertson)
There’s a reason so few people want to catch taxis and cabs. (Pic: Marc Robertson)

As if I'd be catching cabs if I had "a lot of boyfriends". I would have made them drive me.

So it's hardly surprising when Uber came around I downloaded the app quicker than a cabbie could ask "Can you direct me?"

I've had nothing but excellent experiences so far. I know that's not the case for everyone - just the other day my pal told me she'd never use the ride sharing service again after her credit card details were accessed through it. But I love the affordability, the convenience and accountability of it.

If someone is a pervert they'll get banned. If a fare is too small they just won't accept it. And anyway, their fares are automatically hooked up to their phone's GPS so getting taken along the scenic route is a thing of the past.

I honestly couldn't see myself going back to being a regular cab user ever again.

And I'm not alone.

This week The Courier-Mail revealed the value of Queensland's taxi industry has plunged as much as 80 per cent since Uber and other ride share companies came onto the scene.

You'd have to be a jerk to not feel for the likes of Scott and Liz Hasted who estimate they "burned" about $1 million on buying two licences for $840,000 that they were forced to sell last year for just $135,000 each. They still have $680,000 in bank debt on those licences.

Or for Bereket Nwatu who spends up to 16 hours six days per week driving his cab just trying to make ends meet.

But while my heart breaks for these people who were unlucky in their business ventures, I'd be furious if the Government were to step in.

There have been calls for the State Government to bring in even stricter regulations on ridesharing companies.

One suggestion has been to cap the number of Ubers allowed to operate in ana area - which would be a nightmare.

An Uber driver might be a single parent or a student and may only be able to drive as little as once a month. It's enough to supplement their income but the irregularity of many different people working sporadically would wreak havoc if the numbers were to be capped. It just doesn't make sense, the system works through supply and demand.

Any further regulation of rider sharing companies would only benefit taxi owners.

The system we have works for the people it's supposed to, us - the many, not the few.

Taxis were a protected industry and now they're not.

It's not the first industry to be decimated by innovation and it won't be the last.

It sucks for the thousands of people who invested in or work in this industry.

But it's been great for the many millions of consumers.

It's time we just let nature take its course.

Jill Poulsen is a senior writer for The Courier-Mail.



Local Partners