Uber launched in Australia 2 years ago, in October 2012. If you haven’t heard of it, here’s a quick recap.
Uber is a car ride-sharing service backed by Google – it allows you use its app to catch a ride from one of its drivers. Just about anyone with a car can be a driver – not just taxis, but also serviced cars and even ordinary people (like this). The benefit for the average person is simple. Because drivers don’t need to pay for expensive taxi licenses, Uber rides are generally cheaper than taxis (or so they claim).
For taxi drivers, they get the benefit of additional jobs, when they used to just wait at the rank.
However, the taxi industry has been at logger-heads with Uber entering the market. Taxi drivers protested against the service in Perth and the Government is cracking down on Uber’s drivers in Adelaide, NSW and Victoria. Many critics cite the security concerns when anyone and any car can transport the public.
Despite similar critics in the US and in Europe, the consumer reaction has been overwhelmingly the opposite. When taxi drivers went on strike in London, Uber saw an 850% jump in sign-ups. Globally, Uber’s CEO says that they are doubling revenue every six months.
So given our local industry reaction, we wanted to see how ordinary Australians are reacting.