IF you ask councillor Jess Jennings, there is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition.
However, he’s not certain that Uber and the Bathurst taxi service will be going into their competition on an even playing field.
Cr Jennings has requested that the NSW Taxi Council and Uber meet with Bathurst Regional Council separately to discuss issues that may arise when the ride sharing service comes to the region.
“I want to get a clear understanding from both entities as to what they think the impact might be on Bathurst, because I think it is very clearly a safety net issue at stake here as to whether or not we will be able to maintain a 24-7 taxi service, regardless of who actually delivers it,” he said.
Uber has proved quite successful in metropolitan markets, but there is some uncertainty as to how it will perform in a regional city.
READ MORE: Uber in Bathurst: The community reacts
Cr Jennings said he wasn’t sure Bathurst’s population could sustain both Uber and the traditional taxi service.
“It’s very easy for new entities to come in, undercut the market and effectively crash the market, so it’s not profitable for anyone to operate,” he said.
“Which then means the real losers out of that are not just the existing taxi owners, but also the Bathurst community, because the potential is there for the taxi service to be withdrawn.
“It might not be withdrawn completely, but you might start losing the quieter periods of the week, [these] might not be supported by the service.”
Other concerns include the safety of people using Uber, pay rates, and whether Uber could service people with physical impairment, particularly if the traditional taxi service was lost.
“I’m personally not against competition, in fact I am personally in favour of healthy competition, but this is not necessarily healthy competition if this is such a small market and, as such, a fragile market,” Cr Jennings said.
“We run the risk of crashing that market.”
While he has been liaising with the NSW Taxi Council, Cr Jennings is waiting to hear back on when council can meet with both entities.