The ride-sharing service Uber is now here and Bathurst’s taxi drivers are calling for the community’s ongoing support in response to the business’ introduction.
Having launched on Thursday, Uber is primed to provide a brand new alternative for members of the Bathurst community seeking public transport, running in direct competition to the city’s existing taxi service.
The launch of Uber in Bathurst has come of no surprise to the city’s taxi drivers.
“Since the industry has been deregulated, we knew it was only a matter of time before a ride-sharing franchise entered the Bathurst district,” Bathurst Taxis’ production development and marketing manager Paul Shanahan said.
Although Uber has the potential to change the landscape of public transport in Bathurst, Mr Shanahan is encouraging members of the community to continue to back local taxi drivers.
“Bathurst Taxis has been here for 50 years, and we want to stay here for another 50 years,” he said.
“We are under no legal obligation to provide this service, and we are entirely devoted to serving the community.”
The emergence of Uber has been seen as a factor in the decline of the value of taxi licenses Australia-wide.
According to NSW Government data, the average price for a taxi license transfer in Sydney sits at $99,000 as of November 2018, down from $400,500 in November 2012 when Uber first launched.
“Vehicle owners are working harder than ever to keep the patronage coming back to the taxi industry to maintain the value of their plates,” Mr Shanahan said.
The introduction of Uber poses a new challenge for Bathurst Taxis, but Mr Shanahan said that for the time being, drivers are not interested in directly competing with the ride-sharing service.
“Our principle at the moment is continuing to provide a 24 hour, 7 days a week service, as we have done since we first launched in Bathurst,” he said.
News of Uber’s launch was met with plenty of enthusiasm by younger members of the Bathurst community, while many older residents expressed skepticism of the service.
With Uber’s app-based booking service and pre-determined prices providing an attractive alternative for younger audiences, Mr Shanahan said Bathurst Taxis has similar measures in place.
“We introduced the Smart Hail booking app in 2013 to allow for greater convenience when booking a taxi,” he said.
“We do not vary our prices no matter how busy we are, and regardless of our workload, you’ll know exactly how much your fare will cost.”
Bathurst Taxis recently launched their ‘Support Locally Owned Taxis’ campaign in order to raise awareness of the service’s benefits.
“All our drivers have passed National Police and Working With Children Checks, and every dollar they make stays in Bathurst,” Mr Shanahan said.
In the last financial year, Bathurst Taxis turned over $4 million.