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Follow our lead on Uber: Barr

By Charlotte Harper 30 October 2015 113

Andrew Barr

Minutes after taking his first Uber ride in Canberra today, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr called on his counterparts in other states to adopt his regulatory model for ride-sharing.

“I am calling on other leaders around the country to look at the ACT model and to put that in place across the country because it will enhance productivity, it will support innovation and it will lead to better outcomes for Australians regardless of where they leave,” he said.

Uber driver Ulla Brunnschweiler and Andrew Barr

Uber partner-driver Ulli Brunnschweiler was one of the first people to personally congratulate ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr on ensuring Canberra was the first capital city in the world to regulate ride-sharing.

“I’m proud to be a Canberran,” she said at a lakeside launch event for Uber in the territory. “This is true leadership.”

Ms Brunnschweiler said Uber driving was the perfect fit for her life because she loves driving, has the right vehicle, the right qualifications and experience for the job.

“And I can choose when to work and for how many hours.”

Uber

As of noon today, you can download the Uber app and book a rideshare in Canberra. Rival service On Tap commenced operations last night providing further competition for the capital’s taxis, though taxis will still have an exclusive role in providing rank and hail service and wheelchair accessible taxi services.

Ms Brunnschweiler is one of 100 registered Uber drivers in Canberra, with more to come as the Uber team work around the clock to complete background checks and add new drivers.

A printmaker and photographer, Ms Brunnschweiler traded in her old car for a new Mitsubishi Mirage and will be driving during the day to boost her savings.

Fellow Uber driver Peter Mackay said he would use the income to supplement his public service pension.

“I was a cab driver for five years but retired four years ago,” he said.

Mr Mackay would be be driving a silver VW Golf, “like everyone else in Canberra”, he said.

Uber Australia CEO David Rohrsheim said he was “super-excited” to be launching in Canberra that it has been a pleasure working with the ACT government to bring the service to town.

“The Chief Minister and Shane Rattenbury heard consumers, they heard 1000s of people asking for change, asking for a better way to get around the city,” he said.

“They came to understand what are the right safety mechanisms, what are the right regulations to put in place to protect consumers, and so they did, in a very fact based way.”

Prices for Uber trips would typically be 20-30 per cent cheaper than a taxi ride over the same route, he said, acknowledging however that fares do increase in peak times to encourage more Uber drivers onto the roads to meet demand.

Mr Barr said his government would continue to support this sort of innovation in Canberra.

“That is a very clear indication of the direction my government will take, wanting to be national leaders in the sharing economy, and on innovation and entrepreneurship,” he said.

 


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dungfungus 8:18 am 06 Jan 16

rubaiyat said :

dungfungus said :

Masquara said :

It turns out that Uber were charging $700 for a trip home on New Year’s Eve in Sydney. Spread that out over your taxi use over a year and I suspect the taxis will work out cheaper overall. Seriously, as soon as they have the market to themselves, don’t expect Uber to do anything other than price-gouge. I won’t be going near them.

So, who were the idiots that allowed this gouging to happen in NSW?
I am confident our leaders in the ACT won’t let it happen here – they are smarter than these Uber people, aren’t they?

What do you mean “allowed”?

This is the free market at work, the conditions are set under the terms of the Uber agreement. Usually that translates into a tax on stupidity, collected at the credit card clearing house. Stupidity carries with it the highest tax rate of any tax, unfortunately not always charged to those providing this prodigiously plentiful and readily available commodity.

Another reason why Uber should run the buses and trams in the ACT.
Fares could be structured on supply and demand and the real cost of running public transport could become exclusively a “user pays” one.

dungfungus 8:11 am 06 Jan 16

wildturkeycanoe said :

chewy14 said :

Masquara said :

It turns out that Uber were charging $700 for a trip home on New Year’s Eve in Sydney. Spread that out over your taxi use over a year and I suspect the taxis will work out cheaper overall. Seriously, as soon as they have the market to themselves, don’t expect Uber to do anything other than price-gouge. I won’t be going near them.

For a couple of hours on one night during the absolute peak, not for “a trip home on New Years Eve”.

Honestly, is it really that hard to plan your trip ahead so you didn’t need to travel at that exact time? That you could wait out the price surcharge period? And if you do have to travel at that exact time, surely pre-organising a hire car would be much cheaper.

No sympathy for people who can’t plan ahead or read what they sign up for.

How would one drive a hire car home from NYE celebrations when inebriated? Where would one park the car that is close to the city center? That is why people get Uber and taxi services home. They are not going to wait until 6:30 on new year’s day to go home after staying up all night.
I don’t think ripping somebody off by $700 for a 20 minute ride is anything short of extortion. If a supermarket was to increase the cost of alcohol on NYE or indeed any other public holiday or convenient date just because they can, there’d be a whole lot more scrutiny than what is being done to these dodgy operators.

All Australian states and Territories sanction the policy of extra demerit points for traffic infringements over the Christmas / New Year “surge demand” period.
Is that extortion, gouging or what?

rubaiyat 10:06 pm 05 Jan 16

dungfungus said :

Masquara said :

It turns out that Uber were charging $700 for a trip home on New Year’s Eve in Sydney. Spread that out over your taxi use over a year and I suspect the taxis will work out cheaper overall. Seriously, as soon as they have the market to themselves, don’t expect Uber to do anything other than price-gouge. I won’t be going near them.

So, who were the idiots that allowed this gouging to happen in NSW?
I am confident our leaders in the ACT won’t let it happen here – they are smarter than these Uber people, aren’t they?

What do you mean “allowed”?

This is the free market at work, the conditions are set under the terms of the Uber agreement. Usually that translates into a tax on stupidity, collected at the credit card clearing house. Stupidity carries with it the highest tax rate of any tax, unfortunately not always charged to those providing this prodigiously plentiful and readily available commodity.

Masquara 6:40 pm 05 Jan 16

creative_canberran said :

Masquara said :

It turns out that Uber were charging $700 for a trip home on New Year’s Eve in Sydney. Spread that out over your taxi use over a year and I suspect the taxis will work out cheaper overall. Seriously, as soon as they have the market to themselves, don’t expect Uber to do anything other than price-gouge. I won’t be going near them.

If you had bothered to read beyond the headlines, you would have seen that was one trip, one of a few trips that were subject to excessive surge pricing. The users were made aware of the surge, they were just to dumb or drunk to realise. If you download an app, you should know how it works well in advance.

Around 98% of the Uber trips for were subject to 2.5x or less surge pricing, far less than the 7x in those few cases.

There are local start ups who are launching similar models to Uber, and you can bet the taxi operators themselves will launch similar functionality given their own drivers are already using Uber.

So if they gouge, the market will sort them. There will be competition, and most users did just fine on NYE.

Uber don’t have the monopoly yet. Get back to me once they’re there.

wildturkeycanoe 5:58 pm 05 Jan 16

chewy14 said :

Masquara said :

It turns out that Uber were charging $700 for a trip home on New Year’s Eve in Sydney. Spread that out over your taxi use over a year and I suspect the taxis will work out cheaper overall. Seriously, as soon as they have the market to themselves, don’t expect Uber to do anything other than price-gouge. I won’t be going near them.

For a couple of hours on one night during the absolute peak, not for “a trip home on New Years Eve”.

Honestly, is it really that hard to plan your trip ahead so you didn’t need to travel at that exact time? That you could wait out the price surcharge period? And if you do have to travel at that exact time, surely pre-organising a hire car would be much cheaper.

No sympathy for people who can’t plan ahead or read what they sign up for.

How would one drive a hire car home from NYE celebrations when inebriated? Where would one park the car that is close to the city center? That is why people get Uber and taxi services home. They are not going to wait until 6:30 on new year’s day to go home after staying up all night.
I don’t think ripping somebody off by $700 for a 20 minute ride is anything short of extortion. If a supermarket was to increase the cost of alcohol on NYE or indeed any other public holiday or convenient date just because they can, there’d be a whole lot more scrutiny than what is being done to these dodgy operators.

JessP 2:24 pm 05 Jan 16

I used Uber before Christmas from Belconnen to the Airport and found them fantastic. A new car, a friendly helpful driver and $20 cheaper than a cab. Brilliant.

On my return to Canberra airport, I considered Uber for the trip home (30 December). As soon as I used the app, I was advised that the surge price was 1.9 times the normal fare. Pretty clear immediately that Uber is not an option when there are 50 cabs waiting outside.

To not realise that surge pricing is happening – when the app tells you that there is a surge and what the multiplier is – is plain dumb.

I will be considering Uber whenever I need that type of service – and where the pricing is right I will be using it!!

SidneyReilly 10:31 am 05 Jan 16

Im just wondering if those opposed to Uber are doing so simply because of emotional bias or because of the fear of change.
If you want to stick to Taxis then do so, if you want to utilse Uber then do so. Thats really the only 2 practical alternatives apart from diving yourself. Action do provide a service but I find the time it takes eg Gordon to Civic far to long when its really a 30 minute drive at most….
Canberra has long been plagued with monopolies thats why we are ripped off at the bowser and for just about everything else, as soon as some competition comes to town there seems to be an organised outcry, take Ikea as an example…. There are lots of companies and individuals not paying their fair share of tax but Ikea becomes a target…. Ok I have digressed, no lets have some competition and see where it leads and I betcha Uber prices will creep up till they are just marginally cheaper than a taxi, Uber are not in this for job satisfaction, they are in it to make money….

creative_canberran 11:40 pm 04 Jan 16

Masquara said :

It turns out that Uber were charging $700 for a trip home on New Year’s Eve in Sydney. Spread that out over your taxi use over a year and I suspect the taxis will work out cheaper overall. Seriously, as soon as they have the market to themselves, don’t expect Uber to do anything other than price-gouge. I won’t be going near them.

If you had bothered to read beyond the headlines, you would have seen that was one trip, one of a few trips that were subject to excessive surge pricing. The users were made aware of the surge, they were just to dumb or drunk to realise. If you download an app, you should know how it works well in advance.

Around 98% of the Uber trips for were subject to 2.5x or less surge pricing, far less than the 7x in those few cases.

There are local start ups who are launching similar models to Uber, and you can bet the taxi operators themselves will launch similar functionality given their own drivers are already using Uber.

So if they gouge, the market will sort them. There will be competition, and most users did just fine on NYE.

Kalliste 9:18 pm 04 Jan 16

Masquara said :

It turns out that Uber were charging $700 for a trip home on New Year’s Eve in Sydney. Spread that out over your taxi use over a year and I suspect the taxis will work out cheaper overall. Seriously, as soon as they have the market to themselves, don’t expect Uber to do anything other than price-gouge. I won’t be going near them.

You might also find that at the time that Uber were charging $700 to people stupid enough to agree to a 7x multiplier that taxis would have been a very long wait.

The Uber system is based on demand, if people didn’t agree to the excessive amounts the multiplier would have gone down and been more reasonable. Also before the night Uber emailed people saying that it was going to be a busy night and made suggestions of when to book your ride home.

It’s not like they didn’t warn anyone.

dungfungus 9:15 pm 04 Jan 16

Masquara said :

It turns out that Uber were charging $700 for a trip home on New Year’s Eve in Sydney. Spread that out over your taxi use over a year and I suspect the taxis will work out cheaper overall. Seriously, as soon as they have the market to themselves, don’t expect Uber to do anything other than price-gouge. I won’t be going near them.

So, who were the idiots that allowed this gouging to happen in NSW?
I am confident our leaders in the ACT won’t let it happen here – they are smarter than these Uber people, aren’t they?

SidneyReilly 4:17 pm 04 Jan 16

dungfungus said :

If the part-timers are going to use the same vehicle for business and private the paperwork is going to be a nightmare and it will be closely scrutinised by the ATO for sure..

Is there a difference between using one vehicle for both business and domestic needs? I know several people who use their cars for both and it simply means keeping a log which I understand Uber does elecronically. But what does Uber charge a potential driver to get them on the road as Uber drivers….
I think a Leaf or a Volt would be an ideal car, cheap to run very low maintenance…. Strewth Hotwire your meter at the box and running costs a drop to zero with only a small time at her majesties pleasure when you’re caught….

chewy14 1:40 pm 04 Jan 16

Masquara said :

It turns out that Uber were charging $700 for a trip home on New Year’s Eve in Sydney. Spread that out over your taxi use over a year and I suspect the taxis will work out cheaper overall. Seriously, as soon as they have the market to themselves, don’t expect Uber to do anything other than price-gouge. I won’t be going near them.

For a couple of hours on one night during the absolute peak, not for “a trip home on New Years Eve”.

Honestly, is it really that hard to plan your trip ahead so you didn’t need to travel at that exact time? That you could wait out the price surcharge period? And if you do have to travel at that exact time, surely pre-organising a hire car would be much cheaper.

No sympathy for people who can’t plan ahead or read what they sign up for.

Masquara 6:09 pm 02 Jan 16

It turns out that Uber were charging $700 for a trip home on New Year’s Eve in Sydney. Spread that out over your taxi use over a year and I suspect the taxis will work out cheaper overall. Seriously, as soon as they have the market to themselves, don’t expect Uber to do anything other than price-gouge. I won’t be going near them.

OpenYourMind 11:31 pm 03 Dec 15

rubaiyat said :

Skyring said :

rubaiyat said :

gazket said :

If I’m stuck in traffic who’s on the train then.

All the sane, smart ones, passing the cars stuck in traffic, saving a mozza, and who have worked out that if we screw up this one there isn’t a Planet B to go to.

So why aren’t these “smart ones” taking the bus right now?

We’ve been over this a thousand times…

…because the bus is stuck in traffic too.

How do you keep struggling with all this?

That’s such a ridiculous statement. The only reason the tram gets any kind of advantage is it gets what is effectively a dedicated lane and screws over car commuters at intersections. A bus with the same lane and priority will cost fractions of the tram cost, travel faster, carry comparable numbers and be capable of actually going to most places people live. Take a look at the heat map for Uber, the passengers are travelling from all over the place – places a tram will never go.

Trams don’t offer some magical advantage over our future electric cars. Electric cars will be quieter and use renewable energy. I’ve stayed in St Kilda and the trams were frickin’ noisy. Ding, ding, ding, spark, spark. Even modern cars with IC engines are incredibly quiet. The big noise comes from trucks, motorbikes. Trams don’t remove either of these.

As for a tram passenger travelling at low cost. Hahaha. The travel is only low cost because the grand majority of ratepayers in ACT will get reamed. Even that Professor of Trams (whatever his name was), said that the tram is a terrible idea for Canberra.

Stop selling this tram nonsense.

Skyring 3:10 pm 03 Dec 15

Masquara said :

Once taxis aren’t around, how will the government make sure people without mobile phones can book transport? Such as old people. I haven’t heard anything on this issue so far …

Taxis will always be around. For that very reason. Taxis are also extremely good at serving sudden flows of passengers, such as after sporting or concert events, nightclubs closing, aircraft arriving, that sort of thing.

The Uber model struggles at such times, with drivers trying to find passengers in a crowd. The penalty of picking up the wrong passenger is dire, because it means that the wrong person is paying for the trip: the one left waiting for a car that has already left and is going to be very upset, and there will be confusion over the destination.

We’re probably not going to lose the traditional cab rank model any time soon. There will just be fewer cabs on the road.

dungfungus 10:30 am 02 Dec 15

rosscoact said :

Masquara said :

Once taxis aren’t around, how will the government make sure people without mobile phones can book transport? Such as old people. I haven’t heard anything on this issue so far …

You obviously don’t know many ‘old people’ as you call them. I cannot think of a single one of the people I know over 70 that don’t have a mobile phone. They’ve been in common use for 20 years you know, not exactly new technology. Admittedly there are some luddites who think that not using a mobile phone is a point of pride (as if).

I think you meant smart phones. Plenty of ‘old people’ have them too, less than mobiles admittedly but still in common use.

We all managed to make the transition to the metric system, go to the moon, from horses to cars, use phones instead of letters, without the ‘old people’ self-imolating, this might not be the end of the world you mob are predicting.

What will happen is that taxis will change for the better, they’ll still be there but will have better technology (oh no, think of the old people) and be customer focussed. If they don’t they will and should die out.

” If they don’t they will and should die out.”
I hope you were referring to the taxis and not old people.

rosscoact 8:42 am 02 Dec 15

Masquara said :

Once taxis aren’t around, how will the government make sure people without mobile phones can book transport? Such as old people. I haven’t heard anything on this issue so far …

You obviously don’t know many ‘old people’ as you call them. I cannot think of a single one of the people I know over 70 that don’t have a mobile phone. They’ve been in common use for 20 years you know, not exactly new technology. Admittedly there are some luddites who think that not using a mobile phone is a point of pride (as if).

I think you meant smart phones. Plenty of ‘old people’ have them too, less than mobiles admittedly but still in common use.

We all managed to make the transition to the metric system, go to the moon, from horses to cars, use phones instead of letters, without the ‘old people’ self-imolating, this might not be the end of the world you mob are predicting.

What will happen is that taxis will change for the better, they’ll still be there but will have better technology (oh no, think of the old people) and be customer focussed. If they don’t they will and should die out.

dungfungus 9:58 pm 01 Dec 15

Masquara said :

Once taxis aren’t around, how will the government make sure people without mobile phones can book transport? Such as old people. I haven’t heard anything on this issue so far …

This government really doesn’t care about what our senior citizens want.
As long as they shut up and keep paying the huge rate increases everything will be tickety-boo.

dungfungus 9:56 pm 01 Dec 15

Skyring said :

arescarti42 said :

I used Uber a few weeks ago to get back to the office from a meeting after having trouble getting a cab.

Clean car, pleasant driver, and it cost me about 30% less than the cab ride over. It’s a great service as far as I’m concerned, and I’ll be using it again.

Cabcharge and their lazy rent seeking monopoly can go get stuffed.

This and other comments underscore the reason for Uber’s success. A simple distinction makes it plain. When you call a taxi, your job is allocated to whatever driver is next on the queue for radio bookings in that area. He could be two suburbs away, but he gets the job because it’s his turn.

Call Uber, and the closest car is allocated the job.

Uber is structured for the convenience of the users. In every way, the model aims to do their best for the people actually digging into their pockets for the money.

Compare this to the other great public transport initiative in Canberra. The BST. Or the FST, as some call it. Bloody. Stupid. Tram.

Is that aimed at filling the needs of the user? No way. It’s a political initiative, aiming at scoring a pointless political point, it’s costing us millions already and the real pain is yet to begin. The service is expected to be slower than the existing buses.

And it’s going to *increase* private traffic. Because those using the buses will make the switch to the tram – they’ll have to, when the direct buses don’t run anymore – and people will see that those buses are now off the road and the driving is easier, and they will cheerfully fill up the gaps to the same level that drivers tolerate now.

Less people using public transport, more cars on the road. No thought for the actual users.

Uber – and their more expensive taxi cousins – reduce congestion on the roads, because each car saves several journeys, reduce the need for parking for all those cars sitting idle during the day, reduce the overall cost to the community.

Yes, in a few years we’ll have robot cars and all those drivers will be out of a job. So what? We’re already losing jobs to computers and robots hand over fist. If we try to protect any one industry from increasing automation, then we get outperformed by our foreign competitors.

One blessing. At least foreign nations can’t take over our taxi industry.

A Singaporean company already owns a fair slab of Cabcharge.

Masquara 6:44 pm 01 Dec 15

Once taxis aren’t around, how will the government make sure people without mobile phones can book transport? Such as old people. I haven’t heard anything on this issue so far …

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