Uber appears to be well entrenched in its growth trajectory across Australia and the main cities like Sydney and Melbourne. If one considers the number of trips made annually by the taxi industry as a whole, traditional taxis continue to lead the pack with well over 50% of all the trips going to regular taxis. That perhaps answers the question why traditional taxis continue to be patronised by customers.
Price advantage in certain situations
Given the surge pricing adopted by Uber and similar services, customers may have an advantage with traditional taxis, assuming that availability is not an issue and a traditional taxi is willing to accept the fare of the client. Surge pricing by Uber has been a sore point in many of the 300 cities that it operates globally. In most cities, Uber has been able to get away with surge pricing on the ground that customers have advanced notice of what they are expected to pay. It is only when the client accepts surge pricing, he/she parts with the enhanced fare. Thus, the Uber argument is that there is no element of surprise involved for the user. In other words, it just takes it or leaves it – as simple as that. Moreover, if you’re travelling with a group or family, Uber don’t offer many options like 10 seater maxi taxis.
Globally, the taxi industry is regulated, and taxi drivers are required to comply with these regulations if they are to offer rides to fare paying passengers. Background check for traditional taxi drivers is significantly different from what applies to Uber drivers. Background checks for traditional taxi drivers use the fingerprint-based “Livescan” method and further filter it through FBI and Department of Justice systems that are free from jurisdictional limitations based on time. These systems are regularly updated and are more encompassing in character.
But the female drivers from Uber can turn the apple cart. Women drivers for Uber presently account for about 12% of the total force or some 20,000 individuals. There are many reports that women passengers prefer women drivers and some Uber services even offer women only fares which mean the cab will have no male in it. Now this is obviously not in favour of traditional taxis most of which are manned by people. As many Victorians would agree, this service has already gained popularity among women passengers, and the trend is growing, Traditional taxis are on the other hand bound to experience multiple challenges in countering this move by Uber.
Confidence building exercises on the anvil
Traditional taxis can counter Uber and similar services by launching confidence building exercises to win back customers. In every city or town, it is perhaps just a handful of people in a given profession that drive the entire profession into disrepute. Identifying these elements within the fraternity and counselling them is another helpful measure. Enhanced customer service will eventually lead to a shift in the negative perception that is currently prevailing and pave way for customers preferring traditional taxis over the technology based services.