Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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HomeIssue 10Uber: Who will win?

Uber: Who will win?

Sir – I am commenting on the taxi / Uber situation in the Northern Territory.
About 18 years ago the Shane Stone government bought back all the NT taxi licences at a price very close to the market value of that time. The NT government deregulated the industry and leased back those licences to whomever wanted to operate a taxi. Today those licences return the NT government about $3.5m per year.
Now we are looking at the present government introducing the Uber model. What will it return to the people of the NT?
The Uber system system uses credit / debit cards for payment – which goes to which bank? Where? How do you collect GST when there is no record of transactions in Australia? What will be the income to the NT government / people?
Interstate the licences are / were big money so the interstate taxis industry is fighting the Uber model but in the NT the government owns the licences and collects the fees for operating a taxi.
What is the investment for a taxi operator in the NT at present? Say a car worth $10,000, a radio worth say $500 and a meter worth say $500 – all being second hand now, if they can get a sale for these items.
So the NT taxi operator can walk away with a small loss compared to the interstate operator or he can use his car on Uber and throw away the radio and meter.
There are three types of people in the world – those who can count, those who cannot count and those who are public servants and politicians.
Colin Saunders
Gympie, Queensland (formerly Alice Springs)
PHOTO: Uber promotion in the USA.


  1. Oh please. Taxi operators have taken the travelling public for granted for years. While I agree that fares and GST should be paid correctly the Uber platform is excellent for its use, ability and flexibility to meet changes in demand.
    These days the equipment in a cab can be replaced by an iPhone and some software, I was just driven to the Canberra Railway station in a brand new Subaru with a courteous driver. I have a photo, registration and number plate in my email.
    He has a 4.8 out of five satisfaction rating, I would choose Uber over a cab most times for this reason.
    When I summoned him I could see him coming through the app and the fare was automatically charged to my credit card. Like most drivers he offered me a cold bottled water.
    Fix the fares, make them pay GST but bring it on for the NT.

  2. Fix the fares? NT taxi fares are among the cheapest in the country.
    Why do you want to begrudge a taxi driver earning an income, and paying the costs involved in earning that income?
    Ask yourself why so few Uber drivers stay for the long haul.

  3. Uber is the same as any business operating in Australia. Why does it matter that the money goes straight into a bank account? Most businesses take EFTPOS … same thing.
    I own a business that accepts EFT, I am registered for GST, I pay taxes, there are government bodies to ensure I do so, as I’m sure there are for taxis, ride shares etc.
    Paul, it would be no different that the hire cars. Uber will have good and bad operators, just like taxis and hire cars have.

  4. Again we hear from those that travel to railway stations and say what a great idea for something in the Northern Territory, not knowing that we only have one or two trains a week. Everything is not the same as in the large bureaucratic power house city.
    What the industry is up against is another multinational company that is manipulating the systems to suit themselves.
    What will this change do to improve the transport in the Territory? Nothing that could not be archive by the operators already in the industry. The government is looking to sacrifice about $3.5m of revenue it receives from the taxis now as you must look at the possibility of operators ditching the current taxis and all taking up the alternative.
    We still think self-regulation works. It doesn’t seem to as this is the main cause of all the negative comments on the industry at present.
    Would all the current issues in regards to the present industry suddenly disappear with the introduction of this company? You would really be fooling yourself if you did as it would also develop the same faults.
    Some solutions?
    Could the taxi industry with support of government not develop a network or their own, running side by side with the communication network already in place, of ride sharing cars keeping the revenue in the Territory and the GST here as well?
    Could the industry have better inspection procedures put in place to keep industry standards up to a public expected standard?
    This also leads to the questions of what is going to be put in place to regulate the ride sharing cars and if one is going to be put in place. Why NOW?
    Some questions: Will the ride sharing company be paying the GST in Australia in line with the new GST overseas transaction rules starting this year? If not what contribution to our economy will it be making?
    The security of the cars should be looked at as with other drivers in the carriage of passengers. What legal repercussion is there for a car owner giving his car to friend to make a quick dollar on a night the owner can’t drive it?
    Would he be unlicensed and uninsured as well?
    What about in regards to airports and national parks as you could assume they will go there?
    Do they have permits to operate commercially to these locations?
    Bring on the spin doctors but looking forward to hearing back from those directly involved.

  5. What do people with a disability do who rely on a taxi subsidy card? Uber don’t / can’t accept them … its not all that simple and straight forward!


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