Mannkal Economic Education Foundation


An offer you can refuse! [Say no to the Mafia-style remedy in the Uber vs Taxi dispute]

Ron Manners

3 October 2016

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An offer you can refuse!

[Say no to the Mafia-style remedy in the Uber vs Taxi dispute]

Let’s look at the latest attempt to ‘milk the public’ in the emerging open competition between ride sharing (Uber) and the protected taxi industry.

The history.

Some years ago as a way of extracting higher prices from the travelling public, the Western Australian taxi industry (now controlled from Singapore) did a Mafia-style deal with our State Government.

“If we pay you ‘protection money’ you agree to protect us from competition.”

This gave the government a ‘river of money’ in the form of Plate Licences and in return gave the taxi industry a monopoly with obvious outcomes.

Enter the digital age.

Then, around 2015, along comes competition from quicker, cheaper, cleaner, private-owner, ride sharing.

It has been my pleasure to experience Uber in so many different countries and it was interesting to see in Athens, last year, that regular taxis had joined forces with Uber and as the driver explained to me, “When we looked at the Uber way of doing business, we decided to join it rather than fight it.”

Two solutions to the problem

The answer is either ‘competition’ or ‘compensation’.

Current negotiations between the taxi industry and the State Government are, unfortunately, focused only on ‘compensation’ with the taxpayers (travelling public) again likely to be slugged either with a $2 per Uber ride levy or $100 per year vehicle fee, passed on to riders.

How can this be fair?

The government received the ‘protection money’ from the taxi industry and if the taxi industry thought that this protection from competition was a ‘forever event’ and can find contractual evidence of this, they should take legal action against the State for fraud.

I somehow think the taxi industry would not like to expose their modus operandi in this way.

This dispute is entirely between the taxi industry and the State Government so the travelling public, not being implicated in this dispute, should step away from this war zone.

The only fair remedy

Leave it to the travelling public, to choose its method of transport, without government meddling.

Whoever provides the fastest, cleanest, cheapest, travelling experience will win this battle in the marketplace, not in the grubby corridors of politics.

For a humorous take on the taxi industry’s unreasonable demands, please watch the below video from our friends at the Australian Taxpayers Alliance.

Ron Manners

Oct. 2017

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