Ride share expansions could threaten Warwick cabbies
THE continued expansion of ride share companies through regional Queensland has raised concerns for the Warwick taxi industry.
Last week, ride share service Didi announced its new Toowoomba service, where it will join rival companies Uber and Ola, highlighting their popularity in regional areas.
According to Toowoomba Uber driver and Ride Share Drivers Association vice president John Campbell, a ride share service in Warwick would boost employment and diversify the market.
"When ride share comes into country towns, it's a good thing, because it's a predominantly successful employer of people aged 40 to 65 or older," Mr Campbell said.
"However, it is a twofold effect; one is they diminish the earning capacity of the existing taxi companies, which is concerning because it's an essential service.
"It's a big brave world, everything we knew has been completely reset, so it's just a matter of finding our feet now - we think a lot of the traditional taxi companies will go by the wayside."
Mr Campbell added many Toowoomba ride share drivers already make long-distance trips to the Warwick area, and the pandemic's push toward online sales could further increase the services' popularity.
"There is quite a lot of long-distance trip, especially to stand in for public transport, because if they've missed the bus, the only thing they can do is catch a cab or ride share, and ride share wins out because it's cheaper," he said.
"I think the pandemic has changed a lot of things, and one of the things it has changed is the way people are going to spend their money - online, through ride share and that sort of thing.
"Ride share I think for Warwick could be a great thing, because it's going to open up employment, offer a cheaper mode of transport, and a more personalised way of travelling."
Currently the only taxi service provider in the area, Warwick Cabs owner David Watson said he was unthreatened by ride share companies' potential move to the region.
"I welcome competition, because no one does the job better than us cabs, and I don't think (ride shares) are sustainable or profitable," Mr Watson said.
"Taxis have been around almost as long as prostitution, and it's because we do the job well and at the right rates.
"If ride shares take over, and the cab world is diminished, it would have a huge impact on the elderly and those with disabilities who rely on us."