Uber policy challenge: winning co-operation from taxi start-up

Disruptive innovation is one of the greatest challenges for any regulator. Uber and the Victorian Taxi Services Commission are talking at last, but what next for other states?

Victorian Taxi Services Commissioner Graeme Samuel has welcomed as a “significant step forward” ride-sharing app Uber’s decision to engage with the regulator in a “constructive” manner over legislative and regulatory questions over its services.

Samuel told The Mandarin that while the company until recently had been taking “a really strange approach” by refusing to enter into dialogue with the Taxi Services Commission, the Victorian taxi industry regulator, it appeared that Uber “is now wanting to deal with the issues in a positive manner”.

He said that the commission was “taking a very pro-competitive approach” to ride-sharing apps like Uber, ingogo, and GoCatch: “We should be doing everything we can to facilitate competition. The more competition we can provide, the better off customers will be.”

Ride-sharing apps have proven highly contentious around the world. Uber has been banned in several municipal areas, with Germany recently becoming the first country to outlaw the UberPop service, which connects passengers with drivers without professional licenses. The San Francisco-based company allows users to request taxi-like services from their smartphones, and is present in roughly 150 cities around the world.

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  • Craig Tresise

    Very well written and researched article David. From an industry insider perspective if Uber succeeds in having the Govt regulators allow a ride sharing service then it will very quickly spell the death of the VHA (victorian hire cars/chauffeur cars) industry. Existing operators will simply sell or even abandon their VHA/VHB/VHC licences, once valued at over 85k I might add, and quickly fulfill the necessary requirements for ride share operations. If ride share requirements are merely a simple police check, which all existing operators have already, and some vehicle insurance then they will be able to continue to service all their existing clients via a ride share authority. The Govt would lose complete control over the standard of these services and the industry would become a greater free for all than it is currently.