Could Uber ride sharing become the new taxi in Gladstone?
THE alternative taxi service company Uber is continuing to expand with the ride sharing company starting up operations on the Sunshine Coast this week.
The app-based company is yet to come Gladstone's way - but is it something that could work here in town?
The ride sharing service works by connecting Uber members with UberX drivers who via GPS will pick you up and drop you off anywhere you wish.
After you make a request through the app a text message will be sent to your phone and let you know your driver has arrived.
Once you reach your destination your fare is automatically charged to your credit or debit card on your file.
Although Uber drivers are vetted by the company, members can also get involved and rate a driver's performance after a trip.
As a big player in Australia's "sharing economy" the Uber service has received plenty of praise for revolutionising how we get from "A to B" but not everyone is happy.
Owner of Gladstone's Blue and White Taxis Allan Rowe said he wasn't afraid of Uber coming to town.
"We are a 24 hour service that employs people who live in the area and our drivers go through every check you could think of," he said.
"We are part of the public transport service but Uber just do what they like. They're an overseas company that doesn't pay any tax and just thumbs its nose at the legislation we have to abide by.
"We aren't afraid of them but we just want a level playing field," he said.
A cease and desist order was slapped on the company by the Queensland government last year which netted the government $1.7 million in paid fines.
Despite this measure the controversial ride sharing service continues to allow certified drivers to take the wheel and get paid for chauffeuring passengers between destinations using their own UberX cars.
With 200,000 members and 4000 drivers it seems like people can't get enough of the friendly, efficient and cheap service but traditional taxi services have virtually declared war on its new rival.
The Taxi Council Queensland chief executive officer Benjamin Wash said the Uber service was illegal and did not allow traditional taxi services to operate on a level playing field.
"We have illegal, tax-avoiding taxi operators who refuse to meet even the most minimal of safety standards, and these people are undermining the legal business operations of over 16,000 small business operators that make up the state's taxi industry," he said.
"[It's] the ultimate in hypocrisy for police and government to tell taxi operators not to take the law into their own hands when they themselves refuse to uphold the law by policing and stopping illegal taxi operators."
Have your say: comment below
Have you ever used Uber and would you like to see it in Gladstone?
How would you rate the performance of Gladstone's existing taxi services?