The government allowed Uber to destroy the monopoly they paid for.
The government allowed Uber to destroy the monopoly they paid for. WILL OLIVER

OPINION: Not convinced Uber is all it's cracked up to be

I'VE never really been that excited by the concept of Uber.

The drivers of taxis I've used have almost always been polite and easy to chat to. They've never tried to go the long way and I actually thought the tariffs - which the government, not cabbies, sets - were more than fair.

Their cars have always been clean (perhaps more of a comment on the state of my car) and I've never worried about them being unsafe.

So I've not been that excited by Uber's reputation for drivers and cars that are streets ahead of cabbies and taxis.

A few other things have made me wary too - the supply-and-demand driven surge pricing that can leave people with potentially cheaper trips but also unexpected fares of hundreds of dollars, stories of false cleaning fees and the like.

And while many readers would know I'm a regular champion of the free market, I'm personally not a fan of the way Uber launched in Queensland and the government's response.

There was nothing free or fair about a company undercutting taxi owners who paid hundreds of thousands for licences that granted them a monopoly.

From 2014 to 2017, taxi licences plunged 78 per cent in value in Brisbane - ruining people's investments.

The government allowed Uber to destroy the monopoly they paid for and then offered just $20,000 compensation for licensees.

Having said that, now that the global ride-sharing app is legal and despite lingering misgivings, there's no reason to oppose its introduction to regional areas.

I'm excited for those people who will seize the opportunity and hopefully earn money.

They'll be joining what's been termed the "gig economy" of temporary work that has flourished around the world - companies dealing with independent workers who enter contracts to do short-term, temporary work.

Many people have expressed their desire for Uber in Bundaberg and, given high unemployment, it will be interesting to see how supply and demand pans out.



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