Opinion

Uber entry in Shepparton poses questions

By Shepparton News

Finally, Uber is set to complete its trip up the Hume Fwy into Shepparton, launching in the region today.

The company had last year revealed, to some surprise, that it would be expanding into Shepparton.

Uber’s introduction into the transport marketplace in Shepparton is cautiously welcomed.

Cautiously, because its integration needs to be done fairly.

From a market perspective, the ‘‘ride sharing’’ services expansion into the region is anecdotally set to present more transport options.

In time, it may create a portion of employment for the city, and potentially drive the cost of taking a taxi or Uber down.

Like some app-driven services and businesses that disrupt traditional marketplaces, there is typically set to be concerns they can pose a threat to existing industries.

Last year, one taxi operator anticipated it would likely impact sedans and weekend business most specifically, but it will clearly take some time for the impact to taxi businesses to be fully understood.

It is equally unclear what sort of take-up rate the service will have locally with those taking taxis.

Irrespective, it highlights the requirement for governments to move to ensure that competition and the introduction services such as Uber make into new marketplaces is fair and equitable.

Some already have, with the matter tackled last year in Victorian Parliament where a legal framework was reverse-engineered to permit Uber to operate.

While supporting the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Bill, which provided Uber with a legal framework to operate under, State Member of Shepparton Suzanna Sheed at the time highlighted that Shepparton’s taxis provide a vital service to some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.

It is difficult to imagine Uber entirely replacing such a service.

It is difficult to assess how fair or otherwise remuneration measures for the taxi industry are.

This rollout will no doubt be watched closely by taxi drivers and operators in the region.

As it will undoubtedly change the landscape of transport options locally into the future, we hope that taxi operators are not hit too significantly by a market disruption of this kind.

Many will no doubt watch with interest.