Queensland taxi licence owners fear price drop as Uber gains traction
· ALEXANDRIA UTTING
· THE COURIER-MAIL
· APRIL 11, 2015 9:00AM
THE price of Brisbane taxi licences could fall by 20 per cent if Uber is allowed to gain further market traction, an academic warns.
Queensland University of Technology lecturer Nicolas Pontes said legalising ride-sharing services such as Uber and removing restrictions on the number of taxi licences issued would change Australia’s $5.5 billion taxi industry.
“We don’t know what exactly is going to happen in Brisbane but what happened in other places like New York in 2013 was that (licence prices) dropped about 70 per cent after uber started in the marketplace,” Dr Pontes said.
Dr Pontes, an advertising and consumer behaviour lecturer from QUT’s Business School, said licences in Victoria fell from $500,000 to $290,000 last year after the State Government removed restrictions on the number available.
“I don’t think that is the amount of (price) reduction we’re expecting in Brisbane, I’d say it’s about 20 per cent, but it depends if ride-share will be in the market.”
Australian Taxi Industry Association figures put the price of a new licence in Queensland metropolitan areas at $519,000 in 2014. However, many private sellers, who were unwilling to speak on the record for fear of being unable to on-sell plates, said they had received offers of no higher than $150,000 this year.
One licence holder said they were forced to lease their plates after being unable to onsell them.
IBISWorld Senior Industry Analyst, Stephen Gargano, said licences in Queensland were no longer a good buy in light of recommendations made by the Australian competition watchdog’s Harper Review.
“It would be an extremely risky investment, with a lot of questions over which way regulation will go,” he said.
However, Taxi Council Queensland CEO, Benjamin Wash, reassured licence holders. “I think they remain a good investment and, in light of the Harper Review, I don’t anticipate any change in the Queensland taxi industry because the Harper Review had a fairly narrow scope,” he said.
A spokesman for Deputy Premier and Minister for Transport Jackie Trad said any legislative change based on review recommendations would be considered once the Queensland Government Taxi Strategic Plan expired later this year.