Perspective needed in uber (so-called) “popularity”

Queensland’s peak taxi body has called on politicians and regulators to keep perspective when talking about the popularity of illegal taxi services.

Taxi Council Queensland (TCQ) CEO Benjamin Wash said he supported comments from Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday calling for a level playing field across the taxi industry.

However he is concerned by some comments from politicians and journalists that the illegal taxi service was “incredibly popular”, stating that the figures showed “Queenslanders overwhelmingly don’t want private taxis that ignore safety regulations”.

“While uber talk about their 150,000 customers, the Queensland taxi industry has 110 million customers.”

“By their own figures – which are likely inflated and cannot be proved, uber transports around 0.13 per cent of the amount of customers who catch taxis. You can’t make public policy on that,” he explained.

Mr Wash said while uber talk about transporting 100,000 customers per year, taxis transport over 250,000 customers per day in Queensland alone.

He also pointed out that the 100,000 “downloads” of the uber app claimed by the company are dwarfed by the hundreds of thousands of downloads of apps from taxi companies in Brisbane alone.

“The popularity of uber doesn’t exist, but they have done a good job of spinning the facts and influencing some gullible journalists to preach their message in a messianic fashion.”

He said TCQ was about the facts, not the hype, and re-emphasised that the 15,000 small business owners that made up the Queensland taxi industry were committed to high customer service, safety based regulation and servicing all areas at all times.

“uber is operating illegally and Queenslanders – by the actual numbers – are rejecting this.”