Canberra is the only city in Australia where Uber has been recognised and legalised. Which is curious. Normally we’re on the back foot with that kind of thing. Whatever the reason, it’s a benefit. I took my first Uber trips yesterday and they worked flawlessly. I do want to make mention of the taxi drivers “plight”, though. Being a denizen of Canberra, I’ve caught a number of taxis in this city and plenty in others. Obviously, so have many of my friends and family. It’s not always a good experience and I don’t see how it being a regulated industry has necessarily made things safer. For example, after getting into a taxi in the city one evening we had our path blocked and then the car actually rammed by another taxi driver. He was upset that the driver I went with had jumped the rank. This guy literally using his car to block our way, threatened to assault the driver and then intentionally crashed into the car we were in – frankly the scumbag should have been hauled in front of a court. When I called Elite Cabs they told me that it wasn’t their responsibility and that I’d have to lodge a complaint against the drivers themselves. During other journeys one driver offered to sell us a range of drugs and women I know have feared sexual assault in some cases. A guy in Perth once joked to me that he took the long way because he saw my public servant lanyard and that “the government can pay for it!” One driver asked for a blowjob instead of a fare. There are innumerable other stories, obviously. So how about this? Never catch a taxi again!

Benefits of Uber over a taxi:

  • The two rides I called for arrived within 4 minutes. Remember, this is Canberra…
  • The app is awesome. You see in realtime everything you need to know – driver name, photo, car make and colour, license plate and Uber rating
  • Up to 30% less than a taxi fare.
  • No cash or any other transaction. Just get in and get out!
  • Because drivers are rated, they need to be professional. If they’re not, they don’t get the work.
  • Your trip summary is emailed to you with a map of the route taken and the breakdown of the fees
  • I haven’t used it yet but I assume the fare-splitting feature on the app will come in very handy.

Now that the public service here allows Uber along with taxi fares, the shift is well underway…