The Victoria Taxi Federation’s #YourTaxis social media campaign backfired spectacularly recently when, instead of sharing good experiences, plenty decided to mention some of their bad experiences instead. So we couldn’t help but notice an ad on nzherald.co.nz for Alert Taxis labelled, intriguingly, ‘Confessions of a Taxi Driver’.
It’s not as scandalous as it seems. The ad aims to recruit more drivers and talks about how you can be a master of your own destiny. Although it does feature a strange allusion to drug use.
Whatever are they implying? Are there taxi drivers on the wacky baccy three days a week and stopping in for a few Frosty Pigs? Now that’s a proper confession.
Much like newspapers, taxis have had it pretty good for a pretty long time. But they’re battling against a range of new competition; disrupted—as business people like to say—by the rise of mobile (and many of them deserve to die simply for all their arbitrary fees). In the case of Uber, the addition of what seems like a fairly simple tech overlay that has removed some major annoyances seems to work better for drivers (who can work when they want—in keeping with the rise of the ‘gig economy‘—although Uber has been accused of flouting employment laws) and passengers (who can see how far away their ride is and generally travel more cheaply—unless surge pricing kicks in). So the established taxi companies are waging a battle on two fronts—and, if the more than US$50 billion valuation of Uber is anything to go by, they seem to be losing.
Uber is actively pushing its benefits around the world, as the clip below shows. But, as is the way in business, it’s not getting it all its own way, whether through feisty regulators or competition from established companies and the likes of Lyft and Gett, which is promoting its no surge policy.